Great comets come along about once every 10 years, on the average. So we were especially lucky to have two spectacular comets (Hyakutake and Hale-Bopp) only a year apart in the 1990's. That was a hard act to follow, so perhaps I can be forgiven for being somewhat disappointed with the comet named LINEAR that appeared in the spring and summer of 2001. Sure, at about 4th magnitude it was briefly visible to the naked eye from a dark-sky site. And it did have a tail, faintly visible in this photo to the right of the comet's head. But LINEAR did not blaze brightly like Hale-Bopp, nor did its tail stretch across the sky like Hyakutake's. The comet's most memorable feature was its beautiful blue-green color as revealed in photographs.
Still, for those of us who truly love comets, even a dim one is better than no comet at all. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the next great comet. I hope we do not have to wait for long.
Date: June 29, 2001
Time: 2:37am MST
Location: Florence Junction, Arizona
Camera: Olympus OM-1 on homemade tracking mount
Film: Kodak Ektachrome P1600 slide
Focal length: 200 mm (cropped)
Exposure time: 4 minutes
Scanned with Nikon Coolscan LS-10E