Have you ever had the privilege of witnessing a comet? These brilliant astronomical objects have been the source of many superstitions and tales. But comets are not the source of enchantments or anything of the sort.
Rather comets are considered to be the left overs from the formation of stars and planets billions of years ago. They are made of different types of ice, such as water, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and methane, mixed with dust with an icy center—known as a nucleus—surrounded by a large cloud of gas and dust often called the coma. This is the formula for all of the most impressive comets.


A comet’s path and motion is dictated by gravity from the planets and stars they pass. Therefore when a comet is in our solar system, most of the gravity affecting its motion is due to the sun and as it gets closer to the sun the faster it moves (because the closer an object is to the sun the stronger the sun’s gravity is on it). As well as moving faster, a comet’s tail grows because more of its ice evaporates. As of early 2016, there are more than 5,260 known comets, a number that is steadily increasing. However, only a few have made a huge impact on our skies. Are you ready to learn about these fascinating comets? Then check out these 10 Most Impressive Comets Ever Seen.
10. Great Comet of 1680
This magnificent comet was discovered by German astronomer Gottfried Kirch on November 14, 1680, and became one of the brightest of the seventeenth century. It was reputedly visible even in daytime and was noted for its spectacularly long tail.
9. De Kock–Paraskevopoulos (1941)
This weirdly beautiful comet is best remembered for its long but faint tail and was visible at both dawn and dusk. It was independently discovered by an amateur astronomer named De Kock and decorated Greek astronomer John S. Paraskevopoulos, who also discovered a crater on the moon and named it after himself.
8. Mellish (1917)
Mellish was an impressive periodic comet mainly seen in the southern hemisphere. Many astronomers believe that Mellish could possibly return in 2061, the same year as Halley.
7. Daniel (1907)
Photographed more than any comet that came before it, Comet Daniel was one of the most widely seen comets of the early twentieth century.


6. Bennett (1970)
Discovered by John Caister Bennett on December 28, 1969, while still almost two astronomical units from the sun, Comet Bennett, formally known as C/1969 Y1, was one of two brilliant comets to grace the 1970s, along with Comet West.
5. Arend–Roland (1956)
Visible only from the southern hemisphere during the first half of April, Arend–Roland was discovered on November 8, 1956, by Belgian astronomers Sylvain Arend and Georges Roland on photographic plates. As the eighth comet found in 1956, it was named Arend–Roland 1956 after its discoverers.
4. McNaught (2007)
Comet McNaught, also known as the Great Comet of 2007, is a non-periodic comet discovered on August 7, 2006, by British-Australian astronomer Robert H. McNaught using the Uppsala Southern Schmidt Telescope. It was the brightest comet in over forty years and was easily visible to the naked eye for observers in the southern hemisphere in January and February 2007.
3. Great Southern Comet (1947)
In December 1947 there suddenly appeared, close to the setting sun, a truly great comet, the brightest to be observed since Halley’s Comet made its latest spectacular return in 1910. So many people saw the new comet at the same time that no one observer could be credited with its discovery.
2. Great Comet of 1744
The Great Comet of 1744, also known as Comet de Chéseaux, was a particularly impressive comet that was observed during 1743 and 1744. It became visible to the naked eye for several months in 1744 and displayed dramatic and unusual effects in the sky. Its intrinsic brightness was the sixth highest in recorded history.


1. Kohoutek (1973)
Heavily billed as potentially “the Comet of the Century,” it indeed became a spectacular object right after perihelion but only as seen from Skylab III. Comet Kohoutek was first sighted on March 7, 1973, by Czech astronomer Luboš Kohoutek. It attained perihelion on December 28. It is considered a long-period comet and its previous appearance was about 150,000 years ago. Keep in mind that its return is estimated to be in about 75,000 years.

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