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Halley’s Comet, snowball of the Gods

_Looking up at that night sky we could scarcely believe what we saw. Some of them men are saying it is the angels coming down from the heavens to help us. Others say that it is the end times. Looking at it I have no fear, only confidence. I look at that sky and where others see disaster I see only mourning. The face of the weeping mother. She weeps for all of her sons that would give their lives. I know she is here to watch over us and that is why I know we will win the war._


To imagine being back a 1000 years ago before any modern comforts, or most scientific discoveries at all is truly amazing. It is another thing entirely when one takes into consideration the things we as a modern people take for granted today. 1066 Is the earliest known record of such a monumentous occasion. 1066 was the first recorded sighting of the comet Halley, the mourning mother.

Halley’s comet’s orbit was devised by Edmund Halley. He was the first to realize that the comet seen during 1531 and 1607 were the same. Halley’s comet follows a 76 year rotation, and every time it passes a little more of it dies. The comet does not become more than a hurdling chunk of ice until it gets close to our sun. Then from the heat of the sun the comet casts its tail. Halley’s comet has been a great site making a spectacle for mankind as far back as 240 b.c.

When viewed for what it is, a melting snowball, it loses its glamour, but seen as something celestial and from the gods it becomes awe inspiring. The comet that inspired and terrified the soldiers in the Battle of Hastings was more than just a pretty spectacle. It was a force of God to them. It did portent terrifying things. Looking back with children’s eyes one can see or even feel the amazement these people did so many years ago. Samuel Clemens or as he is more commonly known Mark Twain, saw the magnificence in the brilliant snowball of Halley. Twain was born with coming of the comet and passed on its return.

bq. “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: “Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.”

This is poetic if nothing else. The last time the comet passed this planet was in 1986 and it was barely visible. The next siting will be in 2061. Will humanity look upon it then with wonder or will it become another piece of popular trivia? As time progresses, Halley’s and the other passing comets have witnessed humanity in its infancy. However, with each pass the comets die a little more, and it seems humanity too moves faster towards its own end. Will the end of Halley’s signal the end of humanity or will it mean we as a species are in a new epoch?

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