You can now buy the recently released book, Fall of a Thousand Suns: How Near Misses and Comet Impacts affected the Religious Beliefs of our Ancestors. It is available through iBooks and Amazon.
This website only lists information on modern-day comets and meteor showers. The book, however, thoroughly investigates how specific ancient impacts and near misses changed religious beliefs around the world.
The Discovery of Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1)
A 10.5 magnitude comet in Sagittarius was discovered on July 23, 1995 on the same night by two amateurs in the United States. This is rare case, where the discoverers weren’t armed with a giant telescope in an observatory costing tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Alan Hale was in his driveway in New Mexico, and Thomas Bopp peered into the eyepiece of his friends telescope in Arizona. They both spotted the comet, which already had a coma, between Jupiter and Saturn.
It was named Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1).
Size of Comet Hale-Bopp (C/1995 O1)
Hale-Bopp turned out to be one of the brightest comets in the 20th century and the largest comet ever observed with a nucleus measuring 37± 12 miles (60±20 km) in diameter.
Hale-Bopp truly would be apocalyptic if it were to collide with Earth, delivering an estimated two hundred times more energy than the 6 mile wide (10 km) object that hit the Yucatan Peninsula 65,000,000 years ago.
Orbital Period and Comet Hale-Bopp’s Next Visit
Comet Hale-Bopp takes approximately 2,537 year to orbit the Sun. Its orbit is fairly flat compared to the ecliptic, and can therefore be effected by close encounters with the planets, especially larger ones like Jupiter and Saturn.
Additional Comet Hale-Bopp Facts
Hale-Bopp Comet on April 4, 1997.
© 1997 by H. Mikuz & B. Kambic.
If you're looking for other facts on Comet Hale-Bopp, here are a few more.
Although often considered a comet from the Oort Cloud, Comet Hale-Bopp has an orbit that only takes it 360 AU from our Sun.
As it neared the Sun in 1996, Hale-Bopp transformed into one of the most spectacular naked-eye comets in history. Itremained visible to the naked-eye for eighteen spectacular months, twice as long as the previous record holder, the Great Comet of 1811 (C/1811 F1).
At the time, Hubble Space Telescope observed a second, smaller nucleus.
Don Yeomans calculated the orbit for Hale-Bopp, and believes the last time it entered the inner solar system was around 2200 BCE. Brian Marsden suggested that a close call with Jupiter in June of 2215 BCE might have been responsible for the fragmentation of Hale-Bopp into two pieces.