Edition 17 of the Astronomy On-line Newspaper

Comet Hale-Bopp is Coming!

Astronomy On-Line participants will be aware of the Hale-Bopp Collaborative Project that is concerned with this exciting object.

Since November, the comet has been developing very well and it is now so bright that it is very easy to see it with the unaided eye. A few days ago, around January 21, it was reported as having reached magnitude 2.5.

Here are some Websites that may prove useful for further information about Comet Hale-Bopp:

ESO's Hale-Bopp Website - from here there are many links to other sites

Soenderborg Amtsgymnasium - observations at a school observatory

EAAE project - a students' project - do you want to join?

You may also have heard rumours about `strange objects' being observed near the comet. It has turned out, that at least in one now famous case, this was just a normal star, recorded on a CCD-frame by an amateur astronomer. However, he was unaware of this and the media made a big fuss about it.

The problem of correctly processing CCD frames and understanding artefacts, including apparently `strange' objects on CCD frames has been discussed by a young Belgian astronomer, Olivier Hainaut, who now works at Hawaii. Do have a look at this WWW-page with explanations and examples. This may be quite useful and may help you to avoid making mistakes when using a CCD camera!

Richard West
ESO Education and Public Relations Dept.

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Last update: Jan 24, 1997