Recent Science Highlights

1 April 1996

EUVE Observation of the bright comet B2 Hyakutake

(the following information provided by Dr. Pierre Chayer)

The comet B2 Hyakutake, first detected January 30th by Yuji Hyakutake in Japan, was observed by the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer satellite (EUVE) from March 21th to March 25th. The Loral Flight Operations team, the Goddard institutional services (Flight Dynamics Facility and NASCOM), and the Center for EUV Astrophysics team successfully programmed the EUVE satellite to track the fast moving comet at the time of its nearest distance from the the earth. An image of the comet was taken with the Deep Survey Imaging Telescope using the Lexan filter which has a bandpass of 70-190 angstrom. At the same time the comet was observed with the EUVE spectrometers for about 82,000 seconds. The possible detection of spectral resonance lines of helium and neon, which are only visible in the extreme ultraviolet spectrum, can bring important clues in our understanding of the formation of comets as well as the formation of the solar system. The comet B2 Hyakutake observations were conducted and are being analyzed by Dr. Michael Mumma with support from the EUVE Science Team.

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