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Comet of Olbers 1815

In 1815 at its discovery, Olbers' comet was not too bright, just about 5 magnitude. If was visible for the naked eye at all, then only as a small star it twinkled in the sky. It owes its discoverer, that it can be found on coin.

Heinrich Wilhelm Matthias Olbers (1758 – 1840) was a German physician and amateur astronomer. After completing his studies in Bremen he practiced medicine. Nightly from his home observatory furnished at the top level of his home he observed. During these nights he discovered the second asteroid Pallas, and the fourth, Vesta. He discovered a total of six comets, one among them, the periodic comet 13P/Olbers that was discovered in 1815, and has an orbital period 69 and a half year, bears his name. This is known as a Halley-type comet due to the similar elongated orbit and orbital period.

 comet 1815 reverse

On the reverse of German silver commemorative coin that was issued in 1990 for the 150th anniversary of Olbers' death - along with most of his famous discoveries - his comet was displayed. There is the Sun in the center, surrounded by two asteroids, Pallas and Vesta, and the elongated orbit of comet 13P/Olbers. The Neptune's orbit that was discovered in 1846 - that is, after the death of Olbers - has certainly been put to the coin to demonstrate the distance of the comet from the Sun at its aphelion. Placed next to the names of minor planets and Neptune are their astronomical sign, as was usual in the era of Olbers. Legend above: "ENTDECKER, ARZT UND ASTRONOM",  i. e. explorer, physician and astronomer. Below: "PALLAS-28.3.1802 · VESTA-29.3.1807 · KOMET OLBERS-6.3.1815", that is the exact dates of the discoveries can be read.

comet 1815 obverseThe obverse shows a portrait of Olbers facing half left. Legend above: "150. TODESTAG WILHELM OLBERS 1990", that is the 150th anniversary of the death of Olbers, below exact date of birth and death can be seen.

There is also a coin, which commemorates the Olbers comet, although only by text. That coin, as  others that celebrate Olbers can be found here.