Fact or fiction

Panic of the Century: Is Halley’s Comet Bringing Trouble?

Many of us who are older were able to watch Comet Hale-Bopp online for a few days in 1997. It was a very beautiful sight, and you could see her standing upright in the dark on the balcony or on the street.

No less interesting is Comet Halley, which flew near the Earth in 1986, and its next visit is scheduled for 2061, when it will pass through perihelion and will be conveniently observed from Earth.

Halley’s Comet engraving

In 1978, Chinese astronomer Yu Che Chang drew attention to the relationship between the victory of the warrior king Wu Wang and Halley’s Comet, which he believed would pass over the Earth in 1057 BC.

Donald Yeomans of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, believes that the comet could have passed by a couple of years later at that time. But this is not so important if we consider that the passage of this comet is connected with some events on our planet. Its influence, it is believed, can begin in advance, plus or minus two years.

Halley’s Comet. Engraving from 1811

The passage of Comet Halley in ancient times became a harbinger of the fall of the Shang Empire and the death of its emperor named Zhou Xin. Further, each of its appearances in the sky did not bode well: wars, murders, epidemics, earthquakes, famine and much more.

All these troubles constantly happened on Earth on the eve of the appearance of this comet or after its passage across the sky. Below is a short list of just a few of the events that are temporally associated with this comet:

240 BC – The worst flood in China.

164 BC – The plague claims lives throughout Europe.

66 AD – A war between Judea and Rome that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem.

374 – Invasion of the Huns (Xiongnu) into Europe.

451 – Atilla (leader of the Huns) was defeated by invading Gaul.

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684 – Long rains in Europe, loss of harvest, severe famine.

989 – Famine in England.

1066 – William the Conqueror invades England and kills King Harold.

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1222 – Invasion of Genghis Khan. Bloody rain in Rome.

1456 – The Turks conquer Athens, and an earthquake in Naples kills 35 thousand people.

1682 – E. Halley observed the comet. There is an earthquake in England.

1759 – Ferdinand VI, King of Spain, died. Eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

1835 – Plague epidemic in Egypt. Hurricane in Florida.

1910 – Death of King Edward VII of England. Bubonic plague is rampant in China and India.

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1986 – Accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, etc.

Only in the 17th century did the comet acquire the name of the English astronomer Edmund Halley. He found that the comets observed in 1531, 1607 and 1682 had very similar characteristics and came to the conclusion that they were the one and same comet, which had its own orbit.

Edmond Halley – English astronomer

The frequency of the comet’s appearance was also calculated – every 75-76 years, and now we can expect a new visit in 2061. What misfortune will the space guest bring this time?

During the last appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1986, scientists explored it using spacecraft. Data were obtained about the core of this cosmic body, the mechanisms of formation of the coma (gas cloud) and tail. The comet is also short-period and has been in its current orbit for at least 16 thousand years.

An interesting statement by the writer M. Twain related to the comet:

“I came into the world in 1835 with Halley’s Comet. It will appear again next year, and I think we will disappear together.”

The writer turned out to be right. We all hope that the reappearance of Halley’s Comet will not bring further wars, epidemics, earthquakes, etc. Man is often powerless against nature, but humanity is quite capable of not starting wars and conflicts. Let this comet at least once become an omen of something good and happy.


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