MPI/ESO 2.2-m + EFOSC II (May 14, 1996)
This is the ESO Homepage for the unusual Comet 1995 O1 (Hale-Bopp). It will be updated regularly as new information and images, from ESO as well as from other sources, become available.
This page contains general information, in particular summaries and updates about the current situation. From here there is also access to other pages with supplementary, more specialised information, including one with links to other Hale-Bopp sites.
Now that the main observational programmes are over, Latest News will only be brought on this page in case of important developments. However, Updates will continue to be issued at irregular intervals, as more information becomes available.
May 22, 1997: A table with the apparently brightest comets has been added to Jacques Sauval's note on the Longest Visibility of Ancient Comets.
The comet is rapidly becoming fainter; the total magnitude is now estimated as below 2, i.e. slightly fainter than predicted. On May 22.1 UT, Gary Kronk (Troy. Illinois, USA) made the following notes: comet first detected at 9:07 p.m. CDT while sweeping with the 20x80 B; it was then about 3.1 deg above the horizon.... the comet then appeared as a rather bright nuclear region with a wedge-like emission with borders to the SW and S-SE of the nuclear region; the comet was last seen in the B at 9:10, as I was making a magnitude estimate....by 9:17, the wedge of material was virtually gone and the comet's appearance was that of a diffuse star with a hint of some elongation southward; almost exactly as the time reached 9:23, the comet passed behind a bush nearly a mile away; the horizon was then within the same field as the comet and the altitude was 0.2 deg; the very last view of the comet showed it as nothing more than a very diffuse star-like object; there was no hint of any elongation; twilight was still strong throughout the session...
New splendid photo by Eckhard Slawik available, cf. the local area.
For the latest information about the exciting observations of small `comet-like bodies' disintegrating near the Earth, see http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu/. More to follow here in a few days' time.