Hale - Bopp comet - long comet, which has become perhaps the «observed» comet XX century, and one of the most striking over the past few decades. It was visible to the naked eye record time - 18 months, and it is twice the previous record set by Great comet in 1811.
The comet was opened on 23 July 1995 at a very great distance from the Sun (about a 7.2. F.), allowing you to assume that it will be quite bright and when podlete Earth. Although the brightness of comets is very difficult to predict with any degree of precision, the comet lived and exceeded expectations, after perihelion on 1 April 1997. Sometimes it is called «The Great comet of 1997».
The appearance of comet Hale - Bopp also caused confusion among people, which has not been observed long time. A widely publicized were rumors that the comet flying ship newcomers. These rumors were triggered by a massive suicide among followers of new religious movements «Gates of Paradise».