Science: Flop of the Century?

In the shivering cold atop Manhattan's Empire State Building last week, a hardy band of amateur astronomers were asked by a television interviewer what they thought of Kohoutek's comet. "Flop of the century!" they agreed unanimously. At a comet party near Chicago, Astronomer J. Allen Hynek explained away the weak drink that he was serving his 800 guests. "A fake punch for a fake comet," he said.

The celestial object that had been widely billed as "the comet of the century" had indeed turned out to be a disappointing dud. Looking with unaided eye into the southwest sky after sunset, most observers...

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