astroengine writes "In 1997, comet Hale-Bopp became the most spectacular space event of the past few decades. But where's the huge lump of ice now? Astronomers have decided to check in on the interplanetary interloper to see how its journey is going after sweeping through the inner solar system 15 years ago. Now beyond the orbit of Neptune, Hale-Bopp has undergone a dramatic change. As it travels further from the sun, inevitably its surface receives less heat, and now the comet appears to have reached a watershed: it has ceased all cometary activity, in stark contrast to only 3 years ago. The next time it will erupt to life will be in around 2,500 years when it completes its next solar flyby."
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