Comets are a wondrous sight for amateur astronomers. As one approaches it often reveals a tail, slowly unfurling a long ghostly banner of light. Often marked by a distinct greenish-blue haze, they are not to be missed. Hale-Bopp was a splendid sight during 1996, when multiple jets spewed dust and gas from its nucleus. The clarity of features was outstanding even by historic standards. Charles Messier, of the Messier Catalog, actually created his list to help him in his hunt for the ghostly apparitions. Messier objects were things that might trip up a seasoned comet hunter and make him lose precious time in his nightly quest for the elusive cosmic snowballs.

Check here for guides and fun tips that you can use to observe comets. While Hale-Bopp won’t return for another 2,500 years, there will certainly be another Comet ISON in the not-so-distant future. You can also check our news section for updates on the latest comets.