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Post Info TOPIC: The Great Comet of 1861


L

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RE: The Great Comet of 1861
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Comet C/1861 J1 (Great Comet of 1861) was independently discovered by David Livingston on July 6, who was then traveling down the Shire River near present day Blantyre, Malawi, in Africa. He noted "a large comet in Ursa Major" and estimated the tail length as 23 degrees.
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On June 29, 1861, comet C/1861 J1 passed 11.5 degrees from the Sun. On the following day, June 30, 1861, the comet made its closest approach to the Earth at a distance of 0.1326 AU (19,840,000 km). During the Earth close approach the comet was estimated to be between magnitude 0 and -2 with a tail of over 90 degrees.
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It has been suggested that this comet had been previously sighted in April of 1500 (that comet is now known as C/1500 H1). The comet will return during the 23rd century.
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The discovery of the Great Comet of 1861 by John Tebbutt

On 13 May 1861 a young farmer at Windsor, a little town near Sydney, saw a fuzzy star. On checking his celestial charts he saw that there was no nebula listed for that position. Still, he could not be sure that it was a comet until he saw it move against the background stars. It took until the 21 May till he could detect sufficient movement to be almost certain. He then sent off a letter to the Rev. William Scott, the Government Astronomer at Sydney Observatory, as well as a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald. This letter was published in the paper on 25 May 1861, the young farmer's 27th birthday.
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The Great Comet of 1861 formally designated C/1861 J1 and 1861 II, was a comet that was visible to the naked eye for approximately 3 months. It was categorized as a Great Comet, one of eight in the 19th century.
It was discovered by John Tebbutt of Windsor, New South Wales, Australia, on May 13, 1861, with an apparent magnitude of +4, a month before perihelion (June 11).

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