CCD POLARIMETRIC IMAGING OF COMET HALE–BOPP (C/1995 O1)


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Abstract

Polarimetric observations of the light scattered by dust have been carried out at Pic-du-Midi Observatory with the 2 m telescope in June and September–October 1996, and at Haute-Provence Observatory with the 0.80 m telescope in April 1997. They cover a total number of 11 nights and a large (6.9°–47.7°)) phase angle range. The spatial resolution allows to underline structures in the coma, as well in the brightness images as in the polarization maps, with a correlation between the regions of bright structures and the regions of higher polarization. A clear difference appears between the sunward and antisunward side, with higher polarization on the antisunward side. The phase angle coverage allows us to obtain a polarimetric phase curve for the whole coma and to compare it with other cometary phase curves. The degree of polarization is higher for Hale–Bopp than for the comets previously observed.

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