The most unusual Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered in mid-1995 at a distance of more than 7 AU from the Sun, that is well beyond Jupiter. At that time it was already of 10th magnitude and this indicated that it must be a very active and interesting object. You will find much information at the ESO Comet Hale-Bopp site.
Since then, Hale-Bopp has continued to move towards the Sun, and it will reach its perihelion on 1 April 1997. It is expected that it will become one of the brightest comets in the 20th century and many astronomical investigations are now being planned for next year.
The comet is already visible to the unaided eye and many amateurs have observed it during the past months. Many beautiful pictures are available on the Web and almost daily, Bulletins are issued in various places about its development.
In order to provide Astronomy On-Line participants with the possibility to take actively part in these exciting programmes, a special Collaborative Project has been set up by Austrian colleagues.
Please click here to access the special Vienna Hale-Bopp site with lots of information for Astronomy On-Line participants about the comet itself, the observations and also about cometary research in general.
You will find here also information about some exercises and other activities which we think will be of interest for you and your group.
This exercise has been prepared by Guenther Wuchterl and Alexander Pikhard to whom you should address all questions.