Solid Debris from Comet Hale-Bopp

David Jewitt

Henry Matthews

Astronomical Journal, 1999, 117, 1056-1062.

Large particles may be present in comets in numbers sufficient to dominate the total mass of the coma. These large particles are not readily sensed by conventional (optical - infrared) techniques but are prominent at submillimeter wavelengths. Images taken using a new camera sensitive to submillimeter wavelengths reveal that comet Hale-Bopp was a prodigious source of particulate matter, releasing dust at 2000 tonnes/s when near perihelion and contributing 3x10**13 kg to the interplanetary dust complex. The dust production rate exceeded that of gas (mostly water) by a factor > 5.

In a Nutshell
This paper summarizes an exhaustive (and exhausting) program of measurements of Hale-Bopp using the revolutionary new submillimeter bolometer array camera SCUBA. This comet was really dusty, with more mass released in macroscopic debris than in gas. The properties of the debris provide a clue about the physics of accretion in the protosolar disk, since comets are products of accretion in that disk.

The Paper is Here

Last Update March 2000

Kuiper Belt