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Teide Observatory Image of Comet Hale-Bopp


Observers: Glenda Denicolo, Miquel Serra-Ricart
Location: Teide Observatory, Canary Islands, Spain
Date: November 13, 1996

The latest image of Comet Hale-Bopp from Teide Observatory shows how the comet keeps changing.

The latest image presented here was taken on November 13th, with the 82 cm. IAC-80 telescope, recently re-opened after a stand-down for improvements. Two images are presented, which represent the sum of 6, individual exposures of 15 seconds. As the comet moves substantially between exposures, the frames have been shifted to centre the comet on the same position each time; this is why the edges of the image have a striated appearance.

Two images are presented. The first, shows the raw frame, with no special processing. The second shows the same image after being filtered to show the jets more clearly close to the nucleus.

In the first image we can clearly see various bright rays of material streaming out of the comet to the left (East). These are material that go on to form the tail of the comet. At least one ray is also visible to the right. Note that we are still looking at the comet almost exactly from the front, so we are looking down the tail. The filtered image uses a Laplacian filter to enhance edges (ie, contrast). Jets coming out of the nucleus show as pairs of bright and dark rays. In the processed image we can see that the jet to the right appears to be double and that a faint jet can be seen to the lower left. There may even be a further, very faint jet to the north.

This represents a further big change in the comet's morphology. In previous images this summer and autumn there were as many as 7 jets spread all round the comet, now most of the activity seems to have switched to the east, the anti-solar direction.

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