Chapter 30: Halley's comet - the Great Deceiver
Did you know that comets have been, for centuries, considered by astronomers as the most important celestial objects to be studied? And did you know that they have never reached any rational or definitive conclusions as to their orbital motions? In fact, the motions of the famous Halley’s comet are still today a hot topic of debate, since it (apparently) behaves in a most unpredictable manner. As it visits our Solar System, it will play peekaboo with earthly observers, as it revolves around the Earth and the Sun; whenever it passes behind or in front of the Sun, it will be hidden from our view. Halley's comet is a truly deceptive little joker as it only shows its face during relatively brief, intermittent time windows, leaving earthly observers to wonder how exactly it moves around space. In fact, comets and their paths around the Earth have been befuddling astronomers for millennia - and even more so since the advent of the Copernican, heliocentric model. One thing is certain: both amateur and professional astronomers would put the discovery of any new comet high on the list of their lifetimes' achievements.
”The return of Halley's comet suddenly made comets the headliners of astronomy, and for several decades it seemed that the greatest feat any astronomer could achieve was to discover comets.” “Halley’s comet” – the Free library (opens in a new tab)
Everyone has heard about Halley’s comet, the most famous comet in our skies and the most intensely studied of them all. Fewer people will be aware that comet Halley is the greatest oddity of astronomy, since its orbital period is (supposedly) wildly irregular or - as most astronomers like to call it - “chaotic”. In spite of this, we are told that it provided the ultimate proof of Sir Isaac Newton’s theories. Indeed, as Halley's comet returned in 1758 (as predicted by Newton’s mentor, Edmond Halley ), it was celebrated as the greatest triumph of Newton's gravitational laws:
“Its discovery was hailed as a triumph of scientific reasoning and Newtonian physics. By its appearance at this time, the truth of the Newtonian Theory of the Solar System is demonstrated to the conviction of the whole world, and the credit of the astronomers is fully established and raised far above all the wit and sneers of ignorant men.” "A Brief History of Halley’s comet” - History.com (opens in a new tab)
In hindsight (as will be thoroughly demonstrated in this chapter), those ‘sneers of ignorant men’ were quite rightful and well-founded: the many theories and proposed explanations for the observed behavior of Halley’s comet soon turned into a bewildering hodge-podge of assumptions and complex numerical integrations. Indeed, current cometary theory is riddled with aberrations, the most glaring of them being that comet Halley’s periodicity would somehow fluctuate by as many as 6 years - unlike any other celestial bodies in our Solar System: according to modern astronomy tables, the intervals between the returns of comet Halley can be as short as 73 years—or as long as 79 years! Oddly enough, these upper and lower ‘extremes’ are rarely touched upon in today's textbooks, most of which will just state that Halley’s comet returns “every 75 or 76 years or so” (as was more correctly reckoned in the 17th century). As we shall see, the TYCHOS model can demonstrate that comet Halley has in fact an average - yet quite stable and regular - orbital period of 75.667 years.
Halleys’ comet is currently believed to travel around our Solar System along a highly elongated, cigar-shaped orbit (see below diagram). As it recedes from Earth, its speed is thought to continually decrease until it reaches the orbit of Neptune where, for some reason, it would decide to reverse course and initiate its return trip to the Sun. As it returns in our skies, it would then strongly accelerate as it makes a sharp U-turn around our system, always passing— remarkably enough—much closer to Earth than to the Sun; indeed, one has to wonder how Newton's gravitational theories would account for this fact: does the Earth exert a stronger 'gravitational pull' upon the comet than the Sun?
Above: Illustration from Isaac Asimov's "Guide to Halley's Comet" (1985)
Today, here is what ESA (the European Space Agency) has to say about 'the vital role' that comets played in confirming Newton's theorems:
”TESTING GRAVITY: HOW COMETS HELPED TO PROVE NEWTON RIGHT. In the seventeenth century, science was thriving across Europe. The concept of a heliocentric Solar System was slowly spreading, bringing with it a reignited curiosity for astronomy and a lessened fear of previously mysterious celestial objects, such as comets. Cometary science was to take many great steps forward in the coming centuries - but first, comets had a vital part to play in developing one of the most fundamental theories in all of physics: Newton's law of universal gravitation.” “Testing Gravity: How Comets Hepled to Prove Newton Right” - ESA website (opens in a new tab)
Such boastful and celebratory statements are to be found all over astronomy literature. Yet, as will be thoroughly expounded in this chapter, the titanic efforts deployed over the years in order to try and “justify” comet Halley’s (apparently) irregular periods were based on a veritable comedy of errors. This was followed by a flow of exotic ad hoc theories dreamed up by our world’s scientific community, in what reads like a cheap (yet oft exhilarating) science fiction novel. Among the more extravagant theorems is that Halley’s comet would somehow be drastically decelerated and/or accelerated by “perturbating gravitational forces” as it transits in the vicinities of Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter or Venus. Indeed, we are asked to accept that these imagined perturbations would explain why the orbital period of Halley’s comet would fluctuate by up to ± 3 years (i.e. by as much as 8% of its mean period of 75.667 years!). Over time, a host of assorted (and entirely speculative) 'non-gravitational effects' then had to be added on top of those ghostly 'perturbations' - since the Newtonian equations soon turned out to be wholly inadequate for predicting the comet’s observed returns with any degree of acceptable precision.
“Our results show that the behaviour of the non-gravitational effects in the motion of Comet Halley with time is a very important problem which requires a careful investigation.” “Investigations of the long-term motion of Comet Halley: What is a cause of the discordance of results obtained by different authors?” - by Sitarski & Ziolkowski (1986) (opens in a new tab)
The TYCHOS shows that as Halley’s comet pays a visit to our Solar System, it will pass quite close to the Earth on two or three successive years and may occasionally be seen (telescopically) up to three or even four successive years - depending on certain favourable conditions; as we shall see, this is at the root of the dire confusion surrounding its periodicity. It is indeed ironic that Halley’s comet (which, by all accounts, provided “vital and definitive proof of Newton’s law of universal gravitation”) can now provide conclusive evidence in support of the TYCHOS model.
Recommendation to the readers: As you tackle this long chapter, I would recommend you to run the Tychosium simulator Tychosium 3D simulator (opens in a new tab) on your laptop. You may then activate Halley’s comet (by checking the ‘Halley’ box in the 'Planets' menu) so as to get familiar with its celestial motions in the TYCHOS model. You may then select any given date and verify comet Halley’s positions in our skies. If you then activate the 'Trace' function for Halley’s and then push the 'Run' button, you will see that the comet proceeds around a circular (albeit trochoidal) orbit - much like all of the planets in our Solar System. Here’s what a full 75.667-year orbital period of Halley’s comet looks like - in the Tychosium 3D simulator:
Before proceeding, I should probably clarify and illustrate what I mean by "two or three successive years" (as stated above). For instance, here is why Halley’s comet will make at least two successive close passages to Earth as it visits our Solar System; the below screenshot from the Tychosium simulator shows how Halley’s comet passed in 1985 and 1986. During its 1st close passage (around June 1985) it was hardly observable by anyone as it was swamped in the sun’s glare (as we shall see though, it was briefly—yet unwittingly— spotted in May by Don Machholz, an expert amateur 'comet hunter'). During its 2nd close passage, however (around April 1986), it was observed by many people located in our Southern Hemisphere:
“As-Above-So-Below” is how I like to call two such successive passages of Halley’s comet as it first passes 'above' and then 'below' the Earth, due to the comet's inclined trochoidal orbit. Curiously, in the Wikipedia entry for Halley's comet we may find the below diagram of its last 1986 passage. It shows the comet passing close to Earth on April 10, 1986 (as it did) - and then, as it proceeds into the distance, starts tracing trochoidal loops similar to those traced in the Tychosium simulator! It should be interesting to contact the authors of that diagram and ask them just how they arrived at such a 'conceptual' representation of Halley's motions.
