A BIMA array survey of molecules in comets linear (C/2002 T7) and NEAT (C/2001 Q4)

Anthony J. Remijan, D. N. Friedel, Imke De Pater, M. R. Hogerheijde, L. E. Snyder, M. F. A'Hearn, Geoffrey A. Blake, H. R. Dickel, J. R. Forster, C. Kraybill, L. W. Looney, Patrick Palmer, M. C.H. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an interferometric search for large molecules, including methanol (CH3OH), methyl cyanide (CH3CN), ethyl cyanide (CH3CH2CN), ethanol (CH3CH2OH), and methyl formate (CH3OCHO), in comets LINEAR (C/2002 T7) and NEAT (C/2001 Q4) with the Berkeley-Illinois-Maryland Association (BIMA) array. We also searched for transitions of the simpler molecules CS, SiO, HNC, HN 13C, and 13CO. We detected transitions of CH 3OH and CS around comet LINEAR and one transition of CH 3OH around comet NEAT within a synthesized beam of ∼20″. We calculated the total column density and production rate of each molecular species using the variable temperature and outflow velocity (VTOV) model recently described by Friedel et al. Considering the molecular production rate ratios with respect to water, comet T7 LINEAR is more similar to comet Hale-Bopp, while comet Q4 NEAT is more similar to comet Hyakutake. It is unclear, however, due to such a small sample size, whether there is a clear distinction between a Hale-Bopp and Hyakutake class of comet or whether comets have a continuous range of molecular production rate ratios.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-572
Number of pages6
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - May 20 2006


  • Comets: individual (LINEAR (C/2002 T7), NEAT (C/2001 Q4))
  • Molecular processes
  • Radio lines: solar system
  • Techniques: interferometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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