Comet Hale-Bopp Is Coming! Part I: The Revelation
by Mark Lerner
[Editor's Note: This is Part I of a Four-Part series. Part II (The Approach) will appear in the Aquarius-Pisces 97 issue. Part III (The Arrival) will be published in the Aries-Taurus 97 edition. Part IV (The Long Goodbye) is scheduled for the Gemini-Cancer 97, 16th Anniversary magazine. Over the years in WTPE, we have covered the return of Halley's Comet (1986) and the surprising appearance of Comet Hyakutake (1996).]
If you haven't heard about Comet Hale-Bopp--co-discovered by amateur astronomers Alan Hale (in New Mexico) and Thomas Bopp (in Arizona) on July 22-23, 1995, virtually at the same time!--you have been living on a different planet. [The chart below is a very reasonable estimate for the moment Alan Hale first saw the comet in the region of Constellational Sagittarius (near 9+ Capricorn in the tropical zodiac). Thomas Bopp also located the comet at the same, approximate time, but in Arizona rather than New Mexico.]
We first published information on Comet Hale-Bopp one year ago (page 3, Sagittarius/Capricorn 95 issue). Now we'd like to orient you to what's at hand.
Resource Guides Web surfers have excellent options to keep in touch with new articles, photos and updates on Comet Hale-Bopp as the times of closest approach to Earth (March 22-23, 1997) and Sun (April 1, 1997) near. One of the best comet sites is http://encke.jpl.nasa.gov/ Then there is the Hale-Bopp site itself at http://www.halebopp.com/ And, of course, for those with a more metaphysical, non-scientific outlook, there is Art Bell's award-winning Web Site located at http://www.artbell.com/
Alan Hale has written an excellent paperback book (with a Foreword by Thomas Bopp): Everybody's Comet: A Layman's Guide to Comet Hale-Bopp ($12.95; High-Lonesome Books, PO Box 878, Silver City, NM 88062; Tel. (505) 388-3763). Alan Hale presents a short history on famous comets, goes on to discuss the discovery of Hale-Bopp, and offers clear insight on best viewing times and what will happen to the Comet after Perihelion (when it becomes more visible in the Southern Hemisphere--May 1997). He also includes a very instructive Appendix on a "Comet Hale-Bopp Time-Line" 1993-2003. [By the way, no one had ever discovered a comet so far away from the Earth before when Hale and Bopp co-discovered this one. It was located between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. Isn't it strange that these amateur astronomers found the comet the same night just a few hundred miles away from one another? These two guys even look alike! (See photo, page 56, of Hale's book.) According to the calculations in Hale's book, at its closest approach to the Earth, Comet Hale-Bopp will be nearly 122 million miles away from us; however, the comet will still appear quite bright (perhaps as bright as the first magnitude star Vega in Lyra or even rivaling Sirius, the brightest star in the sky!) because it has a rather large nucleus.
Also--check out magazines like Sky & Telescope and Astronomy for updated articles on the comets. [The January 1997 edition of Astronomy, page 82, has a comprehensive feature with a sky chart to track the comet.]
How, When and Where to Look for Hale-Bopp For people living in the mid-regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Hale-Bopp will hopefully (!) start living up to its billing as one of the brightest comets of the century in February, March and the first part of April. During this time the tail will grow from perhaps 10 deg. in length to 20 deg. (because it is approaching the Sun). A good set of binoculars is recommended over a telescope for the casual observer. Definitely try to leave the city for the countryside! The Comet will be able to be seen low in the sky in the Northeast before dawn AND low in the sky in the Northwest after sunset (by viewers beyond 45 deg. North of the Equator). In general, for most people living in the continental USA, the best bet is to watch Hale-Bopp increase in brilliance in the pre-dawn sky (in a Northeast direction) in February and then switch to early evening watches after sunset (in a Northwest direction) during the last 10 days of March and the first week or so of April.
The best viewing time of all--when the Comet should be at its peak of brightness--will be during the time between its closest approach to Earth (March 22-23) and its closest approach to the Sun (April 1). But it will still be extremely bright for a week or so thereafter. [Note: When closest to the Earth--and for the next 2-3 nights thereafter--look for Hale-Bopp and its glowing "upright" tail, about 3 deg. North of the Andromeda Galaxy, perhaps around 7:20PM-7:45PM local time. Amazingly, when Hale-Bopp comes closest to the Earth, it will be located around 25+ deg. Aries--crossing the Ascendant (horizon) of Hale-Bopp's discovery on July 23, 1995 by Alan Hale! Quite a coincidence and perhaps a "cosmic sign" that this comet--whether incredibly bright or not--will mean something very profound for Humanity and the Earth. Comets have always been known as harbingers of "Earth Changes" and emissaries of the Divine. Millions of people are now looking at Hale-Bopp as an omen of the New Age, the approaching Millennium, Armageddon and/or a Return of the Messiah.]
Ephemeris & Conjunctions The special Ephemeris for Hale-Bopp was created expressly for Welcome to Planet Earth readers by Mark Pottenger. Please use this guide to start calculating Hale-Bopp placements in birthmaps, event charts and research horoscopes as 1997 dawns. In the Aries-Taurus 97 issue of WTPE, we will include another Hale-Bopp Ephemeris, with additional dates in 1997 (for Hale-Bopp's zodiacal longitude, declination, latitude & R.A.).
