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Posts Tagged ‘Comet Hale-Bopp’

Comet Hale-Bopp ‘Frozen to Death’

May 3, 2011 Comments off

discovery

Hale-bopp

Hale-Bopp, the most dazzling comet to grace our skies in the 20th Century, has drifted beyond the orbit of Neptune, over 30 AU from the sun (1AU = one sun-Earth distance).

Curious astronomers from Hungarian, U.S. and Australian research institutions decided to track the icy vagabond as it continued its outward journey on an epic 2,500 year orbit.

PHOTOS: 6 Intimate Comet Encounters

In 1997, Hale-Bopp gave us Earthlings a dazzling show. Heated by the sun, the comet underwent an impressive outburst, ices subliming into space, producing a dusty coma visible to the naked eye with bright dust and gas tails (plus the discovery of a previously unknown neutral sodium tail) carried away from the comet in the direction of the solar wind for millions of miles.

But what of the comet 15 years later? Read more…