Another most interesting aspect of Halley’s circular-trochoidal orbit is that the width of its loops are commensurate to the diameter of the Sun’s orbit (2AU). This would seem to suggest that the comet might, perhaps, simply be an ejecta of the Sun which has (for reasons that may intuitively be envisioned) maintained its original, solar orbital momentum and dynamics. As it is, many (or all?) comets may possibly be small 'fireballs' ejected from the Sun which then gradually cool off and fizzle out (much like Halley's comet appears to do), although this certainly needs further study.
In any event, this all helps explain the dreadful confusion (among our world’s astronomers) with regards to comet Halley’s periodicity. The trochoidal path of Halley’s comet (as traced in the Tychosium simulator) now provides clear and demonstrable answers to this longstanding enigma which has beffudled them for centuries and up to this very day. Needless to say, the core reason for their failure to realize the true / actual motions of Halley’s comet can be ascribed to their unquestioned adherence to heliocentrism: since they believe that the Earth revolves swiftly around the Sun (instead of the other way round), their complex computations attempting to plot and predict the comet's trajectory across our Solar System have been doomed from the start. Keep in mind that, each time the comet passes through our system, it will only be visible intermittently (i.e. for relatively short periods of time) and will remain, more often than not, 'lost' in the glare of the Sun as it transits behind or in front of our star.
Another remarkable aspect revealed by the Tychosium simulator is that comet Halley’s (constant) orbital speed is identical to that of the Sun, i.e. 107226km/h. This can be readily determined by counting the days that the comet employs to traverse the PVP orbit’s diameter - from side to side. In the below screenshot from the Tychosium, we see that it takes 44 days for Halley’s comet to do do so - just like the Sun does, as illustrated in Chapter 11.
The official roster of comet Halley’s periodic transits across the solar system features single sightings only, but the roster generated with the TYCHOS model has double or triple sightings for each transit since the comet passes close to Earth (within 0.55 AU) in at least two successive years.
THE OFFICIAL ROSTER of Halley’s historical transits: 240 B.C./ 164 B.C./ 87 B.C./ 12 B.C./ 66 AD/ 141/ 218/ 295/ 374/ 451/ 530/ 607/ 684/ 760/ 837/ 912/ 989/ 1066/ 1145/ 1222/ 1301/ 1378/ 1456/ 1531/ 1607/ 1682/ 1759/ 1835/ 1910/ 1986/ 2061/ 2134 Source: "The Greatest Comets in History" - by David A.J. Seargent (2009) (opens in a new tab)
As you can see, the modern, officially-predicted interval between Halley’s passage in 2061 and 2134 is only ~73 years. Yet, the interval between Halley’s passage between, for instance, 1222 and 1301 was (according to the official roster) ~79 years, i.e. a 6-year variation! What could possibly determine this (supposed) “chaotic behavior” of Halley’s comet? Try submitting this question to an astrophysicist. Good luck!
THE TYCHOS ROSTER of Halley’s historical transits: 210 & 209 BC / 135-134-133 BC * / 59 & 58 BC / 17 & 18 AD / 92-93-94 AD * / 168 & 169 AD / 244 & 245 AD / 319-320-321 AD * / 395 & 396 AD / 471 & 472 AD / 546-547-548 AD * / 622-623-624 AD * / 698 & 699 AD / 774 & 775 AD / 849-850-851 AD * / 925 & 926 AD / 1001 & 1002 AD / 1076-1077-1078 AD * / 1152 & 1153 AD / 1228 & 1229 AD / 1303-1304-1305 AD * / 1379 & 1380 AD / 1455 & 1456 AD / 1530-1531-1532 AD * / 1606-1607-1608 AD * / 1682 & 1683 AD / 1757-1758-1759 AD * / 1833-1834-1835 AD * / 1909 & 1910 AD / 1985 & 1986 AD / 2060-2061-2062 AD * / 2136 & 2137 AD
* all 3 passages of the comet within 0.55 AU from the Earth
Note that in the TYCHOS roster, Halley’s passages occur at regular intervals of ~75.667 years. Moreover, as verifiable in the Tychosium simulator, Halley’s comet will return in almost the exact same place in our skies every 227 years, i.e. 3 X 75.667. This is very similar to the behaviour of our Moon which returns in virtually the ‘same place’ after three Saros cycles (or one Exeligmos cycle). We may therefore say that comet Halley’s 75.667-year and 227-year cycles are the equivalent of our Moon's Saros and Exeligmos cycles (see Chapter 13). Has anyone seen or noticed this before? No: only the TYCHOS model can claim and demonstrate this wondrous equivalence.
One may well say that the TYCHOS model actually supports Newton’s fundamental claim that “physics work the same everywhere”. Newton himself, however, concluded that comets moved around extremely elliptical, cigar-shaped orbits - completely unlike all the other celestial bodies in our skies. Why Sir Isaac reached such a bizarre and illogical conclusion has remained a mystery to this day - but we shall see how the TYCHOS model can offer a resolutive answer to this question. In any event, the fact that his cigar-shaped cometary orbits were then universally accepted goes to show how a man elevated by his peers to near-Godlike status can get away with almost any fanciful and/or self-contradictory edict.
As we enter this important section of the present chapter, I need to make it very clear that no astronomers have ever conjectured that the so-called “Great Comet of 1680” (a.k.a “Kirch’s comet” and later renamed “Newton’s comet") might have been a misidentified passage of Halley's comet. The general consensus is that "Newton's comet" of 1680/81 just happened to transit close to the Earth a year or two prior to comet Halley’s 1682 passage. A host of historical information about "Kirch's comet" can be found in a Bulgarian treatise titled "The Kirch Comet in Art and Astronomy" - Smolyan Planetarium (2015) (opens in a new tab)
What I am about to recount (and uncover) has to be one of the most egregious examples of how a single spurious observation can lead astray the progress of astronomical knowledge and, indeed, the entire course of science. The “Great Comet of 1680” was notoriously used by Isaac Newton as a 'test bed' for his law of universal gravitation and, of course, his acclaimed cometary theory which in fact―and as only few people may know―was primordially founded on the “Great Comet of 1680”. “Great Comet of 1680” - Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)
“NEWTON’S COMET 1680-1681 : The comet that was observed by skilled observers, astronomers for the first time in history. Newton's cometary theory is based on it. Also, it was the first comet that was discovered telescopically (by Gottfried Kirch and others). None of the more ancient Comets of which we have any record was so closely observed as this. It was observed by a large number of scientific people, and it was mainly from observations of this Comet, that Sir Isaac Newton, as set forth in great length in his "Principia" evolved his cometary theory. In Proposition XLI, Problem 21, "from three observations given to determine the orbit of a Comet moving in a parabola'' after giving his calculations and drawings, Newton says, "Let the Comet of the year 1680 be proposed." Newton's theories evolved from the observations of this Comet, made by Flamsteed, Halley and others, and lie at the foundation of all modern learning on the subject of Cometary orbits.” “Newton’s Comet 1680-1681” - Astrocoins (2015) (opens in a new tab)
A notorious controversy between Newton and Flamsteed centred upon the nature of the successive sightings in 1680 and 1681 of what was eventually (yet, as we shall see, erroneously) deemed to have been the very same comet. Indeed, it appears that Sir Isaac was initially perplexed (and rightly so!) about the "extraordinary hairpin turn" that the comet must have made - if Flamsteed's 'single comet theory' were correct.
