Great Comet of 1882

Great Comet of 1882

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This image is part of the feature The First Scientific Photographers

Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Great Comet of 1882, as photographed by the Scottish astronomer David Gill (1843-1914). This photograph was taken on 13 November 1881, from the Cape Observatory, South Africa, where Gill was Her Majesty's Astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope. This comet was one of the biggest and brightest of the 19th century, and one of the first to be photographed. It has since been identified as a Kreutz sungrazer, a group of comets of common origin that pass very close to the Sun. This comet will return in several hundred years time.

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