Low-resolution spectrographic observations of comet C/2001 A2 (LINEAR) were carried out between 2001 July 5 and 9 at Beijing Astronomical Observatory using its 2.16 m telescope. From the spatial distributions of the brightness profiles of C2, C3, CN, NH2, and the dust continuum, we are able to trace the source regions of these cometary radicals and their parent molecules. The CN emission displayed a remarkable asymmetry, with its intensity peak shifted to the tailward side by as much as 1000 km away from the center of the dust continuum. There is thus a strong indication that the CN has a distributed source not necessarily associated with the central nucleus. A probable release mechanism is associated with a CN jet structure detected in imaging photometric measurements.
- Comets: general
- Comets: individual (C/2001 A2 (LINEAR))