Referring to “Twice-Told Tales — 100 years ago” in the Feb. 3 Tracy Press, which read: “a bright comet has been seen in the skies over Tracy.” My first thought was that it was the 1910 visit of Halley’s Comet, which has been recurring every 75½ years. It was first observed in 240 B.C.
But, in fact, this was the spectacular so-called “Daylight Comet of 1910,” first observed in January of that year in the Southern Hemisphere, then later in early February in the Northern Hemisphere, including California. According to Wikipedia, it was five times brighter than Venus and could be seen in broad daylight. This comet was never seen before, and has not been seen since!
Halley’s Comet was observed in April 1910, and it was a spectacular sight also, coming quite near the Earth and sporting a long “tail.” Halley’s Comet returned again in 1985-86, but could barely be seen by the naked eye because the Earth and comet were on the wrong side of the sun. However, the U.S., Europe and Japan sent space probes to the comet, taking close-up photos and measurements. It will return again in late summer 2061.
My grandmother was just a 16-year-old back then, in 1910, and she later went on to teach courses in astronomy. Oddly though, she never mentioned to me the Great Daylight Comet, which preceded Halley’s Comet by four months. I had never heard of it before until being tipped off by Twice-Told Tales.