The Planet Quiz Show  

Answer:  Halley’s Comet—most famous comet...
              Comet Hale-Bopp—brightest comet which was seen for the longest period of time...

For Teachers

They are certainly not the same comet as one might have anticipated. The most famous comet to grace our skies is still Halley, for which records of observations can be traced back to an appearance in 239 BC. Halley’s Comet varies from being spectacular, as it was in 1066 AD, and will be again during its return in 2138, to downright disappointing as it was for its last appearance in 1986. On the other hand, Comet Hale-Bopp of 1997 was visible to the unaided eye from the Lehigh Valley from early February through late May 1997. At its brightest during the first two weeks of April, H-B was distinctly visible in the evening sky about 20 minutes after sundown. During March and early April, only the planets Jupiter and Mars outshone the comet. Comet Hale-Bopp was not the brightest comet ever witnessed, nor did it possess anything close to the longest tail ever seen for a comet. Its combination of brightness and the length of time that the comet was so easily visible has put Hale-Bopp in the record books as a unique event, not soon to be repeated.

Comet Halley
This is a picture of the nucleus of Halley's Comet, the most famous comet of them all. Unfortunately, when it comes around every 76 years, it doen't always put on a good show.


Comet Hale-Bopp
A 300 mm ED Nikkor lens at F/4.5 was used to capture Comet Hale-Bopp on the last night (April 9, 1997) in which the comet would not be affected by moonlight. Adam Jones covered the lens when the bitterly cold wind kicked up, making this 7 minute exposure more like 11 minutes to take.   Photo by Gary A. Becker and Adam Jones...


Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp
Thomas Bopp, left, and Alan Hale stand near a telescope at the California Institute of Technology during a group viewing of Comet Hale-Bopp in Pasadena, California, Friday, April 11, 1997. Hale and Bopp co-discovered the comet almost simultaneously on July 23, 1995 (AP Photo/E.J. Flynn). The two insert photo on the left were taken by Channel 2 News when Alan Hale visited the Allentown School District Planetarium on December 19, 1997. Oh my gosh, Alan Hale is wearing the same shirt that he wore at CalTech.


Gary A. Becker and Alan Hale
"It's my comet!" "No, it's mine!" Gary A. Becker and Alan Hale share in some good fun during Hale's Lehigh Valley visit in 1997. Becker spent five days with Hale successfully helping to raise money for the ASD Planetarium and Hale's Southwest Institute for Space Research.   Adam R. Jones photo...


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