Comets

Comets are chunks mate of ice, frozen gases and dust (like dirty snowballs). The come from the outer regions of our solar system. When the get close to the Sun they heat up and evaporate. This evaporating gas and dust is blown away by the solar wind and forms the tails of a comet. Therefore the tail always points away from the Sun. Comets are very common but only a few of them get that close to the Earth that they can be seen with naked eye. Have a look at Astronomical Image Data Archive (AIDA) for a bigger selection of comet pictures made by amateur astronomers. December 1996 to April 1997, 7 photos.

Hyakutake: Comet Hyakutake. It was not as big as Hale-Bopp but it's appearance was very surprising and it came very close to the Earth. One could see it moving through the telescope. — 1996

Hyakutake: Comet Hyakutake. It was not as big as Hale-Bopp but it's appearance was very surprising and it came very close to the Earth. One could see it moving through the telescope. — 1996

Hale-Bopp: The core of the comet Hale-Bopp. Combination of five pictures. — Minolta SRT-101, Vixen Refraktor d=90mm f=1000mm, 1+2+4+8+16s, Fujicolor Super G 400, Raten, 2. April 1997

Hale-Bopp: The wonderful comet Hale-Bopp with a blue gas tail and a grey dust tail. Guided with a telescope. Minolta SRT-101, Minolta MC 300mm f/4.5, Kodak Gold 400, Raten, April 1st, 1997. Nikon LS-50

Hale-Bopp: The wonderful comet Hale-Bopp with a blue gas tail and a grey dust tail. Unfortunately some branches of a tree are in the picture. Combination of three pictures. Guided with a telescope. — Minolta SRT-101, Minolta MC 300mm f/4.5, Kodak Gold 400, Raten, 1 April 1997

Hale-Bopp: Comet Hale-Bopp above the woods on the Raten. — Minolta SRT-101, 50mm lens, April 1997

Hale-Bopp: The core of the comet Hale-Bopp. One can see a kind of "shock wave" caused by evaporating gas on a rotating core. Combination of three pictures with eyepiece projection. — Minolta SRT-101, Vixen Refraktor d=90mm f=1000mm, 16+30+60s, Fujicolor Super G 400, Raten, 2. April 1997