The comet became visible to the naked eye in May 1996. Despite the fact that the increase in brightness slightly slowed in the second half of the year, scientists optimistically predicted that the comet is very bright. Because of its proximity to the Sun in December 1996 observations were difficult, but in January, she again became readily visible and was so bright that it can be seen even in the light of lights of big cities.
Approach to the Sun, Hale - Bopp comet become brighter: in February it had reached the 2nd value, and could already discern its tails - bluish ion directed in the opposite direction from the Sun side, and shades of dusty yellow, bent on the comet's orbit. Solar eclipse in Eastern Siberia and Mongolia, March 9, allowing to see the comet during the day. on 23 March 1997 Hale - Bopp comet approached the Earth at a minimum distance - and 1,315. f. (196.7 million kilometers).
When the perihelion of 1 April 1997 a comet was a stunner. Since the average value -0.7 it lighted brighter than any star (except for Sirius), and its two tail stretched across the sky at 15-20 degrees (but invisible to mere observer of their parts - in the 30-40 °) . The comet could be observed immediately after the onset of twilight, and while a lot of «large» comets passing perihelion, located not far from the Sun, the Hale - Bopp comet can be seen in the northern hemisphere throughout the night.
The development of the Internet at that time led to the many sites that track the flight details of the comet, and even published a daily photo. Thus, the Internet has played a big role in handling the unprecedented public interest in the Hale - Bopp comet .
Hale - Bopp comet could be even more impressive. Come on, it is the same distance to the Earth, as did comet Hyakutake in 1996 (0.1 and. F.) it would be exceeded by the brightness of Venus, reaching 5th magnitude.