World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Great Comet of 1680

Article Id: WHEBN0003981194
Reproduction Date:

Title: Great Comet of 1680  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Naming of comets, 1680 in science, Gottfried Kirch, 1681 in science, John Flamsteed
Collection: 1680 in Science, Astronomical Objects Discovered in 1680, Non-Periodic Comets, Sungrazing Comets
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Great Comet of 1680

C/1680 V1
The Great Comet of 1680 over Rotterdam
Discovered by Gottfried Kirch
Discovery date 1680-11-14
Great Comet of 1680, 1680 V1
Orbital characteristics A
Epoch 1680-Nov-29.0
Aphelion 889 AU
Perihelion 0.00622 AU[1][2]
Semi-major axis 444 AU
Eccentricity 0.999986[1][2]
Orbital period ~9,400 yr[3]
Inclination 60.7°
Last perihelion 1680-12-18[1][2]
Next perihelion unknown

C/1680 V1, also called the Great Comet of 1680, Kirch's Comet, and Newton's Comet, has the distinction of being the first comet discovered by telescope.


  • Overview 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The comet was discovered by Gottfried Kirch on 14 November 1680, New Style, and became one of the brightest comets of the 17th century – reputedly visible even in daytime – and was noted for its spectacularly long tail.[4] Passing 0.42 AUs from Earth on 30 November 1680,[5] it sped around an extremely close perihelion of 0.0062 AU (930,000 km; 580,000 mi) on 18 December 1680, reaching its peak brightness on 29 December as it swung outwards.[2][5] It was last observed on 19 March 1681.[1] As of September 2012 the comet was about 253 AU from the Sun.[6]

While the Kirch Comet of 1680–1681 was discovered by—and subsequently named for—Gottfried Kirch, credit must also be given to Eusebio Kino, the Spanish Jesuit priest who charted the comet’s course. During his delayed departure for Mexico, Kino began his observations of the comet in Cádiz in late 1680. Upon his arrival in Mexico City, he published his Exposisión [sic] astronómica de el cometa (Mexico City, 1681) in which he presented his findings. Kino’s Exposisión astronómica is among the earliest scientific treatises published by a European in the New World.[7]

The orbit of the comet of 1680, fit to a parabola, as shown in Isaac Newton's Principia

Although it was undeniably a sungrazing comet, it was probably not part of the Kreutz family.[8] Aside from its brilliance, it is probably most noted for being used by Isaac Newton to test and verify Kepler's laws.[9] This is actually ironic considering John Flamsteed was the first to propose that the two bright comets of 1680/1681 were the same comet, one travelling inbound to the Sun and the other outbound, and Newton originally disputed this. Newton later changed his mind, however, and then, with Edmond Halley's help, purloined some of Flamsteed's data to indeed verify this was the case without giving Flamsteed credit.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "JPL Small-Body Database Browser: C/1680 V1" (1681-03-19 last obs (Encke : 125 day data arc)). Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 2011-07-26. 
  2. ^ a b c d "JPL DASTCOM Comet Orbital Elements". Retrieved 2010-02-10. Num Name ... q ... Tp ... C/1680 V1 (1680 V1) ... 0.00622200 ... 16801218.48760 
  3. ^   (Solution using the Solar System Barycenter and barycentric coordinates. Select Ephemeris Type:Elements and Center:@0)
  4. ^ James W. Werner. "The Great Comet of 1680". Retrieved 2006-02-05. 
  5. ^ a b Donald Yeomans. "Great Comets in History". Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology (Solar System Dynamics). Retrieved 2007-08-01. 
  6. ^ NASA JPL HORIZONS ephemeris more accurate position, no plot.
  7. ^ H. E. BOLTON. Kino’s Historical Memoir of the Pimería Alta. Cleveland, OH (USA): Arthur H. Clark, 1919. Reprint 1949.
  8. ^ Tony Hoffman. "A SOHO and Sungrazing Comet FAQ". Retrieved 2006-02-06. 
  9. ^ a b Jardine, Lisa (15 March 2013). "A Point of View: Crowd-sourcing comets". Magazine. BBC News. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 

External links

  • The Great Comet of 1680 Over Rotterdam (APOD October 28, 2013)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.