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Historical events associated with myths around comets

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Historical events associated with myths around comets
« on: July 22, 2013, 05:10:24 PM »
How did people react to comets in the past?



Comets have long been associated with astrology, or the study of the heavens for the purpose of predicting the future.  Their appearance in the sky has been associated with prophecies of destruction and important shifts in culture.  This is largely due to the sometimes unpredictable orbits of comets and their fantastical appearance in the sky.

While most people no longer react to comets with the same fear and misapprehension, some cultures in the world today still look to them as portents of disasters and as objects of religious significance.

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 05:16:08 PM »
Ancient Comets

Perhaps the earliest record of a comet sighting is in China in 1059 B.C.  At that time, two kings named Wu-Wang and Chou Hsin were engaged in a war over territory.  The Chinese astrological history relates a story of how a comet appeared in the sky during the clash of these two men, symbolizing the epic power struggle between the two kings.

Another comet sighting in the early days of civilization was in 974 B.C.  This comet may have Biblical significance, as it seems to coincide with David’s account of a sword hung over Jerusalem around the same time:

    And David lifted up his eyes, and saw the angel of the Lord standing between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem. (I Chronicles 21:16)

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 05:31:34 PM »

Comets Imagined as Swords

The Great Comet of 372 B.C. was considered to be a harbinger of impending doom.  The comet was thought to have brought about a catastrophic earthquake and tidal wave in Achaea.  Additionally, this comet may have been the first example of “comet splitting”, wherein a comet’s nucleus breaks into two or more pieces without discontinuing its orbit.  This “splitting” was especially evident in the collision of Shoemaker-Levy 9 with Jupiter in 1994.

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 06:12:33 PM »
Classical Comets


Aristotle and Ptolemy

For a long time in classical Greece, comets were not considered to be celestial objects.  Both Aristotle and Ptolemy, considered the leading astronomers of their time, did not equate comets with heavenly bodies.  Instead, Aristotle considered them to be terrestrial objects formed in the atmosphere. Ptolemy did not mention them in his astronomical masterwork, the Almagest.

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 06:14:14 PM »
This treatment of comets was not universal, however.  Seneca the Younger, an advisor to Emperor Nero, proposed the idea that comets were in fact heavenly bodies.  His studies were based on research and study of the Babylonians’ astronomical observations as well as older classical thoughts on the subject.  However, because of the popularity and stellar reputations of Ptolemy and Aristotle, Seneca’s theories on comets were marginalized into the 16th century A.D.


Seneca the Younger

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2013, 06:25:01 PM »
Medieval Comets


Woodcut of Townspeople Observing the Great Comet of 1577

The most notable occurrence of the medieval ages in regard to comets was the Great Comet of 1577.  It was an abnormally bright comet which was visible from Earth for a period of approximately 74 days.  This event is notable not only for the brilliance of the comet’s appearance, but also because several astronomers used various methods to disprove the theories put forth by Ptolemy and Aristotle.  These figures include Michael Mästlin, who used rudimentary parallax calculations to determine that comets were in fact celestial objects; Tycho Brahe, who was able to determine the position of the comet with greater  (but still vague) accuracy in addition to determining that the orbit of the comet was not circular, but oblong; and William IV, Landgrave of Hesse Cassel, whose own observations were used in conjunction with those of Brahe in validating his theory of the position of the comet being far beyond the moon.


 Tycho Brahe

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2013, 06:30:03 PM »
The Nineteenth Century


 Johann Encke

Comet Encke, named after Johann Encke, was observed separately in 1786, 1795, and 1805, without anyone successfully linking the sightings together as the orbit of one comet.  In 1819, Encke successfully used a mathematical process called an "integration," of the comet’s orbit, backwards. This allowed him to determine that these sightings were in fact of the same heavenly body.  After his prediction of the next appearance of the comet was proven correct, Encke went on to accurately foretell the next two times the comet would approach perihelion. He also developed an accurate theory for determining the orbits of heavenly bodies.  Using this theory, Marie Charles Theodor Damoiseau and Giovanni Santini separately predicted the return of Comet Biela in late November of 1832.

