Volume 368, Number 1, March II 2001
|Page(s)||292 - 297|
|Section||Celestial mechanics and astrometry|
|Published online||15 March 2001|
Comets in full sky maps of the SWAN instrument
I. Survey from 1996 to 1998
Finnish Meteorological Institute, Geophysics Research, PO Box 503, 00101 Helsinki, Finland
2 Service d'Aéronomie, BP 3, 91371 Verrières-le-Buisson, France
Corresponding author: T. Mäkinen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 8 December 2000
The SWAN instrument onboard the SOHO spacecraft is a Lyman α scanning photometer cabable of mapping the whole sky with resolution. Since January 1996 the instrument has produced on average three full sky maps a week with the principal scientific objective of observing the distribution of heliospheric neutral hydrogen. In addition, these systematic observations are a valuable source for studying comets brighter than a visual magnitude of 7-11, the observing limit depending on the abundance ratios of produced radicals and the location of the comet relative to the galactic plane. When the data before the temporary loss of control of SOHO at the end of June 1998 were processed, altogether 18 comets were positively identified, of which one is a new discovery and another 5 can be detected on SWAN images before their actual discovery date. This demonstrates the feasibility of SWAN as an instrument for cometary surveys. The observations are used to estimate the water production rates of the detected comets near their perihelion passages.
Key words: data analysis / surveys / comets / ultraviolet: solar system
© ESO, 2001
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