Great Comet of 1823

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C/1823 Y1
Coma and twin tails of the Great Comet of 1823
Coma and twin tails of the Great Comet of 1823.
Discovery
Discovered by Nell de Bréauté
Discovery date December 29, 1823
Alternative
designations
1823; Great Comet of 1823, Comet De Bréauté-Pons
Orbital characteristics A
Epoch 1824 Feb 15.0(UT)[1]
Perihelion 0.226742 AU
Eccentricity 1.0
Inclination 103.8194 °
Last perihelion 1823 Dec 09.93400000

The Great Comet of 1823, also designated C/1823 Y1 or Comet De Bréauté-Pons, was a bright comet visible during the last month of 1823 and the first few months of 1824.

It was independently discovered by Nell de Bréauté at Dieppe on December 29, by Jean-Louis Pons on the morning of December 30, and by Wilhelm von Biela at Prague on the same morning.[2] It was already visible to the naked eye when discovered: Pons initially thought he was seeing smoke from a chimney rising over a hill, but continued observing when he noticed it did not change appearance. He was later to note that the comet was, puzzlingly, more easily visible to the naked eye than through a telescope.[3]

The comet was particularly known at the time for exhibiting two tails, one pointing away from the Sun and the other (termed an "anomalous tail" by Harding and Olbers)[4] pointing towards it.

Pons was also the last astronomer to detect the comet, on April 1 1824.

References[edit]

  1. ^ JPL Small-Body Database Browser
  2. ^ Kronk, G. Cometography: volume 2, CUP, 2003, pp.62-3. Some sources give December 24 as its discovery date, but this may be an error.
  3. ^ Kronk, p.64
  4. ^ Sekanina, Hanner, Jessberger & Fomenkova, "Cometary Dust", in Grün (ed.) Interplanetary Dust, Springer, 2001, p.112