AN EARLY INVESTIGATION OF THE STRIATED TAIL OF COMET HALE–BOPP (C/1995 O1)


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Abstract

The Sekanina–Farrell particle fragmentation model for the striated tails of dust comets is successfully applied to two images of comet Hale–Bopp to study the motions of 12 striae in a time span of March 12–15, 1997. There is evidence for recurring outbursts with a periodicity of 11h21m, consistent with results based on analysis of dust jets. The ejecta in all the striae appear to have been released from one source on the nucleus between the end of January and the second half of February 1997, some 60 to 40 days before perihelion. The parent particles were subjected to a radiation pressure acceleration of βp≃ 0.55 and their fragmentation lifetimes in 11 of the 12 striae were practically constant and equal to 13–15 days, when normalized to 1 AU from the Sun. Brief analysis of Watanabe et al.‘s measurements of striae on their images from March 5–9, 1997 shows even shorter fragmentation lifetimes for the parent particles, mostly about 7–11 days at 1 AU.

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