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Astron. Astrophys. 335, L56-L59 (1998)

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Letter to the Editor

Water ions, dust and CN in comet 46P/Wirtanen *

K. Jockers 1, T. Credner 1 and T. Bonev 2

1 Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie, Max-Planck-Str. 2, D-37191 Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
2 Institute of Astronomy, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Tsarigradsko chausée 72, 1784 Sofia, Bulgaria

Received 23 October 1997 / Accepted 23 January 1998


Comet 46P/Wirtanen was observed at Pik Terskol (Northern Caucasus) with the 2m-Zeiss-Telescope of the International Centre for Astronomical and Medico-Ecological Investigations, Kiev, on March 10 and 11, 1997. The two-channel focal reducer of the MPAe was used. It allows observations of comets simultaneously in a red and a blue filter passband. The comet was observed with interference filters centered at 615 nm (H2O+) and 388 nm (CN) and with a wide-band red continuum filter. From the March 11 data we have derived an H2O+ image and an upper limit of the H2O+ production rate, the CN production rate and the "[FORMULA]" value, indicative of the dust production. The gas to dust ratio is about 2-3 times higher than in comet 1P/Halley.

Key words: plasma – gas – dust

* based on observations obtained at the Terskol Observatory of the Centre for Astronomical, and Medico-Ecological Investigations, Kiev, Ukraine

Present address: Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie

Send offprint requests to: K. Jockers

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: June 18, 1998