Famous comets

With their dramatic, glowing tails and cyclical appearances, comets fire the imagination, fuel scientific exploration and draw eyes to the skies.

Text by Greg Thilmont | Photo editing by Connie Ricca

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Jun 17, 2014 11:27AM

On July 12,1937 approximately 9 or 9:30 PM I was standing in our back yard in Pontiac, Michigan,  watching the stars and saw this humungous fire ball with a streaming tail as bright as lightning passing so close to earth it felt as if I reached up I could almost touch it. I could hear it sizzle like bacon frying, it was so close and big, the ball was the brightest orange red I had ever seen, it was coming from the South West arching towards the North Eastern part of the sky. I never heard a word about this, in all these years.  I looked it up it the library in Lacey, Washington and saw an article in reference to it, I can't remember the title of the book.

Even though I was only 12 years old. I can still picture the sight and sound as if it happened last evening.

If anyone has any info regarding this event, I would really appreciate any information, I'd love to put my mind to rest, before I get any older. thank you for any info you may have.


Sep 4, 2013 4:27PM
I also find it amazing that through history back to the earliest days of astronomy, that people were seeing several comets a year.  Now we're lucky to see one in our life time.
Sep 4, 2013 4:24PM
Luckily Hale-Bopp appeared in the eastern sky and so when I took a picture of it, the rotation of the Earth let me get a good tracking shot of the comet.  However, when Hyakutaki came by the following year, I had trouble, because that comet appeared in the Northern sky and the Earth's rotation caused my camera to track sideways giving me the look of a squashed comet like Shoemaker-Levy that smashed into Jupiter.  Haley was a big disappointment as I really wanted to see it, but it was too dang far away.  My grandmother was here for it in 1910 and in 1986 too.  In 1910, there was another comet that year besides Haley and one of them was so bright that it was visible during the day time.
Aug 20, 2013 4:55PM
When I got an Astroscan telescope, it came with a copy of "The Comet Is Coming (The Feverish Legacy of Mr. Halley)" by Nigel Calder. He made note that sky events like comets and eclipses may be "bad omens" for some people but good for others. For instance, a bright "hairy star" (comet) may spell doom for the Chinese Emperor but that could be a green light for an Army General to commence his scheme to overthrow the Imperial power.
Aug 6, 2013 2:14PM
Photo #6 is not of Halley's Comet, but rather it is Comet Hale-Bopp.  Compare it with Photo #8.
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