Observers: Michael Palermiti, Carlos Hernandez
Location: Palermiti Observatory
Date: March 8, 1997 10:50 UT
A series of six CCD images of Comet Hale-Bopp (1995 O1) obtained by Michael Palermiti on March 8, 1997 at 10:50 UT using the Palermiti Observatory 16-inch (41-cm) f/4.4 Newtonian reflector (barlow projection producing an EFR of f/9). Exposure times ranged from 0.25 to 0.50 seconds. This series of images shows the nuclear region divided into what appears to be four, and possibly six, individual nuclei. The third and fifth frames have been processed using an unsharp masking function to bring out the individual nuclei. Palermiti had first noted the nuclear region to be divided into nuclei on approximately February 4, 1997 then further subdivided into four nuclei on March 2, 1997. Palermiti noted six individual nuclei on March 8, 1997 (as indicated in the image above), but only four nuclei on March 11, 1997 (although poor to average weather conditions prevailed at that time). The much reported "ripple-wave" pattern emanating from the nuclear region is noted on some of the images. No recent reports on the comet have alluded to fragmentation of the nucleus but many more images taken at the Palermiti Observatory in February and March, 1997 clearly depict the phenomena described above.
[Editor's note: please see Mark Kidger's article on False Nuclei and Nucleus Splitting.]
Processed images (by Carlos E. Hernandez, A.L.P.O. Mars/Jupiter Sections) of the nuclear region of Comet Hale-Bopp (1995 O1) obtained on March 8, 1997 at 10:50 UT by Michael Palermiti using the Palermiti Observatory 16-inch (41-cm) f/4.4 Newtonian reflector (barlow projection producing an EFR of f/9). The image on the left (a) has had an embossing function applied to it and it appears to show six individual nuclei comprising the nuclear region of comet Hale-Bopp. The image on the right (b) is a traced outline of the embossed image on the left with the individual nuclei numbered.
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