Comet spotted from Shropshire

1846: Keep your eyes peeled on the sky this March (1846). A comet has been spotted from Shrewsbury by a keen amateur astronomer Mr Blunt (Wednesday 25th of Feb) in Shrewsbury. Turning his telescope to the skies he spotted an unusual brightness which he hadn’t seen before. He was to ill to pay to much attention to it at the time but asked his friend the following morning if he’d seen it too. He had!  So the following night when the sky was perfectly clear they both pointed their telescopes at it and discovered it had moved. They described it as “one of the finest telescopic comets that had been seen for some years. They observed it for the next couple of weeks.

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The ‘small’ telescope Mr Blunt watched it with was a “9 feet Newtonian Reflector” telescope.

Below is an early example of a  7 foot one that it might have looked like.

AST0960
7-foot Newtonian Reflector Telescope at the Greenwich Museum. Built in the late 1700s.

Amazingly there were also four other comets in the sky at the time too; the Double Comet of Beila, De Vico’s third and fourth Comets and Brorsen’s Comet – “certainly a remarkable circumstances.”

In February 2017 another comet passed earth -it was dubbed the Valentine Comet and many papers suggested it might hit earth! It didn’t of course.

wf9-comet
NASA photo of comet WF9 which didn’t hit earth in February 2017. Seen on the 25th Feb.

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