[Comet Hale-Bopp]

Akkana's Comet Page

(Comet Hale-Bopp, taken from Henry Coe State Park; this and all images on my pages Copyright Akkana Peck unless otherwise attributed.)

From Henry Coe State Park, on the morning of March 9, 1997:
(using Provia 1600 and a slightly modified Orion SkyView mount)
[Comet Hale-Bopp] Hale-Bopp with lots of tail detail (180mm f/2.8 Nikkor, 3 minute exposure) [Comet Hale-Bopp] Hale-Bopp (135mm f/2.8 Nikkor, 2 minute exposure)
[Comet Hale-Bopp] From my light-polluted driveway a week earlier, by the light of a nearly-full moon (Fixed tripod, 135mm Nikkor lens, Provia 1600) [Comet Hale-Bopp over San Jose] Comet Hale-Bopp in the early morning, over San Jose (Fixed tripod, 24mm Nikkor lens, Provia 1600)
Hale-Bopp @ 50mm Even with very modest equipment, such as a 50mm lens on a fixed tripod, it's possible to get very nice pictures of Hale-Bopp. This was my first attempt, back in February, from a pullout off Montebello Rd in Cupertino, with about a 20-second exposure. On the original slide, you can make out the different colors of the two tails.

Hale-Bopp's nucleus

Through a telescope, the view of Hale-Bopp at its peak was impressive. The nuclear region showed a helical structure, caused by material thrown off by a rotating jet in the nucleus. Unfortunately, this structure was very difficult to photograph, and much more was visible visually than could be captured in a photo.

[Hale-Bopp nucleus sketch] [Hale-Bopp nucleus sketch] Hence, sketches are the best way to see the structure. Here are two sketches I made in late March, using my 6" telescope at 48x from my suburban backyard.

The best animations of the rotation I've seen are an amazing animated sequence of images by Brad Wallis showing the formation of the hoods as the nucleus rotates, and an equally amazing, but quite different color mpeg animation by Terry Platt showing a full rotation cycle.

Other people's photos and sketches of the nucleus:

[Hale-Bopp binocular sketch] In binoculars, Hale-Bopp was a beautiful sight. I made this sketch viewing with 8x42 Ultraview binoculars from my backyard.

Comet Hyakutake

My first comet shots were of Comet Hyakutake. I used a flimsy backpacker's tripod and Provia 1600. I was proud of them at the time.
[Hyakutake @ 50mm] Hyakutake with a 50mm f/2 Nikkor.

Other sites with information on comets:

The clearinghouse for reports and photographs on this comet is the JPL Comet Mirror Site, which is a mirror of the original JPL Comet Site.

You should also check out the great images and videos of the Comet Watch Program.

I think the most beautiful scenic shot I've seen yet of Hale-Bopp is Dan Baldwin's lovely shot of the comet over the Colorado Rockies with M31 (the Andromeda galaxy) below it. Wow. I want to move to Colorado.

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