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Schwann 23rd January 2001

SOUTH AFRICAN astronomers have captured the first images of the newly discovered Comet HALE BOPP.

that has crept unnoticed into our star system initially fuelling concern about the END OF THE WORLD . They debunked claims that the still fuzzy object will destroy Earth. The Comet, discovered by two amateur astronomers in America is thought to be hundreds of kilometers wide. Senior astronomers at the SA Astronomical Observatory say that the Comet will pass no closer than 200 million kilometres to the Earth and is now still far beyond the orbit of Jupiter.

Dr. Brian marsden from Harvard University has commented that it could become the Comet of the millenium as it comes in towards in the sun over the next two years.

Early calculations by astronomers at the Astronomical Observatory in Sutherland predict that the Comet will reach 200 million kilometers from Earth by March 23, 1997

If you wish to see more than a thumbnail pic of the Comet

CLICK HERE

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Images obtained with the 1.0m telescope at SAAO, Sutherland by David Buckley, staff astronomer at SAAO. Flse colour renditions of image brightness. 200sec exposure through near infrared filter.

North is to the left. Field size about 3 arcmin x 3 arcmin.

MANY THANX TO ASTRONOMERS JOHN MENSIES PATRICIA WHITELOCK AND PETER FOURIE OF SAAO FOR THEIR TIME AND TROUBLE.

If you wish to visit the South African Atronomical Observatory's

home page then CLICK HERE

schwann@webtrance.co.za