Halley’s Comet is arguably one of the most famous comets, being a “periodic” space rock that graces the Earth with its presence every 76 years. This means that it’s possible for a person to see the comet once or, if they’re lucky, twice in their lifetime. The last time Halley was seen was in 1986, meaning it is projected to return in 2061!
Since it’s discovery, a lot has been learned about the mysterious comet, including some superstitions people had about it the first time they saw ominous streaks soaring across the sky. Needless to say, Halley’s Comet has an interesting history tied to it!
Halley Is Named After An English Astronomer
Halley’s comet is named after English astronomer Edmond Halley, a man who is responsible for recording some of the first transits of Mercury across the sun. He then went on to realize that the transit of Venus could be used to determine the size of the solar system.
In 1704, Halley was appointed Savilian professor of geometry at Oxford University. It was there that Halley reviewed reports of comets approaching Earth in 1531, 1607, and 1682. He eventually concluded that the comets were actually the same one returning over and over again, due to similar characteristics. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the return of Halley’s comet.