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  • The Comet May Have Caused A Decade-Long Winter Starting In 536 CE on Random A Long, Strange History of Halley Comet

    (#4) The Comet May Have Caused A Decade-Long Winter Starting In 536 CE

    According to some researchers, around the year 536 CE a decade-long winter began, and it had something to do with Halley's Comet. Scholars in Europe and Asia at the time reported 536 CE and the following years were absolutely freezing. Their writings describe what sounds like a large celestial body passing across the Sun. This caused a deep freeze, which completely destroyed crops and lead to years of famine. 

    Geologist Dallas Abbott believes that on its trip past the Sun, Halley's Comet broke up; the resulting pieces of debris that fell to Earth created a large dust cloud, effectively blocking out the sun. An analysis of Greenland ice in 2013 from 533 - 540 CE shows "large amounts of atmospheric dust during this seven-year period, not all of it originating from Earth," according to Abbott.

    Researchers also believe it could have been the reason humanity was more vulnerable to "Justinian's plague" from 541-542 CE. That being said, there's still quite a lot of research to do before we can place blame for this theoretical freeze on the comet. 

  • The Orionid Meteor Shower Contains The Remains Of Halley's Comet on Random A Long, Strange History of Halley Comet

    (#8) The Orionid Meteor Shower Contains The Remains Of Halley's Comet

    Because of the length of time in between appearances by Halley's Comet, it's possible you'll never actually see it. Even if you were born in time for its flyby in the '80s, you may not remember it, and there's no guarantee you'll live to 2061 to see the next pass. But that's okay, because every year we get an Orionid shower from past iterations of the comet, and it provides a spectacular celestial sight. 

    NASA’s Bill Cooke says during this shower we see "stuff kicked off 150 years before 1985 which would be in the 1830s,” and that's just objectively cool. Some years, the shower can have as many as 70 or 80 meteors in an hour. Others only put off about 10 to 15 an hour. In 2018, the Orionid meteor shower peaks the nights of Oct. 21 - 22.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Ancient Civilizations Believed The Comet Predicted Calamities on Random A Long, Strange History of Halley Comet

    (#10) Ancient Civilizations Believed The Comet Predicted Calamities

    Halley's Comet wasn't always a thing of wonder. Prior to humanity's scientific knowledge of celestial bodies, many people believed the comet was a sign of terrible things to come. People believed it predicted everything from war, famines, and even the end of days. 

    In 66 CE, first-century Romano-Jewish scholar Flavius Josephus believed the "star resembling a sword” meant the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Hundreds of years later, Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Pious thought the comet was an omen signaling his eventual demise. Even though we now know Halley's has no affect on our day to day lives, there are still people who still believe the comet is a sign of the end times. 

  • No One Knows What The Future Holds For Comet on Random A Long, Strange History of Halley Comet

    (#13) No One Knows What The Future Holds For Comet

    The more we grow used to the idea Halley's Comet is always going to be there, flying by every 76 years or so to say hello, the more apparent it is that nothing lasts forever. Even a "dirty snowball" like Halley's Comet has to fall apart at some point. While we know that the comet is going to disappear some day, we don't know when

    It's likely that in 3,000 years - once the comet comes under the influence of Jupiter's gravity - the already strange orbit of the comet is going to change even more. Scientists believe it could be around for any time between 10,000 and 10 million years, and while they don't have a specific end date for the comet in their calculations, they expect it to fully melt at some point. 

  • (#12) The Comet Has Inspired A Lot Of Fiction

    What is it about Halley's Comet that brings out our ideas for worst case scenarios? People are obsessed about what could happen if a comet did... something, and while the films aren't scientifically accurate in the least, they are a lot of fun. 

    For instance, in Night of the Comet, everyone on Earth (except people who were in lead buildings, the safest places imaginable) are turned into zombies. In Coherence, a dinner party goes wrong after a comet creates multiple realities. And let's not forget Maximum Overdrive - you know, the movie about a comet bringing all of the Earth's electronics to life and forcing semi-trucks to chase down Emilio Estevez and company to the rockin' sounds of AC/DC. In the words of Bon Scott, if you want comet, you've got it. 

  • Venus May Be Responsible For Halley's Chaotic Orbit on Random A Long, Strange History of Halley Comet

    (#7) Venus May Be Responsible For Halley's Chaotic Orbit

    For decades, scientists blamed Jupiter as one of the main culprits behind the lopsided orbit of Halley's Comet, but this gas giant with a mass of two-and-a-half times that of the other planets in the solar system isn't to blame. We should actually be pointing our fingers at Venus. 

    According to Tjarda Boekholt of Leiden University, he did "the most accurate calculations of Halley and the planets ever" and discovered Venus has the biggest effect on the comet out of everything in the solar system... although they're not sure why. Boekholt believes in about 3,000 years, the comet is going to fly close enough to Jupiter for the planet's gravitational pull to have a larger impact. From there on, no one can predict what's going to happen. 

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About This Tool

The Halley’s Comet has an orbital period of 76 to 79 years, and the next time it crosses perihelion is July 28, 2061. The Halley’s Comet is The Halley’s Comet has an orbital period of 76 to 79 years, and its next pass through perihelion will be on July 28, 2061. The Halley’s Comet was the first periodic comet to be recorded, and its appearance was well documented in China, ancient Babylon, and medieval Europe until 240 BC or 466 BC, but they didn’t know it was the same comet.

This randomly generated tool catalogs 14 items that you don’t know about the history of the supernatural, including the fact that it once filled our atmosphere with deadly cyanide in 1910, some people believe that Halley’s Comet is Star of Bethlehem and so on, many of which we’ve never heard before.

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