"Through an intermediary he (Newton) also corresponded about it with John Flamsteed, the astronomer royal, who was convinced that the two appearances were not two comets but a single one which reversed its direction in the vicinity of the sun. He expounded the theory in terms of a fantastic magnetic dynamics, rejected by Newton, who also resisted the notion of a single comet." "Sir Isaac Newton" - by R.S. Westfall (2004) (opens in a new tab)
But let us start from the beginning of this pivotal case of misidentification: on November 14, 1680, the German astronomer Gottfried Kirch first saw an object in his telescope (at about 10h of RA and close to Mars) that was ultimately interpreted as a comet. In reality though, Kirch was doubtful about its cometary nature, as he never detected any tail trailing that object (a rather dull speck of light which he first thought was some previously unobserved nebula). Here’s an extract from a paper titled “First discovery of the Great Comet of 1680”:
”Kirch noticed the comet first at Coburg, early on the morning of the 14th of November, 1680, and seems to have felt a natural pride at being the first to detect a comet with the assistance of a telescope before it had been seen with the naked eye. It was, at the time, not far from the planet Mars, and was just visible to the naked eye. At first, he doubted whether it was a new comet, or a nebula similar to that in the girdle of Andromeda; but its motion soon decided that it was the former.” “First discovery of the great comet of 1680” - by W.T. Lynn (1888) (opens in a new tab)
In short, Kirch saw a faint object in proximity to Mars, moving prograde across the skies. Other observers (e.g. Brattle and Foster) reported that same dull object of November 1680 and, only a month or so later, also reported a far brighter object (with a distinct tail) in the opposed part of our skies. Here’s a brief extract from a Harvard.edu paper:
1680: "Morning comet, observed by Thomas Brattle and John Foster, disappears sometime in November, too close to the Sun to observe."
1681: "Evening comet appears, observed by Thomas Brattle and John Foster. By either genius or ignorance they conclude that this is the same comet as the one they just saw last year."
So we learn that the original object reported by Kirch just disappeared, soon after having been observed on November 14, 1680; about six weeks later, a large comet with a clear tail made its spectacular appearance (in the diagonally-opposed quadrant of our skies) and, after much controversy, it was finally concluded that it must have been the same object that was observed in November. So let’s now see what that dull object first observed in November 1680 by Kirch, Brattle and Foster must have been. As we consult the Tychosium simulator, we find that asteroid Eros was in fact transiting close to Mars (as seen from Earth) on November 14, 1680! In fact, on that very date, the JPL/ NASA simulator has both asteroid EROS and the (supposed) “Great Comet of 1680” transiting at the near-exact same place in our skies!
Furthermore, the Tychosium simulator has EROS passing at 0.43AU from Earth (on November 14, 1680) - while the Wikipedia has “the Great Comet of 1680” passing at 0.42AU from Earth (on November 30, 1680). Now, is anyone inclined to chalk this up to some “accidental coincidence”? As you can see in the above graphic, on 1680-11-14 the JPL simulator places Eros and “Newton's comet” in virtually the same celestial spot. Evidently then, what Kirch (et al) saw in their telescopes on November 14, 1680 was none other than asteroid Eros - which was only discovered (by German astronomer C.G. Witt at the Berlin Observatory) on 13 August 1898, i.e. more than two centuries later!
Then, in late December 1680, a large comet (reputedly “one of the brightest comets of the 17th century”) with an impressive tail suddenly appeared at the opposite side of our planet. Note that, given the radically different aspects of the two objects observed in November and December, one can only wonder why no one objected to the glaringly absurd, ultimate and unanimous conclusion of them being one and the same! Is plain common sense an alien concept to astronomers? Anyhow, as of historical records, this blazing comet was observed to descend in our skies on December 29, 1680 just beneath the small Delphinus star cluster - at about 22h of RA. Well, in the Tychosium simulator, this is precisely the path and location of Halley’s comet on December 29, 1680:
The “Great 1680 comet” as depicted in the Stellarium simulator on December 29, 1680 (opens in a new tab)
Most interestingly, a famous medal was minted back in those days (see bottom left of my above graphic): it depicted the actual location of the “Great Comet of 1680”, just below the Delphinus cluster. A 2012 study by Robert McIvor argues convincingly that the anonymous author of this medal had to be a quite accomplished and rigorous astronomer - having correctly placed the comet in the portion of the sky where it was actually observed.
Source: “Was this 1681 Medal a Lucky Charm or a Star Map?” - by Robert S. McIvor (2012) (opens in a new tab)
We may thus draw the following conclusions regarding what eventually came to be known as "Newton's comet":
On November 14 1680, the first sighting of the alleged “Great Comet of 1680” was mistakenly identified by Kirch as a comet; he was initially doubtful that it was a comet and described it as a "dull" object - in spite of it passing as close as 0.42 AU from the Earth. In reality however, the object he saw was—in all likelihood—the yet-to-be-discovered Near-Earth Asteroid Eros.
Just a month or so later, in late December 1680, a bright, long-tailed comet appeared on the opposite side of our skies and was observed to transit on a descending path beneath the Delphinus cluster at about 22h of RA - which is just where the Tychosium places Halley's comet in late December. This second sighting of the "Great Comet of 1680" was obviously none other than Halley’s comet.
There was no such thing as the “Great Comet of 1680” (which the Wikipedia describes as "one of the brightest comets of the seventeenth century"); it was just the first appearance of Halley’s comet as it approached Earth in December of 1680. Halley’s comet was then again observed in 1681, 1682 and 1683 - but more about that later.
We may therefore assert—beyond reasonable doubt—that the (misidentified) “Great Comet of 1680” was the prime cause that led Sir Isaac Newton to imagine (and formulate mathematically) the absurd, cigar-shaped cometary “orbits”. Until then, most astronomers (including Kepler) had thought that comets moved in straight lines, passing only once across our Solar System - never to return again. Other astronomers thought that comets come in pairs, moving in opposite directions, and we may now understand just why they nurtured such fanciful ideas! In fact, Newton himself had initially argued (in a famous controversy with the Royal Astronomer Flamsteed) that the ‘comet of 1680’ and the ‘comet of 1681’ were two separate comets. Here follows a brief summary of Flamsteed‘s position on this matter:
” In 1680, The Royal Astronomer, John Flamsteed, gathered observational data about a massive comet that passed Earth. At this time, astronomers thought that comets came in pairs: to the general observer, it appeared as though one comet would go past the earth and get lost in the sun, and then another would arrive from the opposite direction. John Flamsteed made extremely accurate observations of this new comet in 1680, and he became convinced that there was only one comet, not a pair of comets. Moreover, he thought that the comet did not move in a circular pattern, but rather, in an ellipse. However, Flamsteed incorrectly believed that the comet only approached the sun and was forcibly repelled by its cosmic rays, which sent it careening back the way it came. He did not think that it traveled around the sun.” “John Flamsteed, Isaac Newton, and the Comet of 1680” - Obscure Histories website (opens in a new tab)
In conclusion, Newton’s mind was misled by one single spurious (and ruinous) astronomical observation which was reported to him (i.e. the sighting of asteroid Eros in November 1680). It is hard to overstate the import and dire consequences of this discombobulated episode of science history, since it spurred the very idea of those bizarre, cigar-shaped cometary paths and their tight ‘U-turns’ around the Sun. Ironically, this unfortunate mix up (between an asteroid and a comet) effectively elevated Isaac Newton to near-Godlike status. Today, to dare question his sacrosanct “Principia Mathematica” treatise (which contains a huge fold-out diagram of his imagined trajectory of “the Great Comet of 1680”) is tantamount to heresy.
