NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Comet West as photographed from the Lick Observatory in 1976 March. Comet West, officially known as C/1975 V1, 1976 VI, and 1975n, was an awesome comet that was sometimes considered to qualify for the status of great comet. A Great Comet is a comet that becomes exceptionally bright; there is no official definition, often the term will be attached to comets that become bright enough to be noticed by casual observers who are not actively looking for them, and become well known outside the astronomical community. Great Comets are rare; on average only one will appear in a decade. While comets are officially named after their discoverers, Great Comets are sometimes also referred to by the year in which they appeared great. A comet is a celestial object that.
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