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October 30, 1995
Comet Hale-Bopp Update
H.A. Weaver (ARC) and
P.D. Feldman (JHU).
Will comet Hale-Bopp
become the brightest comet of the Century in early 1997?
Since its discovery in July
Hale-Bopp has caused much speculation.
Even though it is still beyond the orbit
of Jupiter it is astonishingly bright and expected to get much brighter
as it plunges inward, toward the Sun. In this
latest Hubble Space
Telescope image a bright clump of material (above centre) has apparently
been ejected by evaporation and the rotation of the
icy nucleus (below centre).
Astronomers are using this and
other observations to try to figure out if Hale-Bopp is really a giant
comet or a smaller object which will fizzle out sooner than expected
as it approaches the Sun.
Tomorrow's picture: A Halloween Invasion from Mars
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