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European Southern Observatory Images of Comet Hale-Bopp


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Observer: Nick Thomas, Heike Rauer, Hermann Boehnhardt
Location: European Southern Observatory, La Silla, Chile
Date: August 18, 1996 04:20 UT

On August 18, Nick Thomas (Max-Planck-Institut fuer Aeronomie, Germany), Heike Rauer (Observatoire de Paris, France) and Hermann Boehnhardt (Universitaets-Sternwarte, Munchen, Germany) obtained a CCD image of Comet 1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp) with the DFOSC multi-mode instrument on the Danish 1.54 m telescope at La Silla. The frame was taken at 04:20 UT using with an R filter and the integration time was 20 s. Bias subtraction and flat-fielding was performed and the frame was binned (4 x 4) to reduce the frame size to 512 x 512 pixels while still showing the entire CCD area.

Another CCD image shows a smaller area of the first, but is unbinned and has otherwise received identical processing. Both images have a scalebar which is accurate to about +- 5 percent. At the time of these observations, Comet Hale-Bopp was 2.761 AU from the Earth and 3.392 AU from the Sun. At least 7 jet structures can be seen in the data. The appearance of these structures changed very little over a period of 3 nights suggesting a long rotation period. CN could be detected more than 1 million km from the nucleus.

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