poetry and prose about place

places off-planet #5 – Comet Hale-Bopp 1996

with 6 comments

Comet Hale-Bopp could be seen from Earth in late 1996 and early 1997.  Its strange name is from the independent co-discoverers, Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp.  Hale-Bopp was a large comet, with a nucleus of about 60 miles in diameter.  It had two visible tails, one of gas and one of dust, and had a third tail of sodium.  It has been called the most-observed comet in history.  Hale-Bopp won’t be back until 4385!

I have no specific memory of Hale-Bopp itself, although I do remember a common saying in our household in 1997 was to greet almost every out-of-place object with “Hail!  Bopp!”.  The poem I wrote after seeing the comet is all I have to know how it appeared to me.

Do you remember seeing Hale-Bopp?

photo from Wikimedia Commons, taken by Philipp Salzgeber





also a comet


Hail! bright star


a flare in the western sky

a diamond


a sparkler

embedded in smoke



©  Jane Tims  1997

Written by jane tims

May 14, 2012 at 8:09 am

6 Responses

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  1. I remember looking for it! I have memories of being disappointed by the hyped Comet Kohouhtek, and looking for Halley’s Comet back in 1986. It’ll be back in 2061 🙂


    Watching Seasons

    May 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    • Hi Tracey. I’ll probably miss Halley’s next time, too much else to do, you know. Jane


      jane tims

      May 18, 2012 at 6:45 am

  2. Odd..I don’t remember it either. That must have pre-dated my interest in the night sky.


    Deborah Carr

    May 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    • Hi Deborah. I find that sky-events are generally ignored on the evening news, unless you watch the Weather station. Jane


      jane tims

      May 16, 2012 at 7:23 am

  3. Some day I’ll see a comet…we live in hope….



    May 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm

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