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.

November 12, 1996

Comet Hale-Bopp Passes M14
Credit and Copyright:
D. Hanon

Explanation: Comet Hale-Bopp continues its slow trek across the night sky, and can now be seen superposed near the bright globular cluster M14. Will Comet Hale-Bopp become as bright in early 1997 as Comet Hyakutake did in early 1996? It is still too early to tell. Currently Hale-Bopp is curiously holding at about 5th magnitude - just barely bright enough to see without binoculars from a dark location. Because of the size of coma, some speculate that the nucleus of Hale-Bopp is unusually large. The actual nucleus is obscured, however, and recent speculation includes that the nucleus is comparable in size to Comet Halley - about 10-15 km across.

Tomorrow's picture: Seven Jets from Comet Hale-Bopp

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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