The Closest Approaches of Comets to Earth

The following table is extracted from my currently unpublished Cometography. It represents all comets that have passed closer than 0.11 AU from Earth. I have included interesting descriptions made around the time of each comet's closest approach. A few of the oldest comets (i.e., C/1491 B1 and C/1014 C1) have orbits which are somewhat uncertain, so that the distances quoted could be significantly in error.

DesignationMin. Dist.DateDescription
C/1491 B10.00941491, Feb. 20
D/1770 L10.01511770, Jul. 1coma 2 degrees 23 minutes across
Tempel-Tuttle (1366) 0.02291366, Oct. 26"sparkling star"
C/1983 H10.03111983, May 11magnitude 2; coma 3 degrees
Halley (837)0.0334837, Apr. 10tail 60 degrees long
3D/1805 V10.03661805, Dec. 9coma 20' across on 12/01
C/1014 C10.03761014, Feb. 25"broom star"
C/1743 C10.03911743, Feb. 8coma 18' on 2/11
Pons-Winnecke (1927)0.03941927, Jun. 26magnitude 4; coma 72'
C/1702 H10.04351702, Apr. 20"nebulous star"; tail like M44
C/1351 W10.04531351, Nov. 28
C/1132 T10.04561132, Oct. 7"broom star"
C/1345 O10.04891345, Jul. 31"broom star"
C/1499 Q10.05621499, Aug. 16"star"
Schwassmann-Wachmann 30.06171930, May 31magnitude 7; coma 5'; double tail
C/1983 J10.06281983, Jun. 12magnitude 6; coma 45' across
C/1080 P10.06391080, Aug. 5
Tempel-Tuttle (1699)0.06441699, Oct. 27
C/1760 A10.06821760, Jan. 8"whitish cloud" 15' across; tail 4 degrees
C/1471 Y10.06961472, Jan. 22tail several degrees long
C/400 F10.0733400, Mar. 31"sparkling star"
C/1639 U10.08291639, Oct. 26"guest star"
C/1556 D10.08351556, Mar. 12tail 5 degrees long
C/1853 G10.08391853, Apr. 29tail 4 degrees on 4/30
C/1797 P10.08791797, Aug. 16coma 7' to 10'across
Halley (374)0.0885374, Apr. 1"sparkling star"
Halley (607)0.0898607, Apr. 19
C/568 O10.0935568, Sep. 25"guest star"
C/1763 S10.09351763, Sep. 23coma 9' on 9/29
C/1864 N10.09641864, Aug. 8
C/1862 N10.09821862, Jul. 4coma 31-34 minutes across
C/868 B10.1018868, Jan. 25
C/1996 B20.10181996, Mar. 25mag. 0; coma 2 degrees; tail 40 degrees
C/1961 T10.10191961, Nov. 15magnitude 4; coma 30'
C/1723 T10.10331723, Oct. 14
C/1718 B10.10351718, Jan. 18"large diameter and a bright center"
C/390 Q10.1037390, Aug. 18"sparkling star"
Halley (1066)0.10401066, Apr. 23"like a moon" and "like an eclipsed moon"
D/1819 W10.10981819, Oct. 31

Original material by Gary W. Kronk. Copyright ©1988, 1995