Recommended reading: “A Change of Mind: Newton and the Comet(s?) of 1680 and 1681” - by David Topper “A Change of Mind: Newton and the Comet(s?) of 1680 and 1681” - by David Topper (opens in a new tab)
The bizarre reports of comet Halley's 1758 return
Two very odd circumstances (in Germany and in France) surround the famed return of Comet Halley in 1758, another all-important event which, as mentioned earlier, was hailed as “the triumph and definitive confirmation” of Edmond Halley’s and Isaac Newton’s theories and predictions.
ODD CIRCUMSTANCE N°1: In Germany, a wealthy potato farmer and amateur astronomer named Georg Palitzsch was credited to have first observed the return of the famous comet, on December 25, 1758. Strangely enough, the official / scholarly Dresden document that announced his finding made no mention that it was, in fact, the comet predicted by Edmond Halley. As viewed under 'the TYCHOS lens', we may now envision the reasons for this inexplicable omittance: Palitzsch had observed the long-awaited comet approaching from the 'wrong side of our skies' - with respect to what everyone was expecting! Here’s a brief overview of these events - as related by Gary A. Becker:
“What was indeed remarkable about his find was that Palitzsch had succeeded in winning the competition against some of the best professional astronomers in Europe, who were also searching for the comet, and who were much better equipped to recover it first. To their embarrassment, Palitzsch’s discovery came four weeks prior to the next independent sighting, which was made by the great French astronomer and comet seeker, Charles Messier (1730-1817). Messier sighted the comet on January 21, 1759. He had been jealously anticipating that he would win the competition to see it first, and rightfully so, for his search had been in progress for about 18 months. The first published announcement of Palitzsch’s find occurred the day before Messier independently saw the comet. Hofmann wrote an article which appeared in the second part of the Dresden Scholarly Announcement of 1759 under the title, “Report of the Comet which has been seen since the 25th of December.” Curiously enough, the document made no claim that this was the comet predicted by Halley over one-half century earlier. (...) Already European astronomers had been fooled twice in announcing that Dr. Halley’s comet had returned. One of these visitors was observed in the fall of 1757, while the other was seen just a few months earlier during the summer of 1758. ” “The Christmas Comet of Johann Palitzsch” – by Gary A. Becker (opens in a new tab)
ODD CIRCUMSTANCE N° 2: In France, an even stranger episode took place; as the young Charles Messier ‘rediscovered’ Halley’s comet in his telescope on January 21, 1759 (almost four weeks after Palitzsch), he promptly shared his finding with his allegedly bad-tempered old boss, Joseph-Nicolas Delisle. Inexplicably, Delisle immediately ordered Messier to keep the finding a secret! In fact, Delisle announced the arrival of Halley's comet only on April 1, and we shall soon see why he might have decided to postpone this announcement precisely to that date of April 1...
” Charles Messier (1730-1817) rediscovered the comet on 21 January 1759 and followed it until 5 February, where it came too close to the Sun to remain observable. But Messier was only the assistant of Joseph-Nicolas Delisle (1688-1768). Delisle, who wanted to be the first to report the discovery to the Academy of Sciences, imposed the secret to Messier. The other Parisian astronomers, for their part, feared the wrath of Delisle, who had a bad temper, and did not attempt to find the comet. However, on April 1, Delisle and La Caille received a letter from Germany announcing the rediscovery of the comet by Palitzsch. Disaster! Unless completely losing face, it was no longer possible to keep the secret: Messier announced to several members of the Academy that he had seen the comet on 21 January and had also just seen it again that very night. He traced the route of the comet on a large map that he and Delisle presented to the king. The official announcement of the rediscovery by the Academy of Sciences took place only on April 25. This was very late; the comet was now very bright and easily seen.” “Halley’s, the first periodic comet” - Comets: from myths to reality (opens in a new tab)
Here’s an interesting extract from David Levy’s “Guide to Observing and Discovering comets” which headline is “THE COMET FERRET” (the nickname of the famed comet-hunter Charles Messier whose obsession in discovering new comets and asteroids became legendary):
These bizarre and puzzling (yet well-documented) events bring up three obvious questions:
A: Why wasn’t Palitzsch’s comet of December 25, 1758 initially announced as being Halley’s comet - although he is today recognized as the man who first witnessed its 1758 return?
B: Why did Delisle order Messier, his young assistant, to keep quiet about his January 21, 1759 sighting?
C: Why did the Academy of Sciences delay until April 25, 1759 their announcement of Halley’s approach?
With the help of the Tychosium similator, I shall now present an illustrated hypothesis as to what may well have prompted all of these oddities - and provide plausible answers to each of the above questions (A, B and C) :
A: Palitzsch’s sightings of December 1758 were initially questioned, as he apparently never reported (to my best knowledge) the positional / ephemeris data for the comet. Even if he did so, the scholars in Dresden must have promptly dismissed his observations as spurious; this, because in December 1758, Halley’s was transiting in the 'wrong' part of our skies (with respect to its expected approach path). Moreover - and further compounding the 'problem' - it was then moving PROGRADE! Remember: Halley’s comet is officially thought to only ever move RETROGRADE (i.e., in the opposed direction of our surrounding planets).
B: Delisle is reported to have witnessed his young assistant’s discovery in their telescope (around January 21, 1759). He must have been totally horrified to see that the comet was moving in PROGRADE direction. He therefore ordered Messier to keep quiet about his discovery, for reasons that we can only conjecture about. However, what we do know is that Deslisle finally announced the comet's arrival on April 1, 1759. Now, and this is where it gets truly fishy: it so happens that the Tychosium simulator has Halley's reversing direction only two days earlier - on March 30, 1759! One wonders what Sherlock Holmes would have made out of all this.
C: On April 25, 1759, the Academy of Sciences happily announced to the world the passage of Halley’s - the comet having by then long reversed direction (as viewed from Earth) and was now 'safely' moving RETROGRADE. The Newtonian (and Copernican) theories were thus salvaged - along with the pride, reputation and credibility of the entire world’s scientific community.
