A SEARCH FOR VARIABILITY IN THE HCCN TO H2CO RATIO IN COMET HALE–BOPP


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Abstract

We observed submillimeter lines of H2CO and HCN in comet Hale–Bopp near perihelion. One of our goals was to search for short term variability. Our observations are suggestive, but not conclusive, of temporal and/or spatial changes in the coma's HCN/H2CO abundance ratio of ∼25%. If due to spatial variability, the ratio on the sunward side of the coma is enhanced over other regions. If due to temporal variability, we find the bulk ratio in the coma changed in less than 16 hours.

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