A comet called Lexell’s comet came at a distance of only 0.015 astronomical units to Earth.
On July 1, 1770, a comet passed by the planet Earth, which came closest to it in recorded history. Namely, a comet called Lexell’s comet (official designation D / 1770 L1) came at a distance of only 0.015 astronomical units to Earth.
The comet was discovered by the famous French astronomer Charles Messier, and was named after another astronomer – Anders Johan Lexell – who calculated its orbit. The comet’s nucleus at the time it was closest to Earth seemed seemingly as large as Jupiter. It was spotted in 1770 in both Europe and Japan, and its tail seemed to be about four moons in diameter.
From that ancient 1770 until today, Lexell’s comet has never been seen again. Therefore, it belongs to the so-called. lost comets. The aforementioned astronomer Lexell tried to explain this disappearance by the theory that under the influence of Jupiter the orbit of the comet was so altered that it either moved far away from Earth, or that it may even have been completely ejected from the solar system.