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The comet which is now so much exciting colonial astronomers was seen liere very distinctly on Thursday for a short time after dark. If this interesting wanderer should have any great distance to travel before its tail bo driver} fron) us, by tha repulsive power of the sipj’s heat, 'as it rounds the sun prior to its return into distant space, wo may expect that t-hg tail will become yet very much brighter, as the tail of a cometgeneraily becomes brighteras itapproachcstho sun. But wo fear that unless we got, very soon, a bright clear horizon shortly after sunset, we shall not be favored with a sight of the head of this interesting visitor. A telegram from Nelson says it is supposed to bo tho same comet that was seen for the first time in New Zealand in the year 1843. Last night we were again unfortunate, tha southern sky being obscured by a bank of black clouds, and the comet did not show itself. We quote below a passage from the Religions Tract Society’s interesting work “ Tho Midnight Sky,” by Edwin Dimken, F.R.A.S. “ Those who witnessed the great comet of 1843 generally agree that it was the finest seen in the present century. Its full brilliancy was not visible in northern latitudes, wh we its luminous train first attracted attention while the nucleus was below the horizon. The tail was at that time, March 17th, about forty degrees in length, stretching from the horizon over tho south-western sky as far as tho constellation Lopus. Groat excitement was caused by the sudden apparition of this long train of nebulous light, which at first was taken by some observers as belonging to tb.e ftodiacal light, which is generally most visible in the west soon after sunset at this time of the year. Throughout the southern hemisphere this comet presented a splendid appearance in tho first days of March. Although the nucleus was not of great magnitude, yet it was extremely bright, and distinctly colored ; according to some observers, of a golden hue, similar to that of Venus ; and according to others, it was tinged with red. The disk had a well-defined planetary appearance, and was estimated to bo about 4509 miles in diameter, or rather more than half the size of the earth. Sir Thomas Maclear, Government Astronomer at the Cape of Good Hope, observes that “of the casual observatory phenomena, the grand comet of March takes precedence ; and few of its kind have been so splendid and imposing. ”

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 58, 7 February 1880

Word Count

THE COMET. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 58, 7 February 1880