Preface. nThe Nucleus of Comet Hale Bopp (C/1995 O1): Size and Activity; Y.R. Fernández. nModeling the Comet Nucleus Interior. Application to Comet C/1995 O1 Hale Bopp; D. Prialnik. nLessons of Comet Hale Bopp for Coma Chemistry: Observations and Theory; D. Bockelée-Morvan, J. Crovisier. nHale Bopp: What Makes a Big Comet Different? Coma Dynamics: Observations and Theory; M. Combi. nComet Splitting Observations and Model Scenarios; H. Böhnhardt.nObservational Constraints on Surface Characteristics of Comet Nuclei; H. Campins, Y.R. Fernández. nRotational Properties of Cometary Nuvlei; L. Jorda, P. Gutiérrez. Sublimation Mechanisms of Comet Nuclei; M.T. Capria. nComposition of Comets: Observations and Models; W.F. Huebner. nNew Experimental and Theoretical Techniques for Studying Photochemical Reactions of Cometary Atmospheres; W.M. Jackson, Dadong Xu, Jianhua Huang, R.J. Price, D.H. Volman. nPhysico-Chemistry of Comets: Models and Laboratory Experiments; P. Ehrenfreund, S.D. Rogers, S.B. Charnley. nComet Grains: Their IR Emission and their Relation to ISM Grains; D.H. Wooden. nThe Comet Nucleus Tour (Contour). A NASA Discovery Mission; A. Cochran, J. Veverka, J. Bell, M. Belton, J. Benkhoff, A. Cheng, B. Clark, P. Feldman, J. Kissel, P. Mahaffy, M. Malin, S. Murchie, H. Neimann, T. Owen, M. Robinson, G. Schwehm, S. Sqyres, P. Thomas, F. Whipple, D. Yeomans. nThe Deep Space 1 Encounter with Comet 19P/Borrelly; D.C. Boice, L.S. Soderblom, D.T. Britt, R.H. Brown, B.R. Sandel, R.V. Yelle, B.J. Buratti, M.D. Hicks, R.M. Nelson, M.D. Rayman, J. Oberst, N. Thomas. nLong-Period Comets and the Oort Cloud; J.A. Fernández.
Comet Hale-Bopp defines a milestone event for cometary science: it is the first "really big" comet observed with modern equipment on the ground and from space and due to that; it is considered the new reference object in cometary sciences.
At the beginning of a new era in spacecraft exploration of comets and five years after Hale-Bopp's perihelion passage these proceedings of invited and contributed papers for IAU Colloquium 186 "Cometary Science after Hale-Bopp" review the state-of-the-art knowledge on comets, the icy, dusty and most primordial left-overs of the formation disk of our own solar system.
This is the first volume with invited review papers. A second volume with contributed papers is published in ISBN 1-4020-0978-X.