The Great Comet of 1532.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Watercolour sketch labelled as the comet of 1532, originally bound in a sixteenth century commonplace book. The comet is depicted as having a straight tail and is shown as lying in front of the clouds in the Sky. This particularly bright comet was seen for 119 days after its discovery at the end of 1532. The astronomer Edmond Halley (1652-1742), famous for the comet named after him, suggested later that this particular comet may be related to the bright one seen in 1661. Studying its movements acros the sky, Halley concluded that both comets were one of the same, as they followed identical orbits around the Sun.