Artifacts & Documents: Manuscripts

Astronomical Observations on the Comet of 1811, Epahras Hoyt

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In 1811 a comet appeared, causing great excitement. Along with his teenage nephew Edward Hitchcock, Epaphras Hoyt studied the comet closely and kept a notebook of his measurements and observations. Near the end of his observations he noted:

every appearance indicates that the comet is fast receding from the sphere of vision; and yet leaving astronomers in the same perplexing uncertainty, with regard to the origin and (ultimate) design of these peculiar erratic bodies, which at intervals, come forth from their unknown recesses, alarming and confounding the ignorant and credulous, and exciting the curiosity and profound investigations of the explorers of the arcane of nature.

Epaphras Hoyt
Courtesy of:
Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association Library