Observer: William Burnett
Location: Wilmington, North Carolina
Date: February 17, 1997 10:15 UT
William Burnett took this photo of comet Hale-Bopp at 5:15 am Monday morning (2-17-97) when the comet was 30 degrees above the eastern horizon. The photo was taken using a Nikon EM 35mm SLR camera equipped with a Astro Rubinar Maksutov 100mm f/10 telephoto lens, piggyback-mounted on a Meade 10" LX200 Reflector telescope with a computerized clock drive. Burnett used Fuji Super G 800 film and a 8 minute exposure to capture the comet on its march towards the sun. Despite the use of a clock drive, tracking errors caused some blurring of the original photographic image. The errors were corrected by scanning the original photo into a computer and enhancing the image, which gave the final result of this stunning picture of the comet as seen through the telescope. The photo clearly shows the comet's very bright pseudonucleus and the dust trail extending off into space. The sun's warmth boosts the activity of the comet's nucleus of dirty ice, which blasts more dust into space to reflect yellow sunlight.
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