Halley’s Comet Facts

  • Halley’s comet is named after the British scientist Edmund Halley (1656-1742).
  • Halley predicted that this particular comet would return in 1758, 16 years after his death. It was the first time a comet’s arrival had been predicted.
  • Halley’s comet orbits the Sun every 76 years.
  • Its orbit loops between Mercury and Venus, and stretches out beyond Neptune.
  • Halley’s comet last came in sight in 1986. Its next visit will be in 2062.
  • The Chinese described a visit of Halley’s comet as long ago as 240Bc.
  • When Halley’s comet was seen in AD837, Chinese astronomers wrote that its head was as bright as Venus and its tail stretched right through the sky.
  • Harold, King of England, saw the comet in 1066. When he was defeated by William the Conqueror a few months later, people took the comet’s visit as an evil omen.
  • Halley’s comet was embroidered on the Bayeux tapestry.