You may now justly ask yourselves: why was Messier, the man hailed as the greatest comet-finder of all times, ‘beaten to the punch’ by the German potato farmer & amateur astronomer - even though he spent 18 months feverishly scouring the skies for comet Halley’s all-important 1758 return? Well, here’s what we may read on the Italian Wikipedia:
“Messier showed great will on that occasion, spending the nights of nearly 18 months at the top of the observatory tower looking for the comet in an area of the sky where it could not be (his chart was simply wrong).” "Charles Messier" - Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)
That’s right: the great astronomer Charles Messier spent 18 months feverishly—yet vainly—looking for comet Halley’s return in the wrong part of our skies! This major blunder by a legendary observer of our skies provides further evidence that Copernican astronomers have been helplessly confounded with regards to the kinematics of cometary motions due to their dogmatic attachment to heliocentrism.
You may now rightly ask yourselves: ”Are there any historical reports of comets observed a year or two before or after Halley’s ‘official’ passages? And if so, can it be shown that they were, in fact, Halley’s comet”? The answers to these two questions are in the affirmative. I like to call them the ‘Coincidental Comets’ and, as we shall see, practically all recorded passages of Halley's comet have been preceded or succeeded by sightings of other supposedly unrelated comets. Of course, the odds of other, unrelated comets consistently appearing just around each visit of Halley's comet to our Solar System are, pardon the pun, simply astronomical.
In astronomy almanachs, one may find scores of observational reports of comets that just happened (‘coincidentally’, 'accidentally' - or 'by pure chance') to pass close to the Earth one or two years prior to / or after any given return of Halley's comet. The sightings of these 'Coincidental Comets' - as we shall call them - were systematically dismissed as being Halley's comet. And this, for two main reasons:
If the sighted object was observed in a part of our sky incompatible with the generally-accepted theory of Halley's celestial trajectory.
If the sighted object was observed to move 'prograde' (i.e. in the same direction of our planets), since Halley's comet is believed to only ever move 'retrograde' (i.e. in the opposite direction of our planets).
Consequently, these ‘Coincidental Comets’ were never identified as Halley's comet and were given other names (e.g. “The Great Comet of 1680” - a.k.a. "Newton's Comet", "Dunlop's comet", "Gambart's comet", “Boguslawski’s comet”, “The Great January Comet of 1910”, "Machholz's comet", etc.) and each one of them have been classified as ‘non-periodic’ comets (i.e. comets whose orbital periods are unknown). That's right: 'non-periodic' comets are believed to have passed only once across our Solar System - never to return again! As we go along, it should gradually become evident that each of these 'Coincidental Comets' were, in actuality and in all logic, none other than Halley's comet.
Halley's 1682 passage
Let us start with the ‘Coincidental Comets’ (of 1680, 1681 and 1683) surrounding the 'officially-sanctioned' passage of Halley’s comet in 1682. In the astronomy literature, we may find reports of as many as three other sightings of comets between 1680 and 1683, supposedly unrelated to Halley's (including "Newton's Comet of 1680" as already discussed above).
Caption: "The illustration shows a view of Augsburg, Germany with the comets of 1680, 1682 (Halley’s Comet), and 1683 in the sky. Credit: NASA/JPL" Source: “What is Halley's Comet?” - Universe Today (opens in a new tab)
As we saw above, the first sighting occurred on 14 November 1680 (the ‘Great Comet of 1680’, also called ‘Newton’s Comet’), but the tailless object observed was in actuality asteroid Eros. On 29 December 1680 it was seen descending beneath the Delphinus cluster at about 22h of RA. According to the history books, it was last observed by Sir Isaac Newton on 19 March 1681, “by which time its heliocentric distance had increased to 2.2 AU”* (and in fact, the Tychosium shows Halley’s comet transiting at about 2.2 AU from the Sun on that date). A comet was subsequently observed by Robert Hooke on 20 August 1682 as it passed at about 0.4 AU from Earth—and this one was later officially deemed to be Halley’s comet. Finally, on 13 July 1683, Hooke reported seeing a (non-identified) comet. The Tychosium 3D simulator can show how, with the exception of Eros, all these ‘coincidental comets’ were nothing but misidentified sightings of Halley’s comet itself.
Halley’s path between 1680 and 1683 (Note that at positions "C" and "E", Halley's comet would have been swamped in the glare of daylight. Hence, no reports of sightings around those dates are to be found).
A detailed description and celestial map of Edmond Halley's own, crucial observations of 'his' comet between 26 August 26 and 9 September 1682, can be found at the Harvard.edu archives. As anyone can easily verify by perusing the Tychosium simulator, the TYCHOS model's proposed 1682 trajectory of Halley's comet is in excellent agreement with the same. "Edmond Halley’s observations of Halley’s comet" - by Hughes & Drummond (1984) (opens in a new tab)
Halley's 1759 passage
Let us now take another brief look into Halley’s comet most famous and controversial passage in 1759 - as already discussed above.
The "Atlas Of Great Comets" has Halley's comet passing closest to Earth (on April 26, 1759) at 0.1225AU
The Tychosium also has Halley’s comet passing closest to Earth (on April 26, 1759 / 10:20 UTC) at 0.1225AU!
Astronomy literature mentions two other comets which, 'coincidentally', were observed in the two preceding years (in September 1757 and in August 1758). Yet, both were promptly dismissed by the most illustrious astronomers of the time as being sightings of Halley’s comet:
As shown by the Tychosium however, Halley's comet would have been within the Sun's orbit and visible from the Earth in mid-1757 and mid-1758. Messier and his fellow comet hunters were therefore justified in believing that they had detected the arrival of Halley's comet.
Halley's 1835 passage
The attentive reader will sense where this is going, but there is more - much more - to come. Let's proceed one step at a time and see what happened around the next passage of the famous comet. Two comets were observed in 1834 and in 1833, 'coincidentally' only one and two years before Halley's 'official' 1835 passage. The cometary sightings of 1833 and 1834 are described in a French paper titled "Sur les orbites des deux comètes de 1833 et 1834". "Sur les orbites des deux comètes de 1833 et 1834" - by L. Schulhof (1889) (opens in a new tab)
As it is, according to the Tychosium, Halley's comet made three successive perigee passages (quite close to the Earth) on August 25, 1833 (0.27 AU), on June 11, 1834 (0.39 AU) and on April 11, 1835 (0.44 AU). Each one of them were actually observed somewhat later than each of those perigee dates, yet none of them were recognized as being Halley's comet. In fact, they are now known as "Dunlop's comet" (1833), "Gambart's comet" (1834) and "Boguslawski's comet" (1835). So let us take a closer look at these three "Coincidental Comets" and see if they may all have been misidentified transits of none other than comet Halley.
Dunlop's comet of 1833
On October 15, 1833 ‘Dunlop’s comet’ (C/1833 S1 Dunlop) was observed to transit in our skies at approximately 17h of RA. Source: “Observations of a Comet in 1833, and of another in 1834, observed at Paramatta by Mr. Dunlop” (1835) (opens in a new tab)
On October 15, 1833 the Tychosium simulator also has Halley's comet transiting at approximately 17h of RA.
Interestingly, the most spectacular meteor shower in recent memory took place on November 12, 1833. Source: "The Horrifying Leonid Meteor Shower of 1833 That Made Some People Think The World Was Ending" - by Andrew Martin (2022) (opens in a new tab). Well, the Tychosium shows Halley's comet (or, if you will, "Dunlop's comet") making its closest passage to the Earth (0.272 AU) on August 25, 1833; as it does so, we see that its path - approaching from the Pisces constellation and moving towards Leo - would plausibly have put it in a collision course with the annual Leonid meteor shower, thus causing that exceptional and memorable meteoric spectacle.