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2013, 06:31:17 PM »
A link between comets and meteor showers was suspected for a long time, but was only seriously considered by astronomers after the meteor shower of November 27, 1872.  The shower was recognized as debris from the Comet Biela.  Following this identification, the Leonid and Perseid showers were both discovered to be linked to the Earth passing through the path of comets.  Among the influential people in determining this were Denison Olmsted, who observed that the Leonids seemed to be originating from the same place in the sky; Urbain La Verrier, who first linked the orbital period of the Leonids with the orbit of a comet; and Carl F. W. Peters, who successfully identified that the Leonids were remnants from Oppolzer’s comet.

http://galacticghosts.blogspot.com/

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2013, 06:40:56 PM »
A Rough List of Celestial Events Correlated with Historical Events:

1.             
When: 49 BCE during the lunar month of April 14 to May 12
What: A comet
Associated historical event: Following the death of Julius Caesar

2.             
When: 49 BCE August 9, at 11:30 hours local time
What: Solar eclipse
Associated historical event: Following the murder of Julius Caesar

3.             
When: 32 BCE in the lunar month beginning on Feb. 6
What: A comet
Associated historical event: Associated with the war between Augustus and Marc Anthony

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2013, 07:50:05 PM »
4.             
When: 15/16 BCE,  most likely sometime between March and December
What: A comet
Associated historical events: 1. After Agrippa died.  2. Yeshua’s birth / Quirinius – at the time of the census / Augustus

5.             
When: 9 BCE “Nov 28  18:41 t” - UT
What: A total lunar eclipse
Associated historical event: Herod the Great died within a few months of a lunar eclipse

6.             
When: 10 CE June 30 at 11:19 hours (time of greatest eclipse).
What: A total solar eclipse, though only visible as partial over the Roman Empire
Associated historical event: Solar eclipse prior to the death of Augustus

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2013, 07:53:08 PM »
7.             
When: 26 CE Aug 1
What: A solar eclipse
Associated historical event: Solar eclipse predicted on Claudius’ birthday.

8.                 
When: 29 CE Nov 24 late AM
What: A solar eclipse
Associated historical event: This eclipse is tied to the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad

9.                 
When: 39 CE March 13 to April 30
What: A comet
Associated historical event: Preceding Claudius’ death

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2013, 07:55:42 PM »
10. & 11.           
When: 46 & 49 CE
What: 2 comets
Associated historical event: Nero killed aristocrats in order to try to prevent the omens perceived in these comets.

12.
When: 54 CE seen between June 9 and July 9
What: A comet (preceding two apparent lunar eclipses within 3 days…)
Associated historical event: Comet and lunar eclipses reported by Dio during the reign of Vitellius

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2013, 08:03:12 PM »
13.
When: 54 CE August 7
What: 2 lunar eclipses
Associated historical event: Vitellius short reign as emperor of Rome

14.
When: 55/56 CE Dec. of A.D. 55 to March of A.D. 56.
What: A comet - The length of the observation was fairly long, 113 days.
Associated historical event: Preceding the burning of the Temple in Jerusalem and the destruction of Jerusalem

15. & 16.
When: 56 CE
What: A pairing of a solar and a lunar eclipse within 15 days
Associated historical event: Celestial events occurring during the 3rd consulship of Emperor Vespasian and the 2nd consulship of the younger Vespasian

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Re: Historical events associated with myths around comets
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2013, 08:07:19 PM »
17.
When: 60 CE in August
What: A comet
Associated historical event: Titus Imperator Caesar in his 5th consulship wrote an account in his famous poem” about a comet

18.
When: 65/66 CE - Jan.-April of A.D. 66 & July-Sept.  A.D. 65
What: A comet [and eclipses - Cf. #‎13 above!]- Halley’s Comet (Jan.-April of A.D. 66) and another “long-tailed star” (July-Sept.) A.D. 65.
Associated historical event: A comet observed prior to the death of Vespasian

more at http://adamoh.org/TreeOfLife.lan.io/NTCh/CometsAndEclipsesCorrelatedWithHistoricalRecords.htm

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