Edward the Confessor had died leaving a young, little-known son as heir. Harold Godwinson claimed the throne. Later that year, England fell to William the Conqueror.
The comet's appearance was considered an ill omen. Contemporary accounts suggest the comet approached the earth more closely than in recent appearances and shone with one-fourth the brightness of the moon. An image of the comet appears on the Bayeux Tapestry.