After a perihelion comet moved into the southern celestial hemisphere, and its brightness began to weaken. Kometa looked much less impressive for southern observers, but they were able to see how its brightness gradually decreases during the second half of 1997. Last known observing the comet naked eye relate to December 1997, therefore, it is visible for about 18 and a half months. This period beat the previous record of 9 months, to improving the comet in 1811.
Now comet Hale - Bopp is removed, and its brightness continues to decrease. In August 2004, it flew beyond the orbit of Uranus, but as of mid 2008, she was at a distance of about 26.8 and. f. from the Sun. Nevertheless, it is still being tracked by astronomers. The reason for this is an unusually long activity of the comet. Recent observations (October 2007) showed that the comet is still there coma brightness of about 20m. It is assumed that the reason for the unusually long activity is the slow cooling down a giant comet nucleus.
Expected that the comet will be available for observations using large telescopes to about 2020, while its brightness does not drop to 30m. The comet will return to Earth in about 4390. It is anticipated that one of these returns comet Hale - Bopp is 15% and chance to become okolosolnechnoy, and a forebear of new families, such as the family of comets Kreytsa.