HALE-BOPP COMET BEING *FOLLOWED*.... BY ITS OWN TAIL
Hale-Bopp Comet Also Being Followed By Its Own *Tale*
An explanation for the supposed mysterious object following the
approaching Hale-Bopp comet was given on "Sounds Like Science,"
broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR) on Feb. 1, 1997. The
following is my transcription of what was said. Because I don't
have the names of the two persons involved in the discussion of
Hale-Bopp and the "mysterious object," they are designated as "A"
A: Let's talk a little about, looking forward to next
month. And I know this spring is going to be an exciting
time, not only for professional but for amateur
astronomers, because we're getting close to Hale-Bopp comet
B: There is a new comet which is now well on its way
toward the inner solar system: Hale-Bopp. It should be
best seen in the evening sky in late March and early April.
And I'm sure our listeners will be hearing much more about
it as the weeks go on.
A: I've got to share something I've discovered on the
Internet. Now you've got to take this for what it's worth,
since it came off the Internet. But there's an Internet
story -- rumors -- that Hale-Bopp is being trailed by a
B: Oh this is a wonderful story! We actually now know how
it happened. An astronomer was looking at Hale-Bopp
through a telescope and saw what was a perfectly ordinary
star. But because he was using a computer program to
predict what should be out there, he didn't set the setting
for this program right, and the program didn't show that
star. And he got all scared that there was a star his
program wasn't showing. And he sent out this big message
on the Internet: "I've discovered an unknown object!"
Hale-Bopp has actually turned out to be a perfectly
ordinary star. But this guy was so enchanted with his
discovery, he refused to back down and went on national
radio (not NPR, of course, but lesser radio stations) and
announced this unknown object -- creating a huge, paranoid
story which is still resonating on the wire.
A: Next we're going to hear that the star had the face of
Elvis [Presley] on it!
B: [Laughs] That's right! And came from "the face on Mars!"
There's nothing following Hale-Bopp, except its own
So there you have it. Conspiracy Nation is inclined to agree,
that there is no UFO following Hale-Bopp.
Not to say, however, that Hale-Bopp has no significance. A book
named (as I recall) "Planetary Influence on Human Behavior" lends
support to astrological ideas. The book shows statistically
significant correlations between sample "birth charts" and
professional careers. A group of famous actors, sports
champions, and scientists was taken at random, and their birth
charts were studied. A definite link between planetary positions
and subsequent careers was established. So who knows? Hale-Bopp
may influence human behavior and/or political events in some way.