The great comet (1843)

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Here is a report from New Bedford, Massachusetts — via Pennsylvania — about the cosmological wonder known as The Great Comet of 1843 (technically named C/1843 D1 and 1843 I) that they were seeing in the sky.

The comet

As the novel appearance of a comet has been discovered and wondered at a great deal here, we give the following from The New Bedford Mercury, which is the fullest description of it we have seen:

Its brilliancy was almost equal to that of Venus. Its situation is very near the limbs of the sun; its tail appears about 3 degrees in length. It may be the comet announced some three months since in Europe; it was then traversing the constellation Draco. Be it that or another, it is of rare brilliancy.

There are but three on record of sufficient briiliancy to be seen in the day season. The first was seen forty three years before Christ, and is called ‘a hairy star.’ It was seen with the naked eye in the day time. The second was seen in the vear 1402, and was so brilliant that the light of the sun, at the end of March, did not hinder people seeing it at mid-day, both its nucleus and its tail, were to use the language of the day, ‘two fathoms long.’ Third appeared on February 18th, 1744 and nearly equalled Venus in splendor, and many persons saw it at mid-day, without glasses. It may yet prove that the comet of today is the same as that of 1402.

The great comet (1843)

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