Observations of formaldehyde and search for cyanoacetylene in Comet Brorsen-Metcalf (1989o)


The Very Large Array (VLA) was used in September 1989 to search Comet P/Brorsen-Metcalf (1989o) for the 1 sub 11-1 sub 10 transition of formaldehyde (H2CO) at 4,829.659 MHz and for the J equals 1-0, F equals 2-1 rotational transition of cyanoacetylene (HC3N) at 9098.3321 MHz. A new technique was used in reducing the data. Data blocks which were either 3x3 pixels, 5x5 pixels, or 9x9 pixels were examined for a signal from H2CO. Using this approach, different pixel clusters within the field of view can be sampled to optimize the coupling of the synthesized beam to the gas distribution. HC3N is of immediate interest as a cometary molecule because it may be a reservoir of carbon and a source of cometary CN. Our search for HC3N emission at 3.3 cm wavelength demonstrated that for this molecule the VLA can be expected to reach significant levels of sensitivity in many comets

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This paper was published in NASA Technical Reports Server.

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