The Anti-Tail of Comet C/1995 O1 (Hale–Bopp) in 1997/1998 View Full Text


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Article Info

DATE

2003-09

AUTHORS

Hermann Boehnhardt

ABSTRACT

The large-scale post-perihelion evolution of the dust tail in Comet C/1995 O1 (Hale–Bopp) was monitored with Schmidt telescope exposures at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) La Silla in Chile. In early October 1997 signatures of a peculiar dust-tail appeared as straight, but diffuse extensions in the northern and southern coma hemisphere. With the approach of the Earth to the orbital plane of the comet a needle-like anti-tail with a similar, but much longer counterpart in the region of the normal dust tail formed. In early January 1998, i.e., close to the plane crossing, the anti-tail pointed towards position angle 190° and was at least 0.4°long, its counter part extended over more than 5° into oppositedirection. During February and March 1998 the position angles of both features increased by more than 40$°– while their appearance became shorter, wider and more diffuse again. Thepeculiar dust tail was last observed in April 1998.Modeling of the dust tail dynamics shows that the anti-tail andpeculiar tail phenomenon observed is formed by a neck-line structureof heavy dust grains released around perihelion passage. Two scenariiare introduced to explain the extension of the anti-tail feature:(1) grains ejected about 20 days post-perihelion with a initial velocity of ∼170 m/s in radial direction towards the Sun and(2) grains released about 60–80 days before perihelion at a speed of∼70m/s into the orbital plane and against the motion directionof the comet. The out-of-plane velocity component of the dust wasless than ∼25 m/s. Both scenarios require dust of β < 0.001to be involved, i.e., grains of at least mm-size. The rather symmetric shading of the neck-line structure before and after passage of theEarth through the orbital plane of the comet in early January 1998 supports the idea that dust of both scenarii may have contributed to the phenomenon. More... »

PAGES

19-35

References to SciGraph publications

  • 1992-05. Dust tail streamers of a comet with rotating nucleus in ASTROPHYSICS AND SPACE SCIENCE
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    http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1023/b:moon.0000034496.28985.ef

    DOI

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1023/b:moon.0000034496.28985.ef

    DIMENSIONS

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