Translated from French by H. Frommert
M. Messier discovered this comet with an achromatic refractor of larte aperture on October 27 at about 4:30 in the morning, below [south of] the beautiful star Beta in the tail of the Lion: It resembled then the nebula which is placed between the head and the bow of Sagittarius [M22].
From October 27 to 31, the sky didn't permit to see it again, because of a fog constantly rising; but on November 1 at 3:30 in the morning, the fog had disappeared, M. Messier observed the comet again with the same refractor; it appeared now above [north of] the same star Beta in the Lion, having a bit more light than on October 27; one couldn't yet perceive it with the naked eye.
M. Messier has continuously observed it from October 27 to November 29 in the morning, in the Lion & in the Great Bear. M. Méchain saw it again on December 3 with an achromatic refractor.
M. Lexell, astronomer of the imperial Academy of Russia, who was then at Paris, has calculated the orbit of this cometfrom observations of Messier: Here are the elements he deduced:
Longitude of node: 4s 4d 0' 0" Inclination: 53. 56. 28. Longitude of perihelion of the orbit: 8s 6. 30. 14. Logaritm of perihelion distance: 8.9903713 Passage of Periherlion: September 30, 1780 at 20h 16' 22" standard time. Motion retograde.The orbit of this comet is not resembled by any of those that are known.
Last Modification: January 25, 2002