How to Enjoy a Comet

Comet Hale-Bopp in spring 1997 just may have been the most exciting backyard astronomy event of the 20th century! The comet was discovered in July of 1995 and was already 250 times larger than Halley's Comet when it was that distance from the sun. No one knows what treats may come in the years ahead!

How do you get ready when a comet has been sighted? The most important thing is to learn to recognize the constellations which the comet will pass through. Then, when it is time to look, you will notice any change in the normal pattern of stars. The constellations to learn for Hale-Bopp were CygnusPegasus, and Andromeda. Just improving your basic sky watching skills is helpful. Try a visit to Stardate's Weekly Stargazing Tips to find out more.

To learn more about comets in general, take a look at Windows to the Universe's Comet page. Check astronomy sites regularly to find out if any comets are visible and if any new comets have been found.

When a comet is approaching, the best viewing will be from a dark area away from city lights where the area of the sky where the comet will be seen is visible without trees, hills or buildings blocking the view.
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