Comet Hale-Bopp Home Page

The Great Comet of 1997

Observer: David Lynch
Location: Puckett Observatory, Mountain Town, Georgia
Date: April 1, 1997 01:50 UT

Perihelion Is Today!

Current Magnitude: -0.9 to -0.4
Tail Length: ~10 Degrees (~20 Degrees at Dark Sites)
Comet Hale-Bopp 1997 Timeline
Earth Closest Approach: March 22, 1997 (1.315 AU)
Sun Closest Approach: April 1, 1997 03:14 UT (0.914 AU)
Current Distance From Earth: 1.351 AU (125.6 Million Miles)
Current Distance From Sun: 0.914 AU ( 85.0 Million Miles)
1 AU = 93 Million Miles = 150 Million Kilometers


This site is receiving over 1 million hits daily!.

Faster mirror sites are now available for this home page:

"I predict that this could be the most viewed comet in all of human history." - Daniel Green
"MOMMY, MOMMY, I saw the VOMIT!" - Anonymous 4-year old

On July 23, 1995, an unusually bright comet outside of Jupiter's orbit (7.15 AU!) was discovered independently by Alan Hale, New Mexico and Thomas Bopp, Arizona. The new comet, designated C/1995 O1, is the farthest comet ever discovered by amateurs and appeared 1000 times brighter than Comet Halley did at the same distance. Normally, comets are inert when they are beyond the orbit of Jupiter, so it has been speculated that Comet Hale-Bopp is either a rather large comet or experienced a bright outburst (or both). The comet is still getting brighter as it approaches the Sun, and has already become the brightest comet since Comet West in 1976. From Hubble Space Telescope images, the comet's diameter has been determined to be about 40 km. The Pic du Midi Observatory has ascertained from their observations that the comet's rotation rate is 11.4 hours.

With over 2,300 images, this site has the largest collection of Comet Hale-Bopp images in the world available on the Internet. The home page is maintained soley on the volunteer efforts of myself. For additional updates and news on Comet Hale-Bopp, see Charles Morris' Information on Comet Hale-Bopp for Non-Astronomers.

I also strongly recommend that you go out and view Comet Hale-Bopp yourself if you haven't done so already. Bright comets like this don't come around that often, and this one is putting on a fabulous show!

Don't miss the Great Comet of 1997 - you still have time.

Ron Baalke

News Flash

Recent Comet Hale-Bopp Images

Unless otherwise noted, all Comet Hale-Bopp images on this web page are copyrighted by the person or organization who obtained the image, and are not owned by JPL. If you wish to use any image in a publication or want to obtain hard copies of the image, please contact the owner of the image.


 What's New (Last Updated April 1, 1997)
 The Discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp
 Comet Hale-Bopp News Archive
 Comet Hale-Bopp Ephemeris
 Comet Hale-Bopp Image Archive (2,380 Images)
 Animations (27)
 Viewing Hints & Tips
 Links to Other Hale-Bopp Home Pages

Special thanks to the Observatorium for providing a mirror site for this home page!

 JPL Home Page

Please direct any questions or comments about this Home Page to
Ron Baalke
baalke at