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Why is Comet Hale - Bopp so special ?

 

Comet Hale - Bopp was discovered in July 1995 by two American amateur astronomers Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp, (‘Hale’ rhymes with ‘tale’ and ‘Bopp" rhymes with ‘top’!) when it was beyond the orbit of Jupiter, using 16" and 17.5" telescopes respectively. Comets have never been discovered by small amateur telescopes at such great distances before (over a 100 million kilometers). This meant that Comet Hale- Bopp was very large in size, nearly 100 km in size, some six times larger than comet Halley. Recent estimates have revised the size downward to 40 km. Still it is among the largest comets known. Hale-Bopp, in March 1997, provided earthlings with a spectacular view, probably the most spectacular comet in our lifetime.


Alan Hale


Thomas Bopp

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