Fletcher Photos - Comet Hyakutake - wide field view
"Comet Hyakutake - Schmidt Camera, wide field view"

12 minute exposure on Kodak Royal 100 film - 5.5" f/2 Schmidt camera
photo by Bill and Sally Fletcher

- This is the spectacular Comet Hyakutake as it approached the Sun in April of 1996. This photo was taken with a Schmidt Camera with an 8.2 degree field.

The solid portion or nucleus of a comet is made up of ice, frozen gases, dust and small rock. And it is relatively small - less than 15 miles in diameter. As its orbit takes it closer to the sun, this frozen mass begins to melt and a coma, which is a gaseous cloud, develops around the nucleus. This coma can grow to be tens of thousands of miles in diameter. Finally a tail also develops which can become millions of miles long.

This color photo reveals the blue-green glow around the coma, the many long blue streamers of the ion tail, and the pale yellow-red shroud of a dust tail -

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