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Treebeard's Stumper Answer
14 Mar 97

It's a busy time for us at school and the Earth. The equinox is a week away, an eclipse is coming, and Comet Hale-Bopp is finally getting in position to put on a show! The comet is now visible in the evening sky. Look for a hazy star with a dim tail low in the northwest just as the last glow of twilight fades. It will get higher and brighter each night for several weeks. On March 23, there will be a partial eclipse of the moon at about 8:30, right in prime comet-watching time! I'll have more info next week. This is a challenge, not a stumper. Find Hale-Bopp tonight and track its approach!

Over half the kids at school have seen Comet Hale-Bopp by now. Look for a bright fuzzy star in the northwest at about 7:00 PM. The view in the northeast at about 4:30 AM is even better! City lights and haze obscure the view, so get to a dark place away from town to really see it. There will be a deep (91%) partial eclipse of the moon on Sunday night peaking at 8:40 PM. The orange planet Mars will be above the moon, separated by little more than the width of your fist at arm's length. What a fine night for a comet party!

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Marc Kummel / mkummel@rain.org