Back to top

The Great Comet of 1861 first discovered in the skies over Australia

Astronomy, iconic image
05/13/1861
John Tebbutt, an Australian sheep farmer and amateur astronomer in Windsor, New South Wales, discovered "the Great Comet of 1861" approaching Earth.  One of only eleven comets designated "Great" during the nineteenth century, it was disinctive for its angle of approach which had the Earth actually passing through a portion of its tail.  The comet became visible to the naked eye in the northern hemisphere on June 30, 1861 and remained so until mid-August, passing within 13 million miles.  (By John Osborne)
Source Citation: 
David A. Seargent, The Greatest Comets in History: Brown Stars and Celestial Scimitars (New York: Springer Science, 2009), 137-140.

Tabs

How to Cite This Page: "The Great Comet of 1861 first discovered in the skies over Australia," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/36999.