Hale Bopp

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As I am sure all of you know, we have recently been able to see a new but not permanent additon to the night sky. This addition is known as Hale-Bopp, a comet that is about 122 million miles (about 1.3 times the distance of the sun to the earth) from the earth and is approximately 25 miles wide. Hale-Bopp was discovered on July 23,1995 by two scientists named Alan Hale in New Mexico and Thomas Bopp in Arizona. This is the first discovery for both of them, although Alan Hale is one of the top visual comet observers in the world, having seen about 200 comet apparitions. That is one of the reasons they put his name first.

Alan Hale comments, "I love the irony -- I've spent over 400 hours of my life looking for comets, and haven't found anything, and now, suddenly, when I'm not looking for one, I get one dumped in my lap.

I had obtained an observation of P/Clark earlier, and needed to wait an hour or so before P/d'Arrest got high enough to look at, and was just passing the time til then, and I decided to look at some deep-sky objects in Sagittarius. When I turned to M70, I saw a fuzzy object in the same field, and almost immediately suspected a comet, since I had been looking at M70 last month, and *knew* there wasn't any other objects there."

Thomas Bopp explains his story like this, "On the night of July 22, 1995 some friends and I headed out into the desert for a dark of the moon observing session. The site, which is west of Stanfield, AZ and a few mile south of Interstate 8 is about 90 miles...