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Planetary Sciences

SMA observations of the Comet C/2002 T7 (LINEAR)
Image Credit: Chuang, Kuan and the SMA comet team
SMA observations of the Comet C/2002 T7 (LINEAR)
Top left: SMA image of the 234-GHz continuum emission of Comet C/2002 T7 (LINEAR). The 1.3-mm continuum traces the dust distribution in the inner coma. The blue ellipse shown at the lower-left corner denotes the synthesized beam size. Top right: The integ
Besides analyzing the meteorites on Earth, ASIAA astronomers have been pointing our telescopes, SMA and TAOS, to study comets in distant space. We have carried out SMA observations of Comet C/2002 T7 (LINEAR) during its 2004 apparition at 1.3 millimeter. With an angular resolution of 3".2x1".8, which corresponds to a linear resolution of 1500x900 km when the comet was at a distance of 0.61 AU from the Earth, we successfully detected and imaged the 234-GHz thermal dust continuum, as well as the spectral emission of CS and methanol emission from the inner coma. This was the first comet observation ever conducted by the SMA.
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