Coma morphology of comet Hale-Bopp in CN and continuum filters and implications for the rotational state

N.H. Samarasinha, B.E.A. Mueller, M.J.S. Belton (NOAO/KPNO)

We have obtained CN (3871 A) and continuum (4449 A) images of comet C/1995 O1 Hale-Bopp from the WIYN telescope on 13 days spread over a two month period when the comet was near perihelion (Mueller et al 1997; this meeting). Unlike the dust features, CN images show spiral-like structures. We will present preliminary results of Monte Carlo simulations aimed at explaining the features present in CN images.

We will also discuss the implications for the rotational state and axial ratios of the nucleus based on the apparent repeatability of features in the images.