Skip to comments.Halley's Comet Portrayed On Ancient Coin
Posted on 05/19/2004 2:14:39 PM PDT by blam
Halley's comet portrayed on ancient coin
ABC Science Online
Wednesday, 19 May 2004
Could the star shape on the king's crown be Halley's comet?
A rare ancient coin may feature an early record of Halley's comet, researchers say.
The coin features the head of the Armenian king Tigranes II the Great, who reigned from 95 to 55 BC. A symbol on his crown that features a star with a curved tail may represent the passage of Halley's comet in 87 BC, say the Armenian and Italian researchers.
Their research will be published in Astronomy & Geophysics, a journal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Halley's comet, which was last visible in 1986, has cropped up periodically in the Earth's history, with regular observations in 1531, 1607 and 1682.
This led Edmond Halley to declare in 1705 that this was the same comet, with an orbit taking it past the Earth about every 76 years. He predicted successfully it would return in 1758, and the comet was named after him.
Now researchers have found further evidence that the comet was significant thousands of years before Halley was born.
Tigranes could have seen Halley's comet when it passed closest to the Sun on 6 August in 87 BC, according to the researchers, who said the comet would have been a "most recordable event".
The appearance of the comet in Armenia, which borders Turkey and Iran, could be useful to date the coin accurately. While the coin dates back to before 83 BC, when Tigranes conquered the ancient city of Antioch, the capital city of Syria at the time, researchers do not know its precise date.
Halley's comet (Image: NASA/Ames Research Center)
Halley's comet is a ball of dirty snow and ice about 15 kilometres long. Like other comets that periodically pass the Earth, it has a highly eccentric orbit that changes as the larger planets pull at its orbit.
Astronomer Vince Ford from the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Canberra's Australian National University said the comet would have been bigger and brighter 2000 years ago.
"As comets come round the Sun they lose a lot of material, up to 10%," he said.
Although Halley's comet wasn't losing that much, it would still get smaller over time as the Sun burnt away icy dust and gas.
Like other comets that return within 200 years, Halley's comet is thought to come from the Kuiper belt, a disc of comets and icy planets including Pluto, which periodically sends icy material hurtling into the solar system.
Ford said the oldest confirmed observation of Halley's comet was from Chinese recordings on 25 May in 240 BC.
Art had often been the source of evidence of sightings of Halley's comet, he said.
For example, the Bayeux tapestry depicted the comet in the lead up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. But art had also mislead astronomers, Ford said.
"Giotto painted it into his nativity scene, probably because he has recently seen Halley's comet and he was impressed," Ford said. "But the comet only appeared in 12 BC, way before the birth of Jesus."
Looks like the Dallas Cowboys logo to me.
And we know that for sure, because??? It seems that 12 years, give or take, more than 2000 years ago makes a pretty tight time frame, considering that scripture also recounts a heavenly star that led the Eastern kings to the crib. Isn't it possible that Halley's Comet and the Christmas Star are one and the same?
No, because Halley didn't predict it until 1705...
However, nowadays, there are about a dozen comets detectable at any given time. And there is some "concern" that there should be more.
So, who knows how many comets there were at that time that have since did Shoemaker-Levy 9s in to Jupiter or the Sun?
Or just wore out?
They probably went back and looked at ancient records, in addition to simple math.
"Or just wore out?"
...or, all fall down!
But there is a good clue in the scriptures as to what might have been going on: The wise men or magi were Persian priests or astrologers. The "star" may have been something of astrological significance, such as a planetary conjunction. My memory is faulty at this point, but I recall there being a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn which supposedly indicated a royal birth in Judea.
This all assumes that the Star of Bethlehem and the magi weren't just a bit of legendary material that made its way into the Gospel. (Being an evangelical Christian, I'm inclined to lean towards the reliability of the Gospels; but I'm not a hard-bitten inerrantist concerning the Bible either, and I think astrology is stupid if not demonic.)
Too bad the apparition of 1986 was so mediocre. You could barely see it.
Too bad the apparition of 1986 was so mediocre. You could barely see it.
Yeah, but there was Hale-Bopp(?) in 1997 that put on quite the show.
I am taking that into consideration. Ancient records (where you can find them) are not all that accurate. I have read several accounts that conjecture that Halley's Commet may have been the Star of Bethlehem.
Good Grief, I don't think they even have George Washington's birthday accurate. It's actually a different day from what we celebrate. And that was less than 300 years ago
I'm such a nerd..why do I notice things like that...
Yeah, but IIRC, that's a matter of eleven or twelve days (and only because we changed calendars), not 12-18 years.
Halley's comet is often misprounced. The word rhymes with vomit.
Halley rhymes with vomit?
Halley rhymes with Sally.
Wasn't there a nova recorded by the Chinese around the time of the Nativity, +/- a couple of years?
Actually, the coins I've found like that, all have the date 86 B.C. stamped right on them. But seriously, if astronomers can date Halley's Comet back to 240 B.C. with accuracy, and they know the comet appeared 12 years before the birth of Jesus -- then they ought to be able to peg the Savior's birth date just about to the day.
I guess I just don't see a comet on that hat. I'll have to get my magnifying glass. Hey, it's Merlin! Wait, wait, the inscription on the hatband reads ... I ... predict ... that ... gasoline ... prices ... will ... continue ... to ... climb ... to ... over ... four ... dollars ... per ... gallon ... by ... this ... time ... next ... year ... stop. I ... may ... look ... old ... and ... foolish ... to ... you ... but ... my ... offspring ... will ... hold ... the ... oil ... leases ... while ... you ... hold ... jeez, it looks like ... while ... you ... hold ... your ... breath ... stop. Nice guy, huh? Anyway, I always find it hard to believe that Jesus was a Capricorn.
" On July 4, 1054 A.D., Chinese astronomers noted a "guest star" in the constellation Taurus; Simon Mitton lists 5 independent preserved Far-East records of this event (one of 75 authentic guest stars - novae and supernovae, excluding comets - systematically recorded by Chinese astronomers between 532 B.C. and 1064 A.D., according to Simon Mitton). This star became about 4 times brighter than Venus in its brightest light, or about mag -6, and was visible in daylight for 23 days. "
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Halley's Comet appears in the skies over England in April 1066, as depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry.
Good to see you’re posting again. Haven’t you been missing for a while?
Yup. I'm still missing. This was posted in 2004.
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