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Comet Hale-Bopp

The Great Comet of 1997

Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology

Observer: Maurice Clark
Location: Yericoin, Western Australia
Date: February 7, 2000

Earth Closest Approach: March 22, 1997 (1.315 AU)
Sun Closest Approach: April 1, 1997 03:14 UT (0.914 AU)
1 AU = 93 Million Miles = 150 Million Kilometers


"I predict that this could be the most viewed comet in all of human history." - Daniel Green
"MOMMY, MOMMY, I saw the VOMIT!" - Anonymous 4-year old

On July 23, 1995, an unusually bright comet outside of Jupiter's orbit (7.15 AU!) was discovered independently by Alan Hale, New Mexico and Thomas Bopp, Arizona. The new comet, designated C/1995 O1, is the farthest comet ever discovered by amateurs and appeared 1000 times brighter than Comet Halley did at the same distance. Normally, comets are inert when they are beyond the orbit of Jupiter, so it has been speculated that Comet Hale-Bopp is either a rather large comet or experienced a bright outburst (or both). The comet is the brightest comet since Comet West in 1976. From Hubble Space Telescope images, the comet's diameter has been determined to be about 40 km. The Pic du Midi Observatory has ascertained from their observations that the comet's rotation rate is 11.4 hours.

With over 5,100 images, this site has the largest collection of Comet Hale-Bopp images in the world available on the Internet. The home page is maintained solely on the volunteer efforts of myself.

On March 28, 1997, this home page become the first NASA website to get over 1 million hits in a day, when 1.2 million hits were recorded. This has since been topped by the Mars Pathfinder home page when the spacecraft landed on Mars on July 1997.

Ron Baalke

News Flash

Recent Comet Hale-Bopp Images

Unless otherwise noted, all Comet Hale-Bopp images on this web page are copyrighted by the person or organization who obtained the image, and are not owned by JPL. If you wish to use any image in a publication or want to obtain hard copies of the image, please contact the owner of the image.


bsball.gif What's New (Last Updated March 26, 2002)
bsball.gif The Discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp
bsball.gif Comet Hale-Bopp News Archive
bsball.gif Comet Hale-Bopp Ephemeris
bsball.gif Comet Hale-Bopp Image Archive (5,161 Images)
bsball.gif Animations (48)
bsball.gif Viewing Hints & Tips
bsball.gif Links to Other Hale-Bopp Home Pages

jplhome.gif JPL Home Page

Please direct any questions or comments about this Home Page to
Ron Baalke