What comets were visible to the naked eye in the late 1950's?

Comet Arend-Roland, 1956h was discovered in November 1956, and was brightest in April-May of 1957. It had an apparent magnitude equal to the brightest stars in the sky ( +1.0) and was the brightest comet of the Spring of 1957.

In August 1957, Comet Mrkos ( 1957d) was exceptionally bright with a tail 9 degrees long, and was also very easy to see with the naked eye.

Comet Alcock, 1959f, was the brightest comet of 1959 and discovered in August as it passed perihelion with the Sun in August. It would have been rather faint to the naked eye, equal in brightness to the fainter naked eye stars with a magnitude of +5 - +6 and a tail only 1 degree long.

If you recall a bright comet in the late 1950's, it was probably one or the other of the two comets in 1957 which were both spectacular and heavily photographed.


Copyright 1997 Dr. Sten Odenwald
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