Journal article Open Access

Discovery of x-ray and extreme ultraviolet emission from comet C/Hyakutake 1996 B2

Lisse, Cm M.; Dennerl, K.; Marshall, Fe E.; Englhauser, J.; Mumma, Mj J.; Harden, M.; Petre, R.; Schmitt, J.; Pye, Jp P.; Ricketts, Mj J.; Trümper, J.; West, Rg G.

During its close approach to Earth, comet C/Hyakutake 1996 B2 was observed at extreme ultraviolet and x-ray wavelengths with the Rœntgen X-ray Satellite and Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer. The emission morphology was symmetric with respect to a vector from the comet's nucleus toward the sun, but not symmetric around the direction of motion of the comet with respect to interplanetary dust. A slowly varying emission and a large impulsive event that varied on time scales of 1 to 2 hours were observed. An interaction between the comet and the solar wind/solar magnetic field seems to be the most likely mechanism for the observed emission.
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