Development of an H2O atmosphere around Comet kohoutek (1973f) and its Possible detection

W. H. Ip, D. A. Mendis

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ALTHOUGH chemically stable "parent molecules" like H 2O, CH4, NH3 and C2N2, for the observed radicals in comets, have been suspected for more than thirty years1 none of them has yet been observed spectroscopically. But the indirect evidence both for the existence, as well as perhaps the preponderance, of H2O in the nucleus has been growing steadily during the past ten years2-4. In particular the recent observations of two bright long period comets Tago-Sato-Kosaka (1969g) and Bennett (1969i) (as well as P/Encke) both in the vacuum ultraviolet and in the near violet with detectors on orbiters5-8 and rockets9 (which have shown extensive hydrogen and hydroxyl halos) as well as associated numerical models of the neutral atmospheres10-13 strongly suggest H2O as the common parent of both these species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-199
Number of pages3
Issue number5422
StatePublished - 1973


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