The Near-Nucleus Region of Comet Hale-Bopp
22 March 1996
A series of CCD frames, showing the inner coma of Comet Hale-Bopp, was obtained with the SUSI high angular resolution camera at the ESO 3.5-metre New Technology Telescope (NTT) under very good seeing conditions in the morning of March 20, 1996.
The photo shows a composite of nine 1-min exposures through a red filtre. The telescope was set to follow the motion of the comet and the stars are therefore seen as nine small trails (the intervals correspond to the time needed for the read-out from the CCD). The field shown measures about 55 x 55 arcsec across. North is up and East is left.
The complex structure is clearly seen, in particular a dust jet which extends from the nucleus towards North and curves counterclockwise. It is therefore obvious that the high dust production rates persists.
At the time of the observation, Comet Hale-Bopp was 5.28 AU from the Earth (790 million km) and 4.97 AU from the Sun (744 million km). At this geocentric distance, 1 arcsec = 3830 km projected.
For earlier photos of Comet Hale-Bopp obtained with ESO telescopes, please consult the ESO Hale-Bopp Homepage.
This is the caption to eso9624a. It may be reproduced, if credit is given to the European Southern Observatory.