Comet Hale-Bopp was formed 4.6 billion years ago in the Oort Cloud
during the formation of the solar system. Somewhere along the line, something went haywire
and Hale-Bopp began falling towards the Sun
. It wound up trapped in the Sun's gravitational well
The last time humans got a look at Hale-Bopp was around 2214 B.C., when the Great Pyramids and Stonehenge were being built. It's quite possible that Hale-Bopp was bright enough at this time to see it in the daylight. It also could have stretched across most of the night sky. Another unknown is whether or not there remains any documentation of the event. The victory stela of Naram-Sin from Sippar (modern Iraq) is an interesting artifact from around this time that clearly shows two suns in the sky. This is a rarity in ancient symbolism and it's entirely possible that the picture is of Hale-Bopp.
On the night of July 23, 1995, two amateur astronomers (Alan Hale and Tom Bopp) independently discovered Hale-Bopp for the modern world. It was on its way back from a trip of more than 4000 years. Beginning in Summer 1996, it became visible to the naked eye and remained visible from Earth for more than a year.
This was obviously a marker sent to us by our Older Member in the Evolutionary Level Above Human. Whether or not the comet had a "companion" didn't really matter (although it did). On Mar. 26, 1997, my students and I left our containers behind and made our journey to the Kingdom of Heaven, where we now enjoy playing foosball and holding Lords of Acid dance parties.
- Size of nucleus: 40km (25mi.)
- Size of Comet Halley nucleus: 20km (12mi.)
- Length of Tail: 50-60 million miles in late March
- Last visit to inner solar system: 2213 B.C.
- Next visit to inner solar system: About 4300 A.D.
- Speed of comet at perihelion = 98,000 miles per hour
- Speed of comet at aphelion = 250 miles per hour
- Distance from Earth (closest approach): 122 million miles
- Distance from Sun (closest approach): 85 million miles
- Distance of Earth from the Sun: 93 million miles
- Had a UFO "companion" with fancy leather interior and great 0-60 time