Between 1996 October and 1997 April the WIYN Observatory 3.5-meter telescope and its Multi- Object Spectrograph were used to obtain medium resolution spectra of the coma of Comet Hale-Bopp. Most of the spectra were at a resolution of about 15,000 and covered the spectral region 6100A to 6400A. Two different fiber cables were used to feed the MOS, the Hydra and the Densepak. An example of the spectra is shown below:
Click on the above graph to download for a full size PostScript file.
Below is a journal of the observations:
Further analysis of these spectra has focused on the extraction of individual spectral feature Intensities (surface brightnesses). In particular for purposes of technique development we have concentrated on two nights, one Hydra night (1997 March 16) and the next Densepak night (1997 March 18....March 17 was lost to bad weather).
We have chosen three species for initial examination; 1) the red auroarl forbidden line of neutral oxygen, 2) a feature due to water molecules which have been stripped of one electron, and 3) the daughter molecular radical which results when an ammonia molecule looses one of its Hydrogen atoms.
....Ok, Ok, that is indeed an IMAGE of the Comet and out of the goodness of my heart I'll let you have a closer look by clicking on this thumbnail. But only if you promise that when you lie down, when your rise up and when you are on your way, you will chant :