Gambart's comet of 1834
On March 10, 1834,‘Gambart's comet’ (C/1834 E1 Gambart) was observed to be transiting in our skies at approximately 20h of RA. Source: "Cometography: Volume 2, 1800-1899: A Catalog of Comets" - by Kronk, Meyer and Seargent (1999) (opens in a new tab)
On March 10, 1834 The Tychosium simulator has Halley's comet transiting at approximately 21h of RA.
Now, since both "Dunlop's" and "Gambart's" comets were observed to move in prograde direction (i.e. in the same direction as our planets), they were never considered as being possible 'early sightings' of comet Halley. However, the Tychosium simulator tells a different story: the three cometary sightings of 1833, 1834 and 1835 are very much consistent with Halley's "Tychosian" trochoidal trajectory. As seems to be invariably the case with those "Coincidental Comets" that have been observed within a year or two of Halley's 'official' passages, the so-called "Dunlop and Gambart comets" are classified in astronomy textbooks as 'non-periodic', meaning that they have only ever been observed once, and that no one knows if they will ever return again! As some might justly say: "you couldn't make this up!"
"Boguslawski's comet" of April 1835
According to official tables, comet Halley transited at perihelion (i.e. closest to the Sun) in November 1835. Yet, a distinguished astronomer (and director of the Breslau observatory) named Ludwik von Boguslawski had observed a comet in April 1835 - and was even awarded a 'gold comet medal' for it:
”Palm Heinrich Ludwik von Boguslawski, (1789-1851) was a Polish/German professor of astronomy and head of the observatory in Breslau. Boguslawski discovered a comet in April 1835 and calculated its course. For this he was awarded the first gold comet medal and the comet was named after him.“ Source: “Letter from Palm Heinrich Ludwik von Boguslawski” - Uppsala Universitet (opens in a new tab)
In the Catalog of Comets (1800-1899), I then found this precious description of the exact celestial positions of "Boguslawski’s comet”:
Source: “Cometography, Volume 2" (1800-1899) - by Gary W. Kronk
On April 21, 1835 Boguslawski observed "his comet" transiting at RA: 11h58min and DECL: -12°07'
On April 21, 1835 the Tychosium simulator has Halley's comet at RA: 11h50min and DECL: -12°56'
Moreover, "Boguslawski's new comet" was calculated at the time to have passed closest to Earth on April 11, 1835.
And sure enough, according to the Tychosium, Halley's comet transited closest to Earth precisely on April 11, 1835.
You may now ask : "has Boguslawski's comet returned to Earth since then?". No, it was only ever seen in 1835 - never to return again. Of course, it should now be perfectly clear why “Boguslawski’s comet” never reappeared: it was - beyond reasonable doubt - none other than Halley’s comet.
Here is how the three mis-identified passages of Halley's comet (by Dunlop, Gambart and Boguslawski) can be "mapped" in the Tychosium:
Now, what you need to know is that the most illustrious French & British astronomers of the time were all expecting Halley's comet to return in the month of November 1835 (i.e. about 7 months later than the appearance of "Boguslawski's comet” in April 1835). This prognostication had attained some sort of general consensus, but only following intense academic debates and intricate calculi involving gravitational and 'non-gravitational' perturbations (believed to significantly alter the comet's orbital speed). Hence, we may assume that those French & British bigwigs were more than happy to let Prof. Boguslawski give his name to this 'vexing' comet that showed up several months earlier than officially-predicted. The same can of course be said with regards to Dunlop's and Gambart's comets even earlier sightings; surely their calculations for Halley's return could not possibly be in error by more than two years?... In any event, the fact that the Tychosium is able to 'chart' the observed positions of each one of these three "Coincidental Comets" in accordance with the principles of the TYCHOS model constitutes spectacular corroboration of the same.
Halley's 1910 passage
Let us now take a look at comet Halley’s 1910 passage which caused quite a stir: the newspapers of the time ran terror stories about how the Earth would be enveloped by the comet's tail (thought to contain deadly hydrogen cyanide) - and that we were all going to die. In fact, a worldwide panic ensued, similar in many ways to our modern-day 'pandemic' scares diffused by the mainstream media corporations:
"In 1910, Halley’s Comet was due to pass close by Earth — and everyone from religious fanatics to news reporters stoked the fires of a global panic, believing it was the end of the world. (...) The scientific debate didn’t stop less scrupulous people from taking advantage of the situation. Suddenly, anti-comet pills flooded the market. One promised to serve as an elixir for escaping the wrath of the heavens. Gas masks became best-sellers and some even bought up “comet-protecting umbrellas.” The Story Of The Apocalyptic Frenzy Inspired By The Arrival Of Halley’s Comet In 1910 (opens in a new tab)
The 1910 transit of Halley's comet was preceded by telescopic observations in 1908 and 1909 of its approach. This time around, some astronomers actually made drawings of the comet’s observed path - as it approached our Solar System. In the below graphic, I compare their diagram with how the Tychosium simulator traces comet Halley’s approach in 1908 and 1909.;
Source of above diagram of comet Halley's approach in 1908-1909: "The Popular Science Monthly" - January 1910. The Popular Science Monthly - January 1910 edition (opens in a new tab)
The Tychosium simulator has Halley’s comet passing between the Sun and the Earth at close distance (0.24 AU) on 1910-05-19, at about 4h of RA (in Taurus), just as recorded and documented in the astronomy annals. We shall now see that what astronomers know as "The Great Daylight Comet" (or “ The "Great January Comet of 1910" - a.k.a. C/1910 A1) was, once again, none other than Halley's comet.
