I have a soft spot for catalogues. Perhaps it is because I have been involved in the production of several comprehensive listings myself. I suspect, however, that there is more than a little of the ‘nerd’ in all of us. Nevertheless, there is something immensely satisfying about plucking a book from the shelf, knowing that it contains the information you are seeking urgently, in an easy-to-find format.

This is the second of an anticipated four-volume series documenting the discoveries of comets down the ages. It is an ambitious attempt to catalogue all recorded comets through history. Volume 1 was published...

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