DPS Meeting, Madison, October 1998
Session 31P. Comets II
Contributed Poster Session, Wednesday, October 14, 1998, 5:10-6:10pm, Hall of Ideas

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[31P.11] The Heliocentric Evolution of Carbon-Bearing Volatiles in Comet Hale-Bopp

M. Womack (St. Cloud State Univ.), M. C. Festou, S. A. Stern (SWRI, Boulder)

The recent perihelion passage of comet Hale-Bopp provided an unprecedented opportunity to track the production rates of numerous volatiles in a comet as it passed through the inner solar system. Here we present millimeter - wavelength spectra and production rates of the dominant carbon-bearing species CO, HCN, CH3OH and H2CO obtained on 75 dates during 1995 Dec - 1997 Jun using the NRAO 12-m telescope. Relative production rates of these species were calculated from the data and compared to water production rates derived by other observers, and were found to vary with heliocentric distance. For example, the relative abundances of CO and CH3OH to water were initially high compared to other comets, i.e., Q(CO)/Q(H2O) ~ 0.4 and Q(CH3OH)/Q(H2O) ~ 0.2, but substantially decreased as the comet approached the Sun. This interesting variation in behavior will be discussed further and compared to models of cometary chemical composition and heterogeneity.

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The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: womack@r2d2.stcloudstate.edu

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