The "Great Daylight Comet" of 1910
The so-called "Great Daylight Comet" (which was observed only for a brief period of time, i.e. during the 2nd half of January 1910) was located in a portion of our skies (around 19h of RA and -21° of DECL) which was wholly incompatible with the 'official' path of Halley's comet. Thus, astronomers assumed that it could not possibly have been Halley's comet (which was expected to pass close to Earth in May 1910 - which it did) and that it must therefore have been an entirely different object which just happened to pass, coincidentally, in our solar neighborhood just a few months earlier... Here's an extract from the Wikipedia:
"The Great January Comet of 1910, formally designated C/1910 A1 and often referred to as the Daylight Comet, was a comet which appeared in January 1910. It was already visible to the naked eye when it was first noticed, and many people independently "discovered" the comet. At its brightest, it outshone the planet Venus, and was possibly the brightest comet of the 20th century. The comet brightened rather suddenly, and was initially visible from the southern hemisphere only. A number of individuals claimed "discovery", but the comet is thought to have been first spotted by diamond miners in the Transvaal before dawn on January 12, 1910, by which time it was already a prominent naked-eye object of apparent magnitude −1." "Great January Comet of 1910" - Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)
Here's a more detailed account of some sightings of the "Great Daylight Comet"of 1910 - once more from the Southern Hemisphere:
"In 1910, the world awaited the return of the famous Comet Halley in May. However, the unexpected arrival of a bright comet in mid-January created much fear and awe. Deemed the Great Daylight Comet of 1910, it was bright enough to be seen during the day and at its peak, was brighter than Venus. It began to fade away in early February, followed a few months later by the arrival of the fainter, but still significant, Comet Halley. When Comet Halley returned in 1986, many of the older people around the world who recalled seeing it in 1910 had clearly described the Great Daylight Comet of 1910 and not Halley. In 1985 Jack Butler, a Jiwarli man from the Henry River in Western Australia, told of a “star with a tail in the east” he saw early in the year 1910 as a child. The comet caused fear among the elder men who “questioned what it was”. When the comet faded away, then men were confused and wondered where it had gone. According to Butler, the object he saw in 1910 was Comet Halley. However, the Great Daylight Comet of 1910 was prominent in the morning twilight, consistent with the “star with a tail in the east” visible early in the year. Therefore, it is probable that Butler was describing the Great Daylight Comet of 1910 rather than Comet Halley." "Comets in Australian Aboriginal Astronomy" - by Hamacher and Norris (opens in a new tab)
Here we have yet another account of the "Great Daylight Comet" (a.k.a. the "Great January Comet"):
Great January Comet of 1910. The first people to see this comet - then already at first magnitude - were workmen at the Transvaal Premier Diamond Mine in South Africa on Jan. 13, 1910. Two days later, three men at a railway station in nearby Kopjes casually watched the object for 20 minutes before sunrise, assuming that it was Halley's Comet. Later that morning, the editor of the local Johannesburg newspaper telephoned the Transvaal Observatory for a comment. The observatory's director, Robert Innes, must have initially thought this sighting was a mistake, since Halley's Comet was not in that part of the sky and nowhere near as conspicuous. Innes looked for the comet the following morning, but clouds thwarted his view. However, on the morning of Jan. 17, he and an assistant saw the comet, shining sedately on the horizon just above where the sun was about to rise. Later, at midday, Innes viewed it as a snowy-white object, brighter than Venus, several degrees from the sun. He sent out a telegram alerting the world to expect "Drake's Comet" - for so "Great Comet" sounded to the telegraph operator. It was visible during the daytime for a couple more days, then moved northward and away from the sun, becoming a stupendous object in the evening sky for the rest of January in the Northern Hemisphere. Ironically, many people in 1910 who thought they had seen Halley's Comet instead likely saw the Great January Comet that appeared about three months before Halley.” “The 9 most brilliant Comets ever seen” - space.com (opens in a new tab)
So let us review the various tidbits of information that we have regarding this particular comet sighting:
It was observed only for a couple of weeks (during the 2nd part of January 1910) and then faded out of sight, never to return ever again.
It was quite low in our skies - and was therefore only visible from locations in the southern hemisphere such as South Africa and Australia.
It was seen to be gradually ascending in our skies - and to move prograde, i.e. in the same direction of our planets. This was probably the main reason (along with the fact that it was 'in the wrong place' in our skies) why astronomers promptly dismissed it as being Halley’s comet.
Above: Halley's position in mid-January 1910 - according to the Tychosium simulator
As you can see, the Tychosium has Halley's comet passing in mid-January 1910 right around the celestial location described by the eye-witnesses of the "Great Daylight Comet" (at approximately RA19h and DECL-20°). Jack Butler in Australia would, for instance, have seen it "in the east, in the morning twilight". It then gradually rose up in the sky, "becoming a stupendous object in the evening sky for the rest of January in the Northern Hemisphere" (as was also reported). And in fact, the Tychosium shows it ascending in our skies (between January and May 1910) from about -20° to +20° of declination. Remember that Halley's comet passed quite close to Earth (0.24 AU) on May 19, 1910 at about 4h of RA - and that both the Tychosium and official ephemeris data agree about this. Clearly then, the reason why astronomers failed to realize that the "Great Daylight Comet" and Halley's comet were one-and-the-same - in spite of being separated by only a few months - is due to their misunderstanding of the comet's orbital motions (which of course derives from their ill-founded heliocentric world view).
"Machholz's comet" of 1985
We shall now take a close look at the most recent transit(s) of Halley's comet in 1985/1986. Before we get started, please keep in mind that the latest passage of Halley's comet around April 1986 was, notoriously and by all accounts, a terrible disappointment. The comet was barely visible with the naked eye and those who got a glimpse of it described it as a faint speck of light (with a minuscule tail). Now, since the Tychosium simulator has Halley's comet also passing close to Earth about ten months earlier (in mid-1985), I was naturally drawn to investigate whether any proficient observational astronomers had seen it around mid-1985 as it would have been approaching our planet. Sure enough, I soon found that a most accomplished 'comet hunter', Donald Machholz, had observed a comet approaching Earth in May 1985. In fact, the object he observed now bears his name: "C/1985 K1 Machholz".
"Donald Edward Machholz, born October 7, 1952 in Portsmouth, Virginia, is an American amateur astronomer who is the leading visual comet discoverer, credited with the visual discovery of 12 comets that bear his name." "Donald Machholz" - Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)
For some odd reason, this particular comet ("C/1985 K1 Machholz") discovered by Machholz is nowhere to be found on the English version of the Wikipedia online encyclopedia. Luckily though, it can be found on the Italian version of the same (my translation):
"C/1985 K1 (Machholz) is a non-periodic comet discovered on 27 May 1985, the second comet discovered by US astrophile Donald Edward Machholz. According to the ephemeris, the comet was supposed to reach magnitude 4a to 5a between the end of June and the beginning of July 1985. In fact, the comet, which was very poorly positioned for observations as it was extremely close to the Sun, after being observed at 7.6a in the first half of June was no longer observed until four days before perihelion when it was observed in the infrared." "C/1985 K1 Machholz" - Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)
So let's see: "Machholz's 1985 comet" eventually came extremely close to the Sun; it was expected to reach 4a to 5a (i.e. within naked-eye view - the threshold of which is around 6a); however, this never happened: after being viewed (telescopically) at 7.6a in the first half of June it disappeared from view and was only observed in the infrared a short while later. Most importantly, please note that Machholz's 1985 comet is classified as a "non-periodic" comet: in other words, no one knows if it will ever return in our skies... We are thus asked to believe that the "Machholz 1985 comet" just passed - by pure chance - very close to the Earth in mid-1985 (just around the time that Halley's comet was expected to arrive in our skies), never to return again!
On May 27 1985, Machholz discovered "his comet" with a home-made cardboard telescope, from a mountain called Loma Prieta (California). On that night, at about 4am local time (13:00 UTC), he recorded the location of "his comet" at RA: 0h49m and DECL: +15°08'. Now, on that very same date and time, we find that the Tychosium simulator has Halley's comet transiting at RA: 0h37m and DECL: +15°09'!
Evidently, the comet that Donald Machholz observed in 1985 was none other than Halley's comet. Once more, it is up for the readers to judge for themselves whether this was just yet another "Coincidental Comet' that just happened to appear just as Halley's comet was expected to arrive and - what's more - in a celestial location consistent with that predicted by the Tychosium simulator.
So far, we have covered all of comet Halley's transits between 1682 and 1986 and shown that they all featured "Coincidental Comets" passing a year or two before or after the 'officially-sanctioned' transits of our most famous comet. So let us now gradually step backwards in time and investigate a number of earlier passages of Halley’s comet, starting from the year 1531 - and all the way back to ancient times.
