Three tails of comet Hale‐Bopp

  title={Three tails of comet Hale‐Bopp},
  author={J. K. Wilson and Jeffrey Baumgardner and Michael Mendillo},
  journal={Geophysical Research Letters},
We report on the imaging detection of the sodium tail of comet Hale‐Bopp using large field‐of‐view, multi‐wavelength observations from the McDonald Observatory in March 1997. We subtract off‐band images from sodium‐filter images to obtain the atomic sodium tail, and we find it to be more extended in width than either the dust or ion tails. The cross‐tail integrated brightness of the sodium tail increases with distance from the nucleus for at least 8 million km. The direction of the sodium tail… 

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