Drawing of the Great Comet of 1881

Drawing of the Great Comet of 1881

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Credit: DETLEV VAN RAVENSWAAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Drawing of the Great Comet of 1881. Also known as C/1881 K1, 1881 III, and 1881b, this comet was discovered on 22 May 1881 by the Australian astronomer John Tebbutt (1834-1916). This drawing is of a 72-times magnified telescope view of the comet, showing three jets emerging from the core (nucleus) of the comet, creating the tail. The tail of a comet consists of debris and gas emitted by a comet's nucleus as it heats up near the Sun. This drawing is based on observations made at 00:20 on 25 June 1881 at the Leipzig Observatory, Leipzig, Germany, by Austro-Hungarian astronomer Ladislaus Weinek (1848-1913).

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