star clouds in Ophiucus
Two views of Comet IV 1893 on consecutive nights

Barnard's long affair with comets began in Nashville with his first telescope, purchased from his meager savings. His singular talent as a visual observer soon led to the discovery of an extraordinary number of them in a comparatively short time—an accomplishment which attracted the attention of Lick Director Edward S. Holden, who was then assembling the observatory's first scientific staff. Barnard dicovered about thirty comets in the course of his life, a remarkable score by any reckoning.

At Lick, Barnard photographed comets discovered by himself and by others. His pictures of Comet IV 1893 (aka Comet Brooks) revealed changes never before recorded in a comet's tail. The year before, Barnard had chalked up another photographic first by discovering a comet with his camera.

From a lantern slide in the Lick photographic plate archive.