The Appearances of Halley’s Comet

**image1***Edmond Halley (1656 -1742) was a British astronomer who became the first to prove that comets traveled in orbits. Because of this, he brought to everyone’s attention that it was possible to calculate when the next comet would be seen from Earth. In this article, you will learn about the different times that the comet has made an appearance on our planet.

Edmond made the prediction that the comet he saw in 1682 would make another appearance in 1759. Unfortunately, Halley was unable to see his prediction come true, but when it did , the comet was named after him. If we follow the regular orbit of Halley’s comet, we can trace back the history of the comet that goes back more than 2,000 years. The activity of Halley is believed to predict great events.

The first time it is thought that Halley’s comet was recorded is May 25, 240 BC , seen in China. In October 10, 12 BC, it is believed that Halley appeared to mark the death of the Roman general named Agrippa. Halley is thought to have appeared on June 28, 451 AD to mark the defeat of Attila the Hun. Before he was called William the Conqueror, William felt the comet that appeared on March 20, 1066 was a sign that victory would come over King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. The battle and comet is illustrated in the Bayeux Tapestry.

On June 9, 1456, people of that time believed that the defeat of the Turkish army by Papal forces was linked to the appearance of the comet. All of this is said to have happened before Edmond Halley set his eyes on the comet on September 15, 1682 and predicted that it would return. The comet would later return on March 13, 1759 , proving his theories and calculations correct. When the infamous author of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain) was born on November 16, 1835 (when Halley reappeared again), he always believed that his fate was interlocked with the comet. Interestingly, soon after the comet reappeared  in April 10, 1910, he died. Panic spread throughout the world because many believed that the end was near.

There have been some spacecraft that passed close to Halley’s comet. On February 9, 1986, the Japanese Suisei probe, the Vega 1 and Vega 2 from Soviet, and the European Space Agency’s Giotto got a close glimpse at the comet. After these encounters, astronomers concluded that the comet was comprised of dust that was held together by water and carbon dioxide ice.

The next time Halley is slated to make an appearance on Earth again is on July 28, 2061, which is not exactly 76 years. Astronomers have figured that the gravitational pull of the planets will play a role in affecting its return.

Not the Only One…

There are more than 20 comets that return more often than Halley. The most frequent visitor is called Encke’s comet, which was named after German astronomer Johann Franz Encke (1791-1865). In 1818, the scientist calculated that the comet had an orbit comprised of 3.3 years.