Hale-Bopp: The Bright and Tragic Comet of the 1990s

Comet Hale-Bopp was an unusually bright comet that flew by Earth, reaching its closest approach to the planet in 1997. It was most spectacular in the Northern Hemisphere and visible to the naked eye for about 18 months.

Hale-Bopp was probably one of the most viewed comets in history. With an absolute magnitude of -1, the comet was one of the brightest comets to reach the inner solar system in recorded history, NASA said. Hale-Bopp appeared 1,000 times brighter than Halley’s Comet did at the same distance.  Its twin blue-and-white tails were clearly visible even from light-polluted areas such as Chicago.