Comet Hyakutake over Rabbit Island
(wide-field photo)

March 27, 1996

Comet Hyakutake passed much closer to the Earth than Comet Hale-Bopp. Comet Hale-Bopp is a much larger comet, however. Compare this wide-angle photograph of Comet Hyakutake with the photo of Comet Hale-Bopp taken from a nearby location. Comet Hyakutake's tail was much longer than the tail of Comet Hale-Bopp (it extends, very faintly, off the top of this photograph). Comet Hale-Bopp has a much brighter coma (it is presently about 10 times brighter than Comet Hyakutake), and is much easier to see than Comet Hyakutake was - it can even be seen from locations with many city lights.

This photograph shows a little more than could be seen by the naked eye. It was taken in moonlight when the comet passed close to Polaris, the pole star. It shows a field of view of approximately 75 degrees. The island is named Manana; it is commonly referred to as Rabbit island.

Photograph by UH astronomer Richard J. Wainscoat

Technical information: Camera: Mamiya 645 Pro Lens: 45mm f/2.8 (@f/2.8) Film: Fuji Provia 400, pushed 1 stop Exposure: 2 minutes © 1996 Richard Wainscoat, All Rights Reserved. You may make a copy of this photo for personal or classroom use. Please contact Richard Wainscoat ( if you want to use this photo for other purposes.
If you want to observe Hale-Bopp yourself (you should, it is beautiful), maps and ephemerides are available on this site.
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