My Hale-Bopp Observations and Photographs


From my most recent sighting to my first glimpse in Oct. 1995...

For my favorite pic so far, go down to 4/2/97 the 50mm of Hale-Bopp, the Double Cluster, M34, and the Alpha Persei Association from French Camp, MS


5/3/97 9-9:45 PM

Orion 10x70 Binocs

Beach Club, Ft. Morgan

Mild, Clear, Medium Light Pollution

Still pretty bright, the tail points west directly behind the coma but curves to the northwest farther back. The dust tail was about three degrees long and quite broad at back, maybe a degree wide. A thin gas tail was dimly visible for about a degree starting about a degree behind the dust tail pointing a little south of due west. Took two 30 sec 50mm tripod photos of the comet setting over a sand dune.

A 50mm tripod photo of the comet and Auriga taken on May 3 over a dune in Gulf Shores


4/29/97 8:45-9 PM

Orion 10x70 Binocs

Gulf Shores, W 2nd St

Mild, Clear, High Light Pollution

Quite a bit dimmer than before, but still pretty bright, the tail extended about two degrees, with one degree of it fairly bright. Naked eye the tail is still visible but not easily seen as before. Took three tripod pics with the 50mm lens, one 30 sec and two 20 sec exposures.

A 50mm tripod photo taken on April 29 from my porch


4/20/97 8:40 PM

Naked Eye

Gulf Shores, W 2nd St

Cool, Clear, High Light Pollution, Near Full Moon

The comet looks pretty bright, but a little dimmer than the last time I saw it, the tail is now pointed almost due east. Took one 50mm, 20 sec exposure on the tripod with Kodak Royal Gold 400 ASA film.

A 50mm tripod photo taken on April 20 from my porch


4/17/97 8:30 PM

Naked Eye

Gulf Shores, W 2nd St

Cool, Clear, High Light Pollution

The comet still looks pretty bright, about the same brightness as the last time I saw it, but the tail is now pointed more to the east than the north and the comet is much higher up in the sky.


4/6/97 8-9 PM

Orion 10x70 Binocs

Gulf Shores, W 2nd St

Cool, Clear, High Light Pollution

I could see the gas tail with some effort with averted vision, the M34 cluster was now faintly visible near the tail, about two degrees behind the nucleus. Took tripod photos of Mercury, Mercury and Hale-Bopp, and later, Hale-Bopp alone.

A 50mm photo on my tripod on my porch of Hale-Bopp, looking great in heavy light pollution

A 50mm photo on my tripod on my porch of Hale-Bopp and Mercury (lower left)


4/5/97 7:45 PM

Celestron 80mm Rfctr

French Camp, MS

Cool, Pretty Hazy, Medium Light Pol.

Looked at the comet at low power with a borrowed Celestron 80mm, a small fuzzy open cluster was visible above it (M34), heavy dew and haze for the rest of the night.


4/3/97 7:30-11 PM

Celestron C-8

French Camp, MS

Mild, Haze, MLLP

Three bright parabolic hoods visible again at 50x. Took three 100mm f/2.8 piggyback photos starting at about 7:40; 2 min, 3 min, and 5 min; and one 35mm at 3 min. Then took several tripod photos of the comet in front of the dome, two 28mm and three 50mm, each 20-30 sec. After the comet set, took four 100mm constellation photos and then 3 more 50mm constellation photos.

100mm piggyback photo on April 3, at French Camp, MS

A 50mm photo on my tripod in front of the dome at French Camp, MS


4/3/97 7:30-11 PM

Naked Eye

French Camp, MS

Mild, Haze, MLLP

Very Nice, again, although haze interfered more than last night. Again, the dust tail seemed to extend nearly ten degrees, and the gas tail seemed to extend about fifteen degrees, when it was clear around the comet.


4/2/97 7-11:30 PM

Celestron C-8

French Camp, MS

Mild, MLLP, Some Haze

The coma looked much the same as previously at 50x, three bright parabolic hoods visible in front of the nucleus. Took five 50mm f/1.4 piggyback photos starting at about 7:15; 30 sec, 1 min, 2 min, 3 min, and another 2 min. Then took several piggyback photos of constellations.

A 50mm piggyback photo taken on April 2, at French Camp, MS during the Mid-South Regional Stargaze, note the Double Cluster, M34, and the Alpha Persei Association


4/2/97 7-11:30 PM

Orion 10x70 Binocs

French Camp, MS

Mild, MLLP, Some Haze

Spectacular in the binocs, bright and large, the dust tail seemed even wider than the last time I had seen it, the tails were not any longer than they appeared naked eye.


