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.
June 10, 1997
Explanation: Hale-Bopp may be the most photographed comet in history. Above, our photogenic giant flying snowball appeared last month as a backdrop to the "Cinque Torri" Mountains near Contina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Although the comet is still fairly bright, it is fading as it recedes from the Sun, and is now more easily visible from Earth's southern hemisphere. Having shed a few metres of ice and rock from its surface, Comet Hale-Bopp will coast to the outer Solar System, and return again in another 2400 years.
Authors & editors:
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.