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Science. 1997 Sep 5;277(5331):1488-91.

Detection of soft X-rays and a sensitive search for noble gases in comet Hale-Bopp.

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Catholic University of America, Washington, DC 20064, USA. 20771, USA.


An image of comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1) in soft x-rays reveals a central emission offset from the nucleus, as well as an extended emission feature that does not correlate with the dust jets seen at optical wavelengths. Neon was found to be depleted in the cometary ice by more than a factor of 25 relative to solar abundance, which suggests that ices in Hale-Bopp formed at (or later experienced) temperatures higher than 25 kelvin. A helium line emission at a wavelength of 584 angstroms was detected and may be attributable to charge transfer of solar wind alpha particles in the cometary coma. Ionized oxygen and another helium line contribute to an emission observed at 538 angstroms.

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