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Comet Hale-Bopp Update



Sky & Telescope News Bulletin
May 9, 1997


The range of magnitudes being reported for Comet Hale-Bopp still varies anywhere from magnitude 0.0 to 1.0. This may be due in part to inexperience among various comet-watchers and Hale-Bopp's nearness to the horizon. You can still see it in the deepening twilight after sunset; look low over the west-northwestern horizon. The dust tail is still obvious, but the Moon reenters the scene this week, and its light will become a greater hindrance by Thursday or Friday.

Observer Steve Larson (University of Arizona) believes a "disconnection event" was seen in the ion tail of Comet Hale-Bopp on May 6th. Amateur astronomers are encouraged to monitor the tail's appearance during the next two weeks. Observers can the comet watch home page at


Say goodbye to Comet Hale-Bopp. It's getting very low in the sunset (as seen from midnorthern latitudes) as it fades and shrinks. Use binoculars to look low in the west-northwest right at the end of twilight. How many more days can you follow it? For skywatchers in the Southern Hemisphere, on the other hand, the comet is finally coming into good view; again, look low in the west-northwest at the end of twilight.

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