Edmund Halley, who lived from 1656 to 1742, was a scientist, astronomer, and a friend of Sir Isaac Newton.
He proved Newton’s hypothesis that some comets followed elongated orbital paths, passing Earth on a regular schedule. Halley studied the path of a comet he watched in 1682 and compared its orbit to comets reported in 1456, 1531, and 1607.
The paths matched, and Halley worked out that this was, in fact, the same comet appearing every 75 or 76 years. The comet was named after Halley and returned, as he predicted, in 1759.
The last time Halley’s comet passed near Earth was in 1986.
Unfortunately, so much publicity and hype accompanied its expected return that when it did appear, many observers were disappointed.