What was the flyby of Comet Hale-Bopp like?
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Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered by two astronomers on the same night, which explains the hyphenated name. On July 22, 1995, Alan Hale (1958–) saw the comet from his home in southern New Mexico, and Thomas Bopp (1949–) saw it from Arizona. Comet Hale-Bopp first became visible to the unaided eye in August 1996. It appeared at its brightest for nearly two full months in March and April 1997. Like the spectacular Comet Hyakutake, which had flown by Earth the year before, it also had both a bluish ion tail and a yellowish-white dust tail that curved away from the other tail.