Hyakutake This was (and still is) the biggest astronomical object I have ever seen! At closest approach and after dark it seemed to stretch half way across the night sky. I recall people arriving at the dark site, turning out their headlights and getting out of their cars saying "I can hardly wait 'till my eyes get dark adapted". Then about 30 seconds later, as they first look up, exclaiming "WHOA!! Oh My God!!" More "whoops and hollers" were heard ringing out as eyes actually did dark adapt over the next 15 to 30 minutes.
Comet Hyakutake was not as large as Hale Bopp but it was a lot closer to Earth when it made its closest approach to the sun. Hale Bopp was at its best when it was on the other side of the Earth's orbit around the sun while Hyakutake was only 10 million miles from our best view. On the other hand, Hale Bopp's nucleus was about a hundreds miles in diameter while Hyakutake's center fragment was a mere ten miles across.
Both are considered "Great Comets" by all who saw them!
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