Polarized Resonance Fluorescence of Comet Hale-Bopp

J. E. Allen, Jr. (NASA GSFC), M. J. Penn, D. Branston (NSO/NOAO), M. A. DiSanti (Catholic Univ./NASA GSFC)

Because it is basically a vector-related technique, polarization spectroscopy can provide information not obtainable using traditional spectroscopic methods. Typically polarization measurements are assoc- iated with the characterization of the dust continuum. However, although not as frequently studied, resonance fluorescence can also exhibit polarization and the information can be related to physical properties of the comet, e.g., magnetic-field direction. Observations of comet Hale-Bopp were made shortly after perihelion (April 4 - 14, 1996) using the Vacuum Tower Telescope at the National Solar Observatory in Sunspot, NM. Images were taken through a variety of filters and spectra acquired using the high-resolution horizontal spectrograph; in both cases data were acquired with and without polarization analysis. Here we report on the preliminary analysis of polarization images and spectra of the sodium (Na) tex2html_wrap_inline14 and tex2html_wrap_inline16 lines and the Swan system of tex2html_wrap_inline18 .