Ancient Greek texts reveal the earliest recorded sighting of the solar system’s most famous comet 2,500 years ago.
Since then, Halley’s Comet has repeatedly cameoed in history, getting credit for toppling armies, birthing empires, and even killing Mark Twain.
Halley’s Comet is the most famous of the short-period comets, which are comets that complete their eccentric orbits in 200 years or less.
It’s the only short-period comet that’s visible to the naked eye, and its 76-year circuit means it’s the one comet that pretty much everyone can hope to see once, if not twice, during their lifetime. Because of this uniqueness and its often dazzling appearances, it’s become something of humanity’s companion throughout human history, popping up again and again in historical records.
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