(Submitted March 20, 1997)
What's the best time to view comets?
The best time to view a comet depends on its individual orbit and its
brightness. The recent comet, Hale-Bopp, had an orbit that took it higher
into the evening sky and lower in the morning so that
in April, the evening view became more and more
Scientists believe that Hale-Bopp might have also been
on one of its early trips into the inner
solar system. It last visited the inner solar system about 4,000 years ago.
Because it has come close to the Sun only a few times before, it shed
much more dust and gases than comets which have come through the inner solar
system many times. Comet Halley, for instance, has been through the inner
solar system many many times and so it tends to shed much less material.
In addition to the Sky & Telescope (http://skyandtelescope.com/) site, you may want to check out:
The Hale-Bopp Page (http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/comet/).
For more general information about comets, we suggest
Comets have been very much in the news the last few years: we hope you find
observing them to be rewarding!
for Imagine the Universe!
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