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Hyakutake vs Hale-Bopp

From: (Michael Dworetsky)
Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 09:46:02 GMT
Organization: University College London

Both comets are great spectacles. Hyakutake's appearance was brief, and many people never saw it. Perhaps one of the criteria of a great comet is that it gets hyped in the media. Hale-Bopp is well worth the publicity IMHO. The nuclear regions are truly amazing through a telescope!! All those clearly defined shells, jets, etc. Possibly the most interesting comet visually since Donati 1858? Not speaking from experience on the latter point :-) but from seeing drawings.


From: (J.N.)
Date: Mon, 24 Mar 1997 06:17:17 GMT
Organization: A customer of Pacific Bell Internet Services
Message-ID: <>

I'm puzzled as to why Hale Bopp is being called the comet of the decade or comet of the century, at least visually speaking. Is this as big as it's going to get - maybe a little brighter as it nears the Sun? The tail is just a smudge, whereas Hayakutake's was much longer and broader when I saw it from a pollution-free sky in the Sierra Nevada.

On the amazing scale, I gave Hayakutake a 10, whereas Hale Bopp only seems to merit a 2 or 3 thus far.


From: (BillFerris)
Date: 23 Mar 1997 21:46:43 GMT
Organization: AOL
Message-ID: <>

I prefer to look at this comparison as HB & Hyakutake. Over the course of one twelve month period, we've been treated to two outstanding comet displays. When was the last time that happened? 1910, perhaps, with the Great January Comet and Halley?

Hyakutake's 65-degree long tail was awesome. Hale-Bopp's two long tails and bright coma make it spectacular. That Hale-Bopp has been truly impressive to the naked eye for several weeks and we've got another month or so to go before it dims below 0.0 magnitude only adds to this comet's standing.

Do either or both belong in that exclusive club of Great Comets? That's debateable. However, it is unquestionable that both Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp will not be forgotten by those of us who have seen them.


From: Mark Gingrich <>
Date: 24 Mar 1997 05:50:32 GMT
Organization: Whatsamatta U. -- College of Letters and Sausages
Message-ID: <5h54n8$>

Bill Ferris ( wrote:
> I prefer to look at this comparison as HB & Hyakutake. Over the course of
> one twelve month period, we've been treated to two outstanding comet
> displays. When was the last time that happened? 1910, perhaps, with the
> Great January Comet and Halley?

Don't forget comets Arend-Roland and Mrkos in 1957.


Date: 23 Mar 97 18:08:26 EDT
Organization: University of Pittsburgh
Message-ID: <5h4d5c$>

My vote's with Hyakutake. That 40 to 60 degree tail sweeping by the Big Dipper was a spectacular sight. HB may be brighter, but its small tail (so far) has left me less impressed. Definitely impressed, just less so.


From: (TMLask)
Date: 23 Mar 1997 14:21:41 GMT
Organization: AOL
Message-ID: <>

>>That one never got to be more than a fuzzy spot with the naked eye, whereas....<<

Obviously you looked at Hyakutake from a light polluted area as did most of the general public. From a dark site the comet was a wonderful sight; bright with a 30+ degree tail.


From: (Trajan McGill)
Date: 23 Mar 1997 06:19:22 GMT
Organization: Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Message-ID: <5h2i1b$eaa$>

Sorry, as I said in a later post, I only saw Hyakutake from the city, so I didn't get to see any of that magnificent tail. Hale-Bopp's tail, while maybe shorter, is brighter, so from a bright area I can see a lot more of it than I could with Hyakutake.


From: "Brian Cerveny" <>
Date: 23 Mar 1997 03:12:28 GMT
Organization: The Internet Ramp
Message-ID: <01bc3738$2064bb60$904ddacd@bcerveny>

I am afraid I have to far. H-B is brighter but Hyakutake was more dynamic in apppearance with its gigantic tail and its position in the night sky for observing all night long. But...and it is a big one...the show is not over.!!!! Its great we had two great comets within a year of each other to compare.


From: Garrett <>
Date: Sun, 23 Mar 1997 00:28:55 -0500
Organization: Art Lied
Message-ID: <>

On March 26, 1996 Hyakutake had a TAIL that spanned from Polaris into the BOWL OF THE BIG DIPPER - you didn't need binos to see this. Granted, I have yet to see HB in clear dark skies (I do have my place surveyed for Tuesday) - but c'mon, did you actually see B2 in the dark at its closest approach?

I will probably never behold a sight lke that for the rest of my life! It was truly stunning.


From: (Brian)
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 15:25:23 -0600
Organization: me
Message-ID: <>

I think this is comparing apples to oranges. While Hyakutake was not brighter then Hale-Bopp it certainly did appear enourmous from a dark viewing area with a tail that seemed to stretch an incredible distance. Hale-Bopp howver certainly wins out for brightness and shape. Just a matter of what you like to see in a comet.


From: (Greer/Taylor)
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 1997 19:22:15 GMT
Organization: Montana Communications Network
Message-ID: <33342b99.5720878@news>

Where were you viewing Hyakutake from? At it's closest approach, I awoke at 3am, looked out a South facing door to see if the sky was clear. Not only was it clear, but Hyakutake's LONG broad ghostly blue tail stretched from my zenith Southward. I leaned out to see a little North of my zenith, saw more tail but still no head. I excitedly went to the North facing door. It was clear there also and I finally caught sight of the HUGE comet's head. I woke the family, (NO-ONE turned on ANY lights) we went outside and stood in the cold darkness in awe of the truly grand spectacle. The feeling was indescribable. I commented at the time: "I can visualize two great and ancient armies laying down their arms before such a spectacle -- ceasing their hostilities." We left the binoculars indoors. The comet was way too large (and bright) to waste a 'narrow' binocular field on. I could, and did, look North to see the comet's head, and turn 180 degrees to look South to see the GREAT COMET'S tail (turning my back to Hyakutake's head). Can you do this with Hale-Bopp? Not from where I live! I live within the bounds of a national forest in Montana -- No lights. No pollution. Actually not much of anything.

I see Hale-Bopp regularly from the same location. Hale-Bopp is a wonderful binocular comet and shows beautiful telescopic inner coma structure; but naked eye it's simply a bright light with a dinky pair of tails compared to Hyakutake's GIAGANTIC form stretching ominously accross the entire sky. I truly regret that so few people were fortunate enough to get such a wondrous view of Hyakutake. Just a handful of cloudy nights at the wrong time, or light pollution, or failure to dark adapt - and the view of the century is history. Those who were unfortunate enough to miss Hyakutake at its best may never know what they missed. Hyakutake was close and fast moving. One week (or even three days) of clouds at the wrong time and Hyakutake transformed into a ghost of its former self. Given a choice of retaining my memory of that one view of Hyakutake or losing it in exchange for all my views of Hale-Bopp (with telescopes, binoculars and naked-eye). I would instantly elect to forget Hale-Bopp. Hyakutake was the Comet of the Century. Hale-Bopp is the consolation prize.


From: "Jane Helms" <>
Date: 22 Mar 1997 06:44:36 GMT
Organization: QuadraNet Internet Services
Message-ID: <01bc368c$83145380$7cb5abce@default>

Because Hyakutake was so much closer than Hale-Bopp, Hale-Bopp will be not be as large as Hyakutake. However, it is brighter and it is a much brighter and larger comet than Hyakutake in actual size (Hale-Bopp has a diameter of around 40 km or 25 miles). If it had come as close to earth as Hyakutake did, it would be yielding a magnitude of -4, brighter than any object in the sky save the moon and sun!