Four people are out on a bank at night, their heads tilted back to peer into the starry sky in the hope of catching a glimpse of the comet of 1857—which never showed up. Announced by the astronomer Jacques Babinet, it was supposed to black out the sun and hit the earth on June 13, 1857.
This illustration was published in Le Charivari on February 25, 1857. It is part of the miscellaneous series titled Actualités. Second state of two.
The caption reads in the original French:
Les parisiens dans l’attente de la fameuse comète.