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Comet Hale-Bopp Update



Sky & Telescope News Bulletin
January 31, 1997


Anticipation is building for the brightening Comet Hale-Bopp, which this week exits Aquila and enters Sagitta, hanging low in the east before sunrise. SKY & TELESCOPE Contributing Editor John Bortle reports that on the morning of January 29th, the comet was magnitude 2.8, with a coma 8 arcminutes in diameter and sporting a 2-degree- long, slightly curved tail. You'll find the comet very far to the lower right of Vega and a little to the upper left of Altair. Here are Hale-Bopp's equinox 2000.0 coordinates for this week at 0 hours Universal Time:

                   R.A. (2000.0) Decl.
February  1        19h 40.5m   +15d 29'
          3        19  45.5    +16  28
          5        19  50.7    +17  29
          7        19  56.1    +18  33


Comet Hale-Bopp hangs low in the east just before the first light of dawn this week. Look very far to the lower right of Vega and a little to the upper left of Altair. The comet is visible to the naked eye under dark, clear conditions; binoculars will give a better view. Look for a fuzzy "star" with a short, broad, upward-pointing tail.

The comet will brighten in the dawn for the rest of this winter. It will be at its best in the dawn sky in March, and in the evening sky from late March through mid-April.

Copyright 1996 Sky Publishing Corporation. S&T's Weekly News Bulletin is provided as a service to the astronomical community by the editors of SKY & TELESCOPE magazine. Widespread electronic distribution is encouraged as long as this paragraph is included. But the text of the bulletin and calendar may not be published in any other form without permission from Sky Publishing (contact S&T's Weekly News Bulletin and "Sky at a Glance" are available via SKY Online on the World Wide Web ( At present they are not available via electronic mailing list. comethome.gif Comet Hale-Bopp Home Page