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Vanderhoff Images of Comet Hale-Bopp

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Observer: Dewey Vanderhoff
Location: Shoshone River, Wyoming
Date: April 26, 1997

Photo 1. "Camp Comet" was taken Saturday night April 26 from Boulder Creek along the South Fork of the Shoshone River in northwest Wyoming , as Hale-Bopp was setting over the ramparts of Ishawooa Mesa. My friend Kent Houston's VW Vanagon with roof raised makes for a great comet watching base camp and bierstube.

Nikon camera; 35mm lens at f/2.8 for 40 seconds on Fuji 800. I lit the tree with a weak flashlight from the camera position, and used my much stronger daylight-filtered flashlight to paint in the van from off camera

Back to photographing Hale-Bopp from the dark side of the Moon , it is obvious that the comet's tails have evolved a great deal recently. Visually, the blue gas tail is getting very elusive...it can only be seen with averted vision except under exceptionally dark skies. And we have some of the darkest skies in the Lower 48 at our disposal, here in the nether reaches of Wyoming.

The bright dust tail seems to have actually grown in length this week ( contrary to other recent reports ). We estimated it Saturday night April 26 at a good 18 degrees. And it certainly is curving more. In my opinion, the dust tail is actually more photogenic than it was ten days ago.

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Photo 2. "Shadowland" A strange pair of shadows cast on the prairie grass by the lights of the VW camper van we were using Saturday night April 26. Hale-Bopp is immersed in bands of clouds over Ishawooa Mesa in the Absaroka Mountains above the South Fork of the Shoshone River about 45 miles SW of Cody Wyoming. Exposure was the usual: 30-45 seconds at f/2.8 on Fuji 800. In the 10 x 70 binoculars, the Comet and the cloud layers were exquisitely intermingled.

Dewey Vanderhoff
deweyv@trib.com


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