UV PHOTOPOLARIMETRIC IMAGING OF C/1995 O1 (HALE–BOPP) WITH THE WIDE FIELD IMAGING SURVEY POLARIMETER (WISP)


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Abstract

We report on the reduction and analysis of UV polarimetric images of CI (λ1657 Å)) and dust continuum (2696Å)) emissions from C/1995 O1 (Hale–Bopp)) taken using the Wide Field Imaging Survey Polarimeter (WISP)) sounding rocket on 8 April, 1997. These observations represent the first imaging polarimetry of comets in the UV, and were performed in consort with ground based measurements of gas and dust polarization and distribution. The continuum results show 9% polarization across the image field with a polarization phase angle close to the 129° prediction. Comparison with ground based data implies minimal color dependence for Hale–Bopp in either the degree of polarization and in the position angle. The carbon polarimetry implies that most production occurs in the dense inner coma, and that it leaves that area in thermodynamic equilibrium. Its radial profile further constrains the carbon outflow speed to be sufficient to travel >5 × 106km without photoionization.

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