4/2/97 7-11:30 PM

Naked Eye

French Camp, MS - Mid-South Regional Stargaze

Mild, Haze, Some Clds, Medium Low LP

Very Nice! The dust tail seemed to extend nearly ten degrees, quite bright for about half of that distance. I was able to see the gas tail for the first time, it was visible above the dust tail separating from the dust tail about two degrees behind the nucleus, it was dimmer and quite thin, but seemed to extend about fifteen degrees.


3/31/97 7-7:30 PM

Orion 10x70 Binocs

Gulf Shores, Canal Road

Mild, Clear, MHLP

Went to a somewhat darker empty lot on West Canal Road after my mom called and said she thought she could see "more haze in front of the comet than before". I didn't see anything different in front of the comet, but the tail looked broader, about two degrees at its widest, and the faint portions of the tail seemed to extend almost five degrees. The main part of the tail was still about four degrees and quite bright. Sometimes I thought I could see a thin gas tail below the dust tail, but I wasn't sure.


3/31/97 7-7:30 PM

Naked Eye

Gulf Shores, W 2nd St

Mild, Clear, High Light Pollution

The comet looked bright from my porch despite all of the tennis court lights blazing, it is very conveniently located from my condo, in about the only part of the sky I can see on my porch. I took three pictures with the 50mm lens on my tripod, one 30 sec, then put the lens cap on, then one 20 sec, then removed the lens cap and took another 20 sec exposure.


3/29/97 ~7 PM

Naked Eye

Gulf Breeze, Gondolier Blvd

Mild, Partly Cldy, Hazy, Medium High LP

We were able to spot the comet through partly cloudy skies from my parent's house, it looked fairly bright despite the haze and the very bright new street light in front of my parent's house.


3/27/97 6:30-8 PM

Orion 10 x 70 Binocs

Ft. Morgan, Beach Club

Mild, Clear, Medium Light Pollution

Once again, the comet appeared to have about four degrees of tail in the binocs, the tail appearing quite bright for three degrees and then dropping off fairly quickly after that. The tail did seem a little broader than it did the night of the eclipse.


3/27/97 6:30-8 PM

Celestron C-8

Ft. Morgan, Beach Club

Mild, Clear, Medium Light Pollution

The parabolic hoods were once again very obvious at 50 and 110x, three very distinct bright arcs. At 110x, the coma's shape, bright arcs in front of the nucleus curving around the nucleus to form the tail with a distinctly darker area right behind the nucleus, was a textbook example of the structure of comets. Starting at 7:15, took three 50mm shots, 2, 1, and 3 min; two 100mm, 3 and 2 min, and one 35mm at 2 min, on the 35mm, tried to get Casseopiea in the field with the comet.

I got some fairly good slides from this night, but I haven't made prints to scan yet


3/27/97 6:30-8 PM

Naked Eye

Ft. Morgan, Beach Club

Mild, Clear, Medium Light Pollution

First sighting of the comet was at about 6:35 PM, only 27 minutes after sunset! Once it got dark its appearance was identical to how it looked with the full moon in the sky. The coma and the tail were quite bright. The tail was about two degrees long again and the visible part of the tail dropped off from quite bright to nothing very quickly, unlike Hyakutake.


3/23/97 6:30-11PM

Naked eye

Bay Minette, Chalet Dr

Mild, Clear, Low Light Pollution, Full Moon

The comet was visible well before the sky got dark. After twilight the comet was quite bright in the northeast. The tail was still pointing nearly due north. The naked eye tail length was about three degrees. It is definitely the brightest comet I have seen so far. Hyakutake still appeared more impressive in dark skies than Hale-Bopp is now, but the full moon was interfering with Hale-Bopp.


3/23/97 6:30-11PM

Celestron C-8

Bay Minette, Chalet Dr

Mild, Clear, Low Light Pollution, Full Moon

The nucleus and coma appeared pretty small at 50x but quite bright. There were very distinct parabolic hoods visible in front of the nucleus, the first time I have seen them, at first glance I thought I had some kind of optical problem. I set up the camera piggyback and took three pictures with Kodak Gold 400 ASA film, 1 minute, 2 minutes, and 3 minutes in length.

