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Synchronic Bands in Dust Tail of Comet Hale-Bopp

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Synchronic Bands in Dust Tail of Comet Hale-Bopp

Dear Comet Hale-Bopp friends, We, observing team of National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, detected development of synchronic bands in dust tail of comet Hale-Bopp 1995O1.

During our sequential imaging monitor of Comet Hale-Bopp 1995O1 with using a wide-field CCD camera, which consists of camera lens of Nikon ED 180mm (f/2.8) and of MUTOH CCD CV-16, several filaments in dust tail were recognized at least on March 6. The most prominent filament was located at 2 degrees apart from the nucleus, and extended over 24 arcmin. The P.A. of this straight, narrow filament is about 340 degree, which is almost coincident with the P.A. of the Sun-Comet line. We can recognize at least 5 similar filaments in the dust tail. The color of these filamentary structure is clearly that of the dust, which is shown in our RGB color composite picture taken on March 7.83 UT.

The characteristics of these filaments is similar to that of the synchronic bands, which appeared in dust tail of several great comets such as comet West 1976VI, Seki-Lines 1962III, Ikeya-Seki 1965VIII, and Mrkos 1957V, although the synchronic bands in these comets were observed when the heliocentric distance was smaller than 0.5 A.U. It is remarkable that comet Hale-Bopp shows synchronic bands at larger heliocentric distance such as 1 A.U. Moreover, the formation mechanism of the synchronic bands are still unclear, and several models are proposed such as fragmentation model (Sekanina & Farrel, Astron. J., 87, 1836, 1982), and finite lifetime fragment model (Nishioka & Watanabe, Icarus, 87, 403, 1990).

It is important to monitor time variation of the dust tail by using wide-field imaging system in order to study the formation mechanism of the synchronic bands.

Our images are released at our web site,

http://www.nao.ac.jp/whatsnew/index-e.html

The observers are H. Fukushima(National Astronomical Observatory of Japan), M. Takata(Univ. Electro-Communications) and D. Kinoshita(Tohoku Univ.).

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Junichi Watanabe
Public Information Office
National Astronomical Observatory of Japan    / STAR WEEK in Japan /
Osawa, Mitaka, 181 Tokyo Japan               /                    /
                                            /    1997            /
e-mail:watanabe@pub.mtk.nao.ac.jp         ★    Aug.1-7         /
FAX:  +81-422-34-3810
Phone:+81-422-34-3644
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