Halley's 1531 passage
As of the documented reports, Halley’s comet would have beeh observed just once around the year 1531. However, we may find astronomy writings that refer to a spectacular passage of a comet in 1533 - as described by Wolfgang Kokott in this 1981 paper:
Once again, the Tychosium simulator can show that Halley’s did indeed make close approaches to Earth in 1531, 1532 and 1533:
Halley's 1456 passage
Here’s what we can read in a book titled “Astronomical Enigmas” - by Prof. Mark Kidger:
"There was no bright comet in 1455, but Halley did notice that one was observed in 1456, which he suspected was his comet, although he did not calculate its orbit. Actually, besides the one in 1456, there were two bright comets in 1457 and another in 1458, which somewhat confused the issue." Source: “Astronomical Enigmas" - by Mark Kidger (2005) (opens in a new tab)
Once again, the Tychosium simulator shows that Halley’s comet may well have been observed in 1456, 1457 and 1458:
Halley's 1380 passage
According to the official tables, Halley’s comet would have passed close to the Earth in 1378. However, it was reported in the catalogues of Alstédius and Lubienietski that “two comets had also been observed in 1379 and 1380”. Source: “A History of Halley’s Comet” - by Gustave De Pontécoulant (1835) (opens in a new tab)
Once again, the Tychosium simulator shows that Halley’s comet may well have been observed in 1378, 1379 and 1380:
Halley's 1305 passage
Well, this one is a true oddball, since modern tables now has Halley’s comet passing, inexplicably, in 1301! It is a veritable mystery that this most spectacular 1305 passage (as reported in scores of vintage literature) has now been "erased" in the official Halley roster - and replaced with the year 1301. And this, in spite of the fact that Edmond Halley himself used the well-documented 1305 passage for his famed calculations of the comet's return! On the other hand, there seem to exist little or no dependable reports of the supposed "1301 Halley passage" in astronomy literature. Instead, what you will find are vague, popular conjectures that Italy's famous painter Giotto "may have personally witnessed the comet in 1301" - and that this would have inspired him to depict the comet (as the star of Betlehem) in one of his masterworks, the "Adoration of the Magi" - which is known to have been completed in... 1305!
As it is, two 'other' comets were actually observed in February 1304 and then in January 1305 - yet neither one was deemed to be Halley's comet.
"The dating of Giotto's 'Adoration' is unfortunately not exact so while the bright comet of February 1304 seems to be the most probable we cannot rule out the comet that reached perihelion in January 1305" "Giotto's Comet - was it the Comet of 1304 and not Comet Halley?" - by David W, Hughes (1992) (opens in a new tab)
Once again, the Tychosium simulator can show that Halley’s comet did indeed make close approaches to Earth between 1304 and 1305. Much like in 1985-1986, it was the second passage, in 1305, which was best visible from Earth, whereas the passage of 1304 was largely swamped in the Sun’s glare. Note that 1305 AD and 1986 AD are separated by 681 years, or 3 x 227, or 9 x 75.667.
We have now reviewed each and everyone of comet Halley’s 10 passages between 1305 and 1986 and shown that the Tychosium is not only in excellent agreement with them all, but can also show that the “Coincidental Comets” that were observed a year or two before and after each of these ‘official’ passages of the famous comet were, demonstrably, none other than Halley’s comet itself. We have also shown that Halley’s does not have any sort of random or “chaotic” periodicity - but returns regularly every 75.667 years. Since this 75.667-year periodicity appears to be quite stable and reliable, we shall now boldly 'travel' even further back in time and probe a number of ancient accounts of its passages. Along the way, we shall keep verifying the long-term, secular accuracy of the Tychosium simulator against a series of fairly well-documented events and historical records from antiquity. .
Was Hipparchus’ new “star” of 134 B.C. - in fact - Halley’s comet?
“In 134 B.C., Hipparchus noticed a star that he had never seen before in the constellation Scorpius. Unsure whether this was a new star or one that he simply hadn’t noticed, he began to compile the first star catalog, showing the positions of the stars in the sky.” Source: “The Ancient World” - Geneseo.edu (opens in a new tab)
Perhaps the best-known observational account by Hipparchus (the greatest astronomer of antiquity) is this brief sighting of a new “star” that he had never seen before. Incidentally, this is reminiscent of the sighting of a supernova by Tycho Brahe, an event which, by all accounts, triggered his interest for astronomy. Now, most popular astronomy texts (e.g. Wikipedia) will tell you that what Hipparchus had observed in 134 B.C. also was a supernova; however, it has later been remarked that what Hipparchus saw (in the constellation Scorpius, in 134 BC) was, in fact, most likely a comet:
“According to Pliny, the appearance of a new star in 134 B.C inspired Hipparchus to compile a star catalogue, the earliest known, which gave the coordinates of more than 1,000 stars. The third-century historian Justin, however, makes it clear that the new “star” Hipparchus saw was actually a comet, a fact that is confirmed by Chinese annals for that year.” Source: “Historical Supernovas” - by F. Richard Stephenson and David H. Clark (1976) (opens in a new tab)
As it is, even the Chinese observed the 134 B.C. comet (which they named “the Standard of Tch’e-yeou”):
”There can, I think, be little doubt that the Standard of Tch’e-yeou, appearing in 134 B.C., was identical with the new star observed by Hipparchus and begotten in his age, as recorded by Pliny. The record of the observation follows a series of cometary observations, and this alone renders it probable that the new star at least resembled a comet.” Source: “The new star of Hipparchus, and the dates of the birth and accession of Mithridates” - by J.K. Fotheringham (1918) (opens in a new tab)
The Chinese annals report the 134 BC comet passing in June or July of that year. Alas, it seems that no reports can be found in the astronomy literature regarding the exact month (of 134 BC) in which Hipparchus himself witnessed that new "star” appearing in the Scorpius constellation.
Was the famous MITHRADATES 135 B.C. comet - in fact - HALLEY’s comet?
History books report that a giant comet appeared in the sky around 135 BC at the birth of Mithradates, the 'King of Kings' who opposed the Roman Empire.
"Mithridates’ comet" of 135 BCE is said to have appeared in the constellation of Pegasus - and that it "lit up the sky for 70 days":
"Justin, in his c. 2nd-3rd century CE epitome, which was itself a summation of an earlier historical work by Pompeius Trogus dated sometime to the 1st century BCE, claims that Mithridates’ birth coincided with the passage of a comet through the sky which “lit up the sky for seventy days”. (...) Justin makes the only mention of such a phenomenon in the literary sources on Mithridates, and for years it was assumed that the story of the comet was just a legend. As Ramsey, however, has shown, astronomical records from the Han Empire in China have confirmed the passage of a comet through the sky for the period of c. 135 BCE and thus there may in fact be some factual basis behind Justin’s account." "The Characterisation of Mithridates VI in Appian’s Mithridateios" - by Daniel Hunter (2022) (opens in a new tab)
Here's a most interesting extract from a book titled "The Greatest Comets In History", by David Seargent:
Take note of Seargent's acute and incontestable remark: "The chance of two such brilliant objects with unusually long tails appearing so close together in time [i.e. 135 BC and 134 BC] seems too remote to be accepted without very good supporting evidence".
We may then find these interesting details regarding the birth (and conception) of Mithridates - courtesy of historian John T. Ramsey:
"THE STAR appeared in the East, so brilliant that it seemed to rival the sun and set the night sky aflame. The luminous tail curved across a quarter of the heavens, as long as the Milky Way. The year was 135 BC. John T. Ramsey, a historian who studies ancient observations of celestial events, recently reexamined these independent Chinese observations of the comets to