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First Radar Detection of Comet Hyakutake



The first radar detection of Comet Hyakutake.
The Goldstone X-band radar operates at a frequency of 8510 MegaHertz (a wavelength of 3.5 cm);
One Hertz is equivalent to a radial velocity of one half wavelength per second.

Comet Hyakutake: March 24 Results

Steve Ostro, Jet Propulsion Lab

Radar echoes from Comet Hyakutake were detected today with the JPL/NASA 70-meter antenna at Goldstone, California.

In each of several dozen transmit-receive cycles, a 480-kilowatt, 3.5-centimeter-wavelength signal was transmitted toward the comet, and echoes were received 107 seconds later.

The echoes show the presence of a nucleus as well as a coma of particles that are not much smaller than a centimeter, and whose radial velocities with respect to the nucleus reach at least 10 meters per second.

Additional observations are scheduled for the next few days.

Comet Hyakutake news, March 25, 1996

Steve Ostro, Jet Propulsion Lab

We obtained some additional echoes from the comet despite equipment problems that wiped out most of the track. Signatures of the nucleus and coma are similar to those from March 24.

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