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Comets are known for their composition, where they originate, and what happens to them.

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Halley's Comet in History

Halley’s Comet in History

Credit: Myrabella
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bayeux_Tapestry_scene32_Halley_comet.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

The Bayeaux Tapestry records the visit of Halley’s Comet in 1066 AD. This apparition was thought to be a good omen for William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings.

Amazing But True!

Credit: NASA/W. Liller
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lspn_comet_halley.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Halley's Comet- March 8, 1986 [Figure2]

  • Before Edmund Halley, people were terrorized by comets.
  • Halley replaced superstition with a scientific understanding of comets.
  • Halley’s Comet appears in texts that span more than 2,000 years.

Show What You Know

With the links below, learn more about Halley’s Comet in history. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why were so many people during the Middle Ages and earlier terrorized by Halley’s Comet?
  2. What was Edmund Halley’s hypothesis?
  3. How did Halley develop his hypothesis?
  4. How did Halley propose that his hypothesis be tested?
  5. How do historians of science determine if there is a record of Halley’s Comet in ancient texts?
  6. When will the comet visit next? How old will you be then? How will that visit compare with the 1986 visit?

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    Image Attributions

    1. [1]^ Credit: Myrabella; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bayeux_Tapestry_scene32_Halley_comet.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
    2. [2]^ Credit: NASA/W. Liller; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lspn_comet_halley.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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