Tragic Earthly Incidents that are Linked to Comets

Tragic Earthly Incidents that are Linked to Comets

Tragic Earthly Incidents that are Linked to Comets
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Everyone has heard of comets, the shining celestial objects that zip around the universe in a predictable pattern. In the past, comets were mysterious objects that were often considered good or bad omens—mostly bad. However, it is not only the ancients who have linked comets to disastrous earthly incidents. Modern-day astronomers have also blamed comets for triggering unfortunate events. Superstitious or not, the comets aren’t complaining. Let’s have a look at some tragic earthly incidents that are linked with comets.

Younger Dryas

Younger Dryas - Earthly Incidents

About 17,500 years ago, the ice age ended. After that, the Earth started warming and kept doing that up to 13,000 years ago. After that, the period of sudden cooling was initiated around 11,500 years ago. Historians call this cold period, the ‘Younger Dryas’.

Although they don’t know what caused it, they do have some theories. One of these suspects is a passing comet. Some of the historians believe that the Younger Dryas started when a comet impacted the Earth. The impact from the comet caused large scale fires all over the planet. The resulting soot from these fires didn’t allow any sunlight to reach the surface. This created the cooling effect experienced by our planet at that time.

This is just a guess at best. However, avid supporters of the theory cite platinum found in ice in Greenland and other evidence in Pennsylvania as indications that the impact did happen. There is also a carving on a temple pillar in Turkey that shows a comet breaking up in the atmosphere.

Spanish Conquest of the Inca Empire

Spanish Conquest of The Inca Empire - Earthly Incidents

The largest empire in pre-Columbian America, Inca Empire, sprawled across a vast area until the Spanish came along and overthrew the emperor. He knew they were going to overthrow the empire based on several signs he had seen before their arrival. One of them was a large green comet that flew across the sky. Another was his home, which was destroyed by lightning.

There were also other prophecies saying that Inca would be defeated by strangers. The prophecies didn’t turn out to be true as the Spaniards only managed to take over Inca after the illness (smallpox) of the emperor, Huayna Capac. It is believed that the smallpox was introduced to Inca by the Spaniards themselves.

Destruction of 536 AD

Destruction of 536 AD

In this year, crops failed causing famine, mass migration, disease, and plague. The tragedy of 536 AD is easily the most destructive of all the earthly incidents in the list. The misery continued for ten years after its beginning.

It is written by the scholars that the Sun could not provide enough heat, causing temperatures to drop. It got so cold that the ground was covered in frost in the middle of summer. A good chunk of the Byzantine Empire was wiped because of the Justinian Plague.

It is believed that this sudden cooling was caused by the eruption of a massive volcano in El Salvador. Dallas Abbott, a Geologist at the Columbia University, has blamed Halley’s Comet for this tragic event. He suggested that the comet lost some decent-sized fragments during its journey through the inner solar system in 530 AD. Those fragments eventually hit the Earth (in 536 AD), causing the temperatures to fall.

The Death of Mark Twain

The Death of Mark Twain

Halley’s Comet is one of the most notorious comets out there. The icy body is often blamed for unfortunate earthly incidents as it returns every 75 years. However, it wasn’t until 1682 when people realized that they were actually looking at the same comet which appeared in 1531 and 1607.

Edmund Halley predicted that the comet would appear again in 1758 and it did. Unfortunately, Halley wasn’t alive to see his prediction come true. Halley’s Comet returned again in 1835, which was the same year that famous writer Mark Twain was born. Interestingly, Twain died on April 21, 1910, when Halley’s Comet was once again visible. He predicted his death in a passage which said,

“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.’”

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