Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

July 9, 1998
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Hale-Bopp: The Crowd Pleaser Comet
Credit and Copyright: J. Orman

Explanation: In 1997, the bright comet Hale-Bopp may have become the most viewed comet in history -- visible even to casual skywatchers in light polluted cities around the globe. In this picture, taken by photographer Joe Orman on the evening of May 8, 1997, Hale-Bopp easily competes with near twilight skies and a shining, over-exposed, crescent moon above Mobile, Arizona, USA. Where is Hale-Bopp now? Still visible to telescopic observers in the Southern Hemisphere, the comet is outbound, presently about 537 million miles from the Sun. (Jupiter orbits at about 480 million miles.) The long lead time provided by the early discovery of Hale-Bopp has allowed extensive observing campaigns producing a bonanza of information about this primordial chunk of our Solar System.

Tomorrow's picture: A Galaxy Pair

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.