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Hale–Bopp a periodic comet which passed close to the sun in the spring of 1997 and was one of the brightest of the 20th century. It was exceptionally large and active, has a period of just over 4,000 years, and was the first comet to exhibit a sodium tail. Named after Alan Hale and Thomas Bopp, the American astronomers who discovered it (independently of each other).
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