40 years ago, a comet suddenly appeared in a sudden flyby from Earth

Forty years ago this month, a show came that stopped the celestial spectacle—literally a bolt from the blue.

A brand-new comet has been making headlines for days around the world because of its exceptionally close pass close to Earth: a distance of less than 3 million miles (4.8 million kilometers), or about 12 times the distance from Earth to the Moon.

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