My first (fairly) successful Hale-Bopp photo! 03/23/97 right before the Lunar Eclipse


3/23/97 6:30-11PM

Orion 10 x 70 Binocs

Bay Minette, Chalet Dr

Mild, Clear, Low Light Pollution, Full Moon

The comet was quite bright in my binoculars. The tail appeared to be about four degrees long.


3/21/97 ~7 P.M.

Orion 10 x 70 Binocs

Gulf Shores, W 2nd St

Mild, Clear, High Light Pollution, Near Full Moon

Saw the comet naked eye right next to the large concrete power pole to the northwest of my porch, it was bright and instantly obvious as a comet despite the high light pollution, including all of the tennis court lights across the street. In the binocs it appeared to have about three degrees of tail. The tail was much brighter than previous comets and was pointing almost due north. Jay was visiting and thought this comet was much more impressive that Hyakutake.


3/8/97 5:20 AM

Naked Eye

Gulf Shores, W 2nd St

Cool, Clear, Twilight

Quite bright, bright small nucleus with a about four degrees of tail about one degree wide extending west north west in the northwest part of the sky. The nucleus was brighter than Deneb but not quite as bright as Vega. Still very impressive from the parking lot of my condo well into twilight.


2/16/97 5-5:45 AM

Orion 10 x 70 Binocs

Gulf Breeze, Gondolier Blvd

Cold, Clear, MHLP

Pretty bright, a small bright nucleus with a fairly large fan shaped tail about two degrees long and one half of a degree wide extending west and a little north. The tail was visible to the naked eye. About twenty five degrees above the horizon. Took several pictures with the Ektachrome 1600 ASA slide film left over from Hyakutake, 50mm lens, wide open, 20-30 secs, camera sitting on top of a short ladder.

These photos were not sucessful


2/11/97 5:30 AM

Orion 10 x 70 Binocs

Gulf Shores, W 2nd St

Very Cold, Clear, High LP

Pretty bright, a small bright nucleus with a fairly large fan shaped tail about one degree long and one half of a degree wide extending due west. It was located about two degrees northeast of the tip of Sagitta. The tail was visible to the naked eye for the first time as a dim wisp from a bright star-like nucleus. The nucleus seemed to be a little dimmer than Altair this time. About twenty five degrees above the horizon, twilight had not yet begun.


1/18/97 5:45 AM

Orion 10 x 70 Binocs

Gulf Shores, W 2nd St

Very Cold, Clear, High LP

Pretty bright overall, a small bright nucleus with a fairly large coma about one half of a degree wide. The coma was extended more to the northwest. It was visible to the naked eye as a small fuzzy patch about the same brightness as nearby Altair. Still quite low on the horizon, twilight had begun.


9/14/96 8-11:30 PM

Orion 10 x 70 Binocs

Century, FL

Mild, Clear, Low Light Pol

Pretty bright blot with an off center coma near 47 Oph, M14 was in the same feild of view, M14 appeared much smaller and dimmer than the comet.


7/19/96 8:30-11PM

Orion 10 x 70 Binocs

Fort Pickens

Warm, Clear, MLP

Pretty bright , pretty large round fuzzy patch about eight degrees from M11, it was quite a bit larger and a little dimmer than M11.


5/20/96 3 AM

Bushnell 10x50's

Gulf Breeze, Gondolier Blvd

Mild, Clear, MHLP

Pretty dim fuzzy patch in Sagittarius


5/17/96 2:20 PM

Celestron C-8

Bay Minette, Chalet Dr

Mild, Clear, Low Light Pol

Fairly dim fuzzy patch at 50x, covering maybe a quarter of the field of view, the nucleus was fairly bright with a offset coma, the fan shape was not as clear in the C-8.


5/17/96 2:10 PM

TW's 18in Rflctr

Bay Minette, Chalet Dr

Mild, Clear, Low Light Pol

Fairly bright tight nucleus with a fan shaped coma, very clear at low power.


5/17/96 2:00 PM

Orion 10 x 70 Binocs

Bay Minette, Chalet Dr

Mild, Clear, Low Light Pol

Dim round fuzzy patch NE of a small triangle of stars W of the Teaspoon of Saggitarius.


10/21/95 7:30 PM

Celestron C-8

Gulf Breeze, Gondolier Blvd

Cool, Clear, Med High LP

Very dim, looked like a dim, fuzzy globular, but a little more nebulous and spread out, almost invisible at 50x, at 76x and 110x it was eaiser to see, found it in a dim triangle of stars just north of Delta Sagittarius.


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