I (Mark Lerner) have done a little investigating on my own to give you a jump-start. Here are some dates to watch (and correlate with earthly happenings) or utilize in an electional manner (choosing days to do certain things):
January 2-4 Hale-Bopp Conjunct Sun (13 Capricorn)
January 20 Hale-Bopp at 22+ Capricorn (During Clinton's Inauguration)
January 28-29 Hale-Bopp Conjunct Transiting Neptune & the USA Natal Pluto (27+ Capricorn)
February 3-4 Hale-Bopp Conjunct Jupiter (3 Aquarius)
February 6-7 Hale-Bopp Conjunct Uranus (6 Aquarius)
February 7-21 Hale-Bopp & Venus Together in Aquarius!
March 3-4 Hale-Bopp Conjunct Sun (14 Pisces)
March 22-23 Hale-Bopp Closest to Earth (Late Aries--Close to 25-26 Aries)
April 1 Hale-Bopp Perihelion (Close to 11-13 Taurus)
Next Time! Is there a "Hale-Bopp Companion?" The Art Bell Radio Show has been a hot-bed of discussion and controversy about another "space-body" shadowing or trailing Hale-Bopp. Fact? Fiction? We will know a lot more when additional photographs come in during late January. I will also discuss the technicolor double-dream I had--10 days before Hale-Bopp was discovered!--concerning a "Saturn-like" giant planet coming close to the Earth and Humanity going through enormous changes very quickly.
We will also discuss the "Grand Hexagram" (Star of David) celestial pattern that occurred 30-36 hours before the discovery of Hale-Bopp--composed of two grand trines (in Earth and Water signs). Plus--note the Sun placement precisely at the border between Cancer (Feminine-Mother-Water) and Leo (Masculine-Son-Fire). To the ancient Egyptians, Cancer and Leo were the "start" of the zodiac, honoring the Moon (Cancer) and Sun (Leo) rulerships, the Domestic Cat (Cancer) and the Jungle Cat/Lion (Leo).
Happy Viewing and let us know what you think about the discovery chart and the zodiacal placements of Hale-Bopp in the Ephemeris.... Mark Lerner (Written 12-14-96 Hale-Bopp at 5 Capricorn).
Copyright 1996 by Mark Lerner. All rights reserved.
[Mark Lerner is the publisher of Planet Earth Magazine - online and in print. Please contact him via e-mail at Markgobear@aol.com. or at PO Box 12007, Eugene, OR 97440.]
Ephemeris For Comet Hale-Bopp: Dec. 19, 1996-Apr. 8, 1997
[At 5-Day Intervals; Midnight Greenwich, England Time.]
I (Mark Lerner) asked expert computer programmer and astrological researcher Mark Pottenger to calculate the Zodiacal Longitude and Celestial Latitude positions for Comet Hale-Bopp (utilizing the Right Ascension and Declination placements that were offered on the World Wide Web at one on the main Comet sites from the Jet Propulsion Labratory). Mark was able to accomplish this conversion feat very quickly. An additional ephemeris with dates after April 8, 1997 and Hale-Bopp zodiacal longitude placements will appear by our Aries/Taurus 97 magazine-published in late March 1997.
Mark Pottenger can be reached at 838 5th Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90005. The zodiacal longitude and celestial latitude coordinates were converted with a utility extracted from the 1992 CCRS Horoscope Program by Mark Pottenger (available for MS-DOS, Macintosh and Amiga). List price: $225. Contact: Astrolabe (see Astrolabe full-page ad elsewhere in this current edition).
DATE CURRENT R.A. DECLINATION LONGITUDE LATITUDE
12-19-96 18deg 24'31" 2 N 4 6 CAP 47 25 N 28
12-24-96 18deg 31'03" 3 N 1 8 CAP 39 26 N 14
12-29-96 18deg 37'59" 4 N 5 10 CAP 40 27 N 10
01-03-97 18deg 45'21" 5 N 16 12 CAP 50 28 N 12
01-08-97 18deg 53'12" 6 N 35 15 CAP 12 29 N 20
01-13-97 19deg 01'37" 8 N 4 17 CAP 47 30 N 34
01-18-97 19deg 10'39" 9 N 43 20 CAP 38 31 N 54
01-23-97 19deg 20'25" 11 N 34 23 CAP 47 33 N 22
01-28-97 19deg 31'05" 13 N 39 27 CAP 19 34 N 57
02-02-97 19deg 42'52" 15 N 58 01 AQU 20 36 N 39
02-07-97 19deg 56'00" 18 N 33 05 AQU 56 38 N 27
02-12-97 20deg 10'51" 21 N 26 11 AQU 16 40 N 18
02-17-97 20deg 27'53" 24 N 37 17 AQU 31 42 N 09
02-22-97 20deg 47'44" 28 N 5 24 AQU 52 43 N 52
02-27-97 21deg 11'13" 31 N 46 03 PIS 28 45 N 15
03-04-97 21deg 39'20" 35 N 33 13 PIS 23 46 N 03
03-09-97 22deg 13'05" 39 N 13 24 PIS 23 45 N 57
03-14-97 22deg 53'09" 42 N 26 05 ARI 57 44 N 42
03-19-97 23deg 39'09" 44 N 44 17 ARI 20 42 N 11
03-24-97 00deg 28'59" 45 N 48 27 ARI 53 38 N 31
03-29-97 01deg 18'55" 45 N 25 07 TAU 10 34 N 00
04-03-97 02deg 05'10" 43 N 45 15 TAU 06 29 N 01
04-08-97 02deg 45'28" 41 N 08 21 TAU 48 23 N 56
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