Optical spectrophotometry of comet P/Giacobini‐Zinner and emission profiles of H2O+

Michael A. Strauss, Patrick J. McCarthy, Hyron Spinrad

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We have obtained two‐dimensional CCD spectrograms of Comet P/Giacobini‐Zinner (1984e) on five occasions between July and October 1985. We extracted spatial emission profiles of H2O+ at 6198 Å, the strongest ionic line in the visible spectrum. This emission line traces the extent of the ion, or plasma, tail. We placed the spectrograph slit approximately along the trajectory of the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) on 11 Sept 1985; the resulting H2O+ profile has a full‐width‐half‐maximum of ≈ 5700 km, about three times that of the plasma density profile measured by ICE, and has a full‐width‐zero‐intensity of ≈ 30,000 km, very similar to the ICE values. H2O production rates for the comet are derived and compared with those of Comet P/Halley (1982i).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-392
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1986
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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