Discovery Image of the Sodium Tail in Comet Hale-Bopp

Date: 18 April 1997

This picture is mentioned in Press Release ING 4/97.

Contacts on La Palma:

Dr. Gabriele Cremonese
Padova Astronomical Observatory
Phone: +34-22-425655

Dr. Alan Fitzsimmons
Queen's University Belfast
Phone: +34-22-425463

Dr. Don Pollaco
Isaac Newton Group
Phone: +34-22-405437

The picture on the left is the discovery image of the sodium tail in Comet Hale-Bopp taken on the 16th April 1997. The tail appears as a very straight narrow feature extending from the head of the comet to the upper left. The picture on the right is an image of Comet Hale-Bopp showing the usual ion and dust tails of the comet, taken a few minutes before the discovery of the sodium tail. The dust tail is the broad tail pointing straight upwards, while the ion tail is the filamentary structure to the left. Comparison of the two images shows how the sodium tail has a completely different appearance to the other tails of the comet.

[gif,193k | jpg,166]

A smaller version of this picture is available here: [gif,83k | jpg,69k]

The discovery picture alone is here: [gif,175k | jpg,162k]. Again a smaller version can be found here: [gif,89k | jpg,29k].

Pictures of CoCAM camera can be found at the CoCAM Home Page.

[ PR page | Press Releases page | Hale-Bopp ING page ]

Javier Méndez
18 April 1997