The massive comet that came within a few hundred miles of hitting the earth in 1883
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Posted 20 October 2011 - 12:13 PM
When this photograph was taken in 1883 it was heralded as the first photographic evidence of UFOs. But now scientists from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México believe it could have been a massive comet that came close to hitting the Earth - with a similar mass to the object that killed the dinosaurs.
Mexican astronomer José Banilla took the image, which appears to show something passing in front of the sun, on August 12 1883. When it was released publicly in 1886 in the magazine L'Astronomie it was dubbed the first photo of a UFO - a series of 447 objects that looked 'misty' and 'left behind a similar misty trace.'
A new study by the Univeridad Nacional Autónoma de México now suggests that it was a comet in the process of breaking up. 'Our working hypothesis is that what Bonilla observed in 1883 was a highly fragmented comet, in an approach almost flush to the Earth’s surface,' writes Hector Javier Durand Manterola, the lead author of the report.
'Using the results reported by Bonilla, we can estimate the distance at which the objects approach to the Earth’s surface. 'According to our calculations, the distance at which the objects passed over was between 538 km and 8,062 km, - and the width of the objects was between 46 m and 795m' . The mass of the original comet could have been up to eight times the mass of Halley's comet.
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