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Saturday, July 2, 2011

Tuesday, July 2nd, 1861

To day William Leaverton came down, and we went in Company together, to Hall's bluff [on the banks of the Trinity River]. after transacting some business we returned in the evening. There was a large Comit visible at night situated in the N.W. weather changeable & warm.


benotforgot said...

The Red Avenger of the North the Comet Seen July 2, 1861.
Published: July 4, 1861

To the Editor of the New-York Times:

If you will allow me, I should like to occupy a small space in your columns to notice the sudden advent, in our midst almost, of a very brilliant and grandly beautiful comet, which can now be seen in the northern sky.

Its position, when first seen last evening about 8 1/2 o'clock, was about ten degrees to the east of the constellation of the Great Bear or Dipper, and between that constellation and the North Star. The nucleus was about ten degrees below the lowest star of the constellation, on a line with the stairs forming the handle of the Dipper, and about thirty degrees above the horizon. The tail, or bush, streamed out grandly in a perpendicular direction towards, and past the zenith thirty degrees, being over ninety degrees in its whole length as perceptible to the eye. The nucleus was extremely brilliant, and much superior in that respect to the comets of 1845 and 1858. Its brilliancy was much greater than any of the visible stars, and larger than the apparent size of Venus in the most favorable time. It appeared as that planet would if a thin mist were before it. The tail, for about ten degrees above the nucleus, was very brilliant, or rather luminous, gradually fading away towards the zenith. The atmosphere at the time was in a singularly luminous condition.

Looking at it with a small glass, I thought that a group of stars could be seen through the tail within ten degrees of the nucleus, but am not confident, about fifteen degrees from the nucleus, stars could be seen plainly through it, and also along the margin much closer. The whole bash had a slight curvature towards the constellation. About 10 and 11 o'clock it became very brilliant, and had moved toward the horizon several degrees.

I have made a slight and imperfect sketch of it, so as to give a clearer idea of its position than would be possible by words, though no artist can or ever has pictured a comet fitly.

Not having seen any prediction published of this comet, I was much surprised, as no doubt thousands of others were. Can't some of our astronomers enlighten us? Let our Southern friends beware of this our new ally, for it is coming at 'em. J.M.

benotforgot said...

FYI . . . the image of the 1861 comet is from wikipedia.

benotforgot said...

Julia Stanford, a young Baptist woman in Forysth, Georgia, in the midst of reflecting on the war today, mentions the comet in her diary . . . “Heard that Privateers captured a U.S. shop worth $400,000 and have moved it to Richmond. We perhaps look for peace. Still tis not as we will but as God wills – He wills right. Saw the comet tonight. The nucleus is the largest I ever saw. Situated in the dipper I think.” . . . quoted from HERE . . .