A STORY - Introduction
During the spring and summer of
1997, many people in the world were lucky enough to see Comet Hale-Bopp.
This beautiful comet, with its two streaming tails, was visible in the
night sky for many months as it sped around the Sun. It was the
brightest comet to be seen in many years. During its closest approach
to Earth, it was even visible during twilight.
People have observed comets in the
night skies for a long time. Chinese astronomers wrote of "broom
stars", or comets, almost 3000 years ago. Written and oral
records from Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Europe all
speak of cometary visits throughout the ages. For many peoples, comets
were omens of disaster. They were blamed for wars, earthquakes,
plagues, even the deaths of leaders. Early European astronomers
thought that comets were a type of cloud in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Hale-Bopp comet in 1998 taken by Ian