40 years ago, a comet came out of nowhere in a surprise flyby of Earth

Forty years ago this month, there was a show that interrupted the celestial vision – literally a bolt of lightning from nowhere.

A brand-new comet, which for several days made headlines around the world due to its exceptionally close pass to Earth: a distance of less than 3 million miles (4.8 million km), or about 12 times the distance from earth to the moon.

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