Thursday, April 24, 2014


Caroline Herschel
Caroline Herschel, linocut by Ele Willoughby (aka minouette), 2014
I'v been working of late on this linocut of astronomer Caroline Herschel (16 March 1750 – 9 January 1848), known for her discovery of at least 8 comets, and in the process, I've come across all these historical images of comets, which I thought I would share.

Comets have long been interpreted as harbingers, of often terrifying events, though sometimes of wonderous things to come. When something new appears and moves through our heavens, it's not surprising that they have been recorded, especially when obvious even to the naked eye.

a depiction of a comet that may have been an aurora borealis, 1527, Germany, anonymous
from Kometenbuch, written in 1587, a book containing descriptions of comets and hand painted illustrations.

[Notable comets of the period 1577-1652]

Types of cometary forms, illustrations from Johannes Hevelius' Cometographia (Danzig, 1668)
'Halley's Comet' & 'Enckee's Comet' from The Phenomena and Order of the Solar System, c. 1843.
Reynolds' Series of Astronomical Diagrams. Comets and Aerolites
Flowers of the sky, by Richard A. Proctor. New York, A.C. Armstrong and son [1879?] p.24
E L Trouvelot - The great comet of 1881. Observed on the night of June 25-26 at 1h. 30m. A.M

French paste comet brooch, c. 1950, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.


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