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Frost Image of Comet Hale-Bopp

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Observer: Mack Frost
Location: Cody, Wyoming
Date: April 21, 1997 03:35 UT

This photo shows a landmark mountain in the Sunlight Basin, a remote area to the northwest of Cody, WY, between the town and the eastern side of Yellowstone National Park. The peak is call "White" mountain due to the unusual white volcanic material exposed along its flanks. Unusual for THIS area, where most of the Absaroka Volcanic region rock is a kind of reddish purple in color. This mountain can be seen from the 8400-foot Dead Indian Pass vista point along the Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, Wyo-296, but the highway does not go past the mountain. The Sunlight Basin is accessed by a good county gravel road just off Wyo-296. Until recently, this area was only accessable by means of a series of dirt roads, which have since been improved and even paved in the past 5 years. The basin got its name because, back in the good OLD days, it was said that nothing could get into that region except sunlight, and they were damned near right, too!

The photo was taken around 9:35pm MDT on Sunday, 4/20/97. The moon two days before full illuminated the scene, giving it a nearly daylight qualitiy. Exposure was with a 24mm/f2.8 lens wide open for 40-seconds on Fuji 800 Super G+. Note the bright stars of the constellation TAURUS above the horizon on the left, the Pleadies cluster in the saddle of the mountain, and, of course, the "star" of the whole show, comet Hale-Bopp riding high above everything. Above the comet lies AURIGA with its brightest star Cappella. Just behind the point of White Mountain lies PERSIUS, while the crooked "W" of CASSIOPEIA lies above the horizon on the photo's right. Love that wide-angle lens!

Mack Frost (mfrost@trib.com)


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