Comet Halley | Published:

Spectroscopic study of comet Halley by the Vega 2 three-channel spectrometer

Nature volume 321, pages 269271 (15 May 1986) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The three-channel spectrometer (TKS) aboard the Vega 2 spacecraft recorded infrared and visible spectra near the nucleus of comet Halley. Spectra in the range 0.95–1.9 µm at a distance of 300 km from the nucleus reveal the H2O 1.38-µm band and OH bands, the latter excited by dissociation of a parent molecule. Their production rates are 4 × 1029 and 1.7 × 1030 molecules s−1, respectively. The dust particle density is 0.35 g cm−3, typical of fluffy particles of interplanetary dust. Emissions of 10 species are observed in the range 275–715 nm at 4,000 km from the nucleus, and 6 of them are analysed in terms of production rates: QOH = 2×1030, QCH = 1029, QC2 = 6×1027, QC3 = 3×1027, QCN = 1027 and QNH = 2 × 1026, all in molecules s−1. The difference between the OH and H2O production rates is puzzling and needs further analysis. Ionic emissions, not discussed here, are prominent in the tailward part of the comet.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Space Research Institute, Profsoyuznaya 84/32, 117810 Moscow GSP-7, USSR

    • V. A. Krasnopolsky
    • , V. I. Moroz
    • , A. A. Krysko
    •  & V. S. Troshin
  2. Central Laboratory for Space Research, Observatory Stara Zagora, 6000 Stara Zagora, Bulgaria

    • M. Gogoshev
    • , Ts. Gogosheva
    • , K. Palazov
    •  & S. Sargoichev
  3. University of Besançon, 25000 Besançon, France

    • G. Moreels
    • , J. Clairemidi
    •  & M. Vincent
  4. Service d' Aéronomie CNRS, 91371 Verrières-le-Buisson, France

    • J. L. Bertaux
    •  & J. E. Blamont
  5. Astronomical Institute, 25165 Ondrejov, Czechoslovakia

    • B. Valníček

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