Donati's Comet (C/1858 L1)
One of the brightest and most visible comets
of the 19th century; it was discovered by Giovanni Donati
on June 2, 1858, brightened to magnitude -1 in September 1858, reached perihelion
on September 30, came closest to Earth (0.5 AU) on October 9, and was last
seen on March 4, 1859. Around the time of closest approach the Earth, the
comet developed a prominent dust tail, up to 60° long and curved like
a scimitar, for which it is best remembered.
|Donati's Comet, as seen above Paris, October 1858.
||about 2,000 years