Pictures of Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1)

by John Pane


I took these pictures of Comet Hale-Bopp without a telescope or telephoto lens, or any special camera equipment. I used a Pentax SF1 35mm SLR camera mounted on a tripod, with a "normal" 50mm f/1.4 lens. I got each picture into the computer by scanning the interesting section of the slide or negative. Then I used Photoshop to enhance the contrast. Unless otherwise noted, all operations in PhotoShop were performed on the whole image (no retouching).

In the comments below, I give distance/size measurements in degrees. Your fist, held at arm's length, spans about 10 degrees.



9 March 1997, 5:20am, Economy, PA


Click the image to see a larger version of it (489KB).

This picture was taken on 9 March 1997 at about 0520 EST (1020 UT) from Economy, PA, USA (40 37 24 N, 80 11 30 W), about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. This is a 30 second exposure using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Kodak Ektachrome EPH-1600 slide film.

The image covers about 28 degrees of the sky horizontally, and 21 degrees vertically. The dust tail (white) is visible for about 4 degrees, and the ion tail (blue) is visible for about 11 degrees. The bright dot in the dust tail near the head of the comet is a star. The red patch near the top of the image is the North America nebula. The messier object M39, an open cluster, is visible just beyond the end of the ion tail as a dense clump of stars.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


16 March 1997, 7:30pm, CMU Campus, Pittsburgh, PA


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This picture was taken on 16 March 1997 at about 1930 EST (17 March 1997 0030 UT) from the brightly-lit campus of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, USA (40 26 31 N, 79 57 46 W). This is a 5 second exposure using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Kodak Royal Gold 1000 Film.

In addition to contrast enhancement, I used Photoshop to hide a horizontal scratch above the comet, and another scratch near the tree branches on the right.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


24 March 1997, 4:49am, Economy, PA


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This picture was taken on 24 March 1997 at about 0449 EST (0949 UT) from Economy, PA, USA (40 37 24 N, 80 11 30 W), about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. This is a 7 second exposure using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Kodak Ektachrome EPH-1600 slide film.

This picture was taken 1.5 hours before sunrise. The full moon lit the lightly snow-covered landscape, and made the night sky appear blue in the photograph. The dust tail is visible for about 3 degrees. You may be able to detect the blue ion tail to the left of the dust tail.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


31 March 1997, 8:13pm, St. Petersburg, FL


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This picture was taken on 31 March 1997 at about 2013 EST (1 April 1997 0113 UT) from Fort DeSoto Park (27 38 02 N, 82 44 16 W), about 10 miles south of St. Petersburg, FL, USA. This is a composite of three 15 second exposures using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Kodak Ektachrome EPH-1600 slide film.

The dust tail is visible for more than 5 degrees before it disappears into the glow coming from the beach towns to the north. The ion tail can be traced at least 10 degrees. This photo was taken about two hours before perihelion, Hale-Bopp's closest approach to the sun.

This photo appeared in the August 1997 issue of Modern Astronomer, on page 57.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


31 March 1997, 8:14pm, St. Petersburg, FL


Click the image to see a larger version of it (175KB).

This picture was taken on 31 March 1997 at about 2014 EST (1 April 1997 0114 UT) from Fort DeSoto Park (27 38 02 N, 82 44 16 W), about 10 miles south of St. Petersburg, FL, USA. This is a 30 second exposure using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Kodak Ektachrome EPH-1600 slide film.

The dust tail is visible for more than 5 degrees before it disappears into the glow coming from the beach towns to the north. The ion tail can be traced at least 10 degrees. This photo was taken about two hours before perihelion, Hale-Bopp's closest approach to the sun.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


31 March 1997, 8:34pm, St. Petersburg, FL


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This picture was taken on 31 March 1997 at about 2034 EST (1 April 1997 0134 UT) from Fort DeSoto Park (27 38 02 N, 82 44 16 W), about 10 miles south of St. Petersburg, FL, USA. This is a 15 second exposure using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Kodak Ektachrome EPH-1600 slide film.

This picture was taken about twenty minutes after the previous one, with one f-stop less exposure time. That's my silhouette in the foreground. This photo was taken about 1.75 hours before perihelion, Hale-Bopp's closest approach to the sun.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


6 April 1997, 9:22pm, Indiana Township, PA


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This picture was taken on 6 April 1997 at about 2122 EDT (7 April 1997 0122 UT) from just north of Fox Chapel in Indiana Township, PA (40 33 34 N, 79 52 48 W), about 9 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, PA, USA. This is a composite of three 15 second exposures using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Kodak PJM 640 film.

The image covers about 13.5 degrees of the sky horizontally, and 10.5 degrees vertically. The dust tail (white) is visible for more than 6 degrees, and the ion tail (blue) is visible for more than 7 degrees. The messier object M34, an open cluster, is the dense clump of stars behind the ion tail about 1.25 degrees from the head, peeking out just above the brightest part of the dust tail.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


7 April 1997, 9:20pm, Economy, PA


Click the image to see a larger version of it (304KB).

This picture was taken on 7 April 1997 at about 2120 EDT (8 April 1997 0120 UT) from Economy, PA, USA (40 37 24 N, 80 11 30 W), about 20 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. This is a composite of two 15 second exposures using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Kodak PJM 640 film.

The image covers about 8 degrees of the sky horizontally, and 10.5 degrees vertically. The dust tail (white) is visible for more than 8 degrees, and the ion tail (blue) is visible for more than 7.5 degrees. The messier object M34, an open cluster, is the dense clump of stars about 1.75 degrees to the right of the head, behind the bottom edge of the dust tail.

It is interesting to note the comet's movement relative to the stars in the 24 hours between the previous picture and this one.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


26 April 1997, 9:30pm, Imperial, PA


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This picture was taken on 26 April 1997 at about 2130 EDT (27 April 1997 0130 UT) from Bald Knob near Imperial, PA, USA (40 26 58 N, 80 19 17 W), about 17 miles west of Pittsburgh. This is a composite of four 15 second exposures using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Kodak PJM 640 film.

The image covers about 14.5 degrees of the sky horizontally, and 17.5 degrees vertically. The dust tail (white) is visible for more than 8 degrees, and the ion tail (blue) is visible for more than 5 degrees. The messier objects M36 and M38, both open clusters, are visible in the upper left corner of the image.

Note how the angle between the dust and ion tails has increased since the earlier photos.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


28 April 1997, 9:37pm, Imperial, PA


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This picture was taken on 28 April 1997 at about 2137 EDT (29 April 1997 0137 UT) from Bald Knob near Imperial, PA, USA (40 26 58 N, 80 19 17 W), about 17 miles west of Pittsburgh. This is a composite of four 15 second exposures using a lens opening of f/2.0 and Fuji Super G+ 800 film.

The image covers about 15 degrees of the sky horizontally, and 18 degrees vertically. The dust tail (white) is visible for more than 10 degrees, and the ion tail (blue) is visible for more than 7.5 degrees. The messier objects M36 and M38, both open clusters, are visible in the upper left corner of the image.

Note the comet's movement relative to the stars in the 48 hours between the previous photo and this one.

Copyright 1997 John Pane.


Permission for non-commercial use of these images is granted. If you publish them, please credit me, and if possible, include the URL for this page: http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~pane/hb-pictures.html. I would appreciate a copy of the publication.

Other requests may be sent to pane+halebopp@cs.cmu.edu.


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