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Halley’s Comet

The appearance of Halley’s comet in Nebraska skies during the spring of 1910 generated much excitement, according to contemporary newspapers on microfilm at the Nebraska State Historical Society. The Omaha Daily News, May 18, 1910, reported:



“All Omaha will be ‘looking up’ tonight. . . . From the high roof of the City National Bank building, C. C. George, Ed. George, building inspector Withnell and others will hold comet parties. Others will view the spectacle from the New York Life building, the Henshaw hotel and other high places.



“High school students will meet at the high school grounds early this evening to view the comet, telescopes having been provided. Many plan to watch the comet at Hanscom Park, high points in Dundee, Florence, Miller Park, North Omaha and South Omaha. At Bellevue students will hold a comet party and Father [William F.] Rigge will make special observations with clergy and students at Creighton University.



“Automobile dealers, including Fredrickson, Deright, Kimball, public and electric garages, have rented every available car tonight for comet ‘joy riding.'”



However, four months later the celestial phenomenon seemed less remarkable. Editor John M. Cotton of the Ainsworth Star-Journal, on September 30, 1910, exclaimed, “Has everybody forgotten Halley’s comet? There was a reaction after the trepidation and intense curiosity aroused by its approach, and now, instead of piling out of bed at unseemly hours of the early morning in the hope of getting a glimpse of it, there are many who would not, for the promise of a good square look at the wanderer, take the trouble of walking across the street. They have seen it once, and so far as they are concerned, it is an old story.”



Halley’s comet returned in 1985-86 but was less spectacular because its path was farther from the earth.


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