Famous comets

With their dramatic, glowing tails and cyclical appearances, comets fire the imagination, fuel scientific exploration and draw eyes to the skies.

Text by Greg Thilmont | Photo editing by Connie Ricca

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Sep 4, 2013 4:27PM
I also find it amazing that through history back to the earliest days of astronomy, that people were seeing several comets a year.  Now we're lucky to see one in our life time.
Sep 4, 2013 4:24PM
Luckily Hale-Bopp appeared in the eastern sky and so when I took a picture of it, the rotation of the Earth let me get a good tracking shot of the comet.  However, when Hyakutaki came by the following year, I had trouble, because that comet appeared in the Northern sky and the Earth's rotation caused my camera to track sideways giving me the look of a squashed comet like Shoemaker-Levy that smashed into Jupiter.  Haley was a big disappointment as I really wanted to see it, but it was too dang far away.  My grandmother was here for it in 1910 and in 1986 too.  In 1910, there was another comet that year besides Haley and one of them was so bright that it was visible during the day time.
Aug 20, 2013 4:55PM
When I got an Astroscan telescope, it came with a copy of "The Comet Is Coming (The Feverish Legacy of Mr. Halley)" by Nigel Calder. He made note that sky events like comets and eclipses may be "bad omens" for some people but good for others. For instance, a bright "hairy star" (comet) may spell doom for the Chinese Emperor but that could be a green light for an Army General to commence his scheme to overthrow the Imperial power.
Aug 6, 2013 2:14PM
Photo #6 is not of Halley's Comet, but rather it is Comet Hale-Bopp.  Compare it with Photo #8.
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