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Comet Hale-Bopp

January Summary

You can examine the 3 wide-field shots and see what is "happening" -- the view of H-B from Earth is increasingly "getting away" from the H-B orbital plane. Initially, on 1/11 we are nearly edge on, which explains the nearly diametrically opposite anti-tail. 6 days later on 1/17, the viewing geometry allows us to perceive the dust tail's "curved" path. Also note the more "angled" anti-tail. Only 2 days later on 1/19, you see the anti-tail is essentially no more, due to the viewing geometry. Note that the dust tail appears as a wide fan, and is VERY widely separated from the ion tail. The next shots of H-B in February (no moon interference, to capture faint outer dust tail) should prove very interesting!

For reference regarding anti-tail, there is an excellent explanation at Tom Polakis' Anti-Tail page

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