Seeing Hale Bopp was one of the most memorable events of my life, and I even managed to capture it on film, but unfortunately I did not own a digital camera back in April '97 and I only had a 300mm lens with me so I could not get decent shots.
On the night the comet passed closest to Earth a bunch of us were out in the Sahara southwest of Tamagroute, courtesy of Michelin who were promoting their then new Scorpion desert tyre to international motoring journalists competing on the '97 Toyota Desert Raid. The sky was cloudless, as is usual at that time of year in the Western Sahara, and the nearest civilisation (village) was at least 40 kilometres away from our camp, so there was no light spill to spoil our view. Even the Michelin guys who were trying to give the formal product presentation gave up and joined us drivers and navigators lying on our backs on a steeply sloping dune just taking in the spectacular sight while drinking warm Moroccan wine and nibbling on charcoal grilled lamb kebabs. A truly wondrous experience.