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Astron. Astrophys. 334, L61-L64 (1998)

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Letter to the Editor

The spatial sodium distribution in the coma of comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) *

H. Rauer 1, C. Arpigny 2, J. Manfroid 2, G. Cremonese 3 and C. Lemme 1

1 DLR, Institut für Planetenerkundung, Rudower Chaussee 5, D-12484 Berlin, Germany
2 Institut d'Astrophysique, Avenue de Cointe 5, B-4000 Liège, Belgium
3 Osservatorio Astronomico, Vic. Osservatorio 5, I-35122 Padova, Italy

Received 13 January 1998 / Accepted 9 April 1998


Long-slit spectra of sodium D-line emission in the coma of comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) have been obtained on 14 March and 16 April 1997 from the Observatoire de Haute-Provence, France, and the William Herschel Telescope on La Palma, Spain. The spectra show Na spatial profiles within [FORMULA] 2.5 105 km from the nucleus along and perpendicular to the sun-comet line. In both observing periods secondary maxima are present, indicating spatial structures in the coma sodium distribution. A comparison with the structures seen in the cometary dust continuum is made. A Na production rate of [FORMULA] 3 1024 - 5 1025 s-1 could be derived on March 14, 1997, corresponding to less than 0.3% of the normal cosmic abundance ratio Na/O.

Key words: comets – Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1)

* Based on observations obtained at the William-Herschel-Telescope, La Palma, and the Obs. de Haute-Provence, France

Send offprint requests to: H. Rauer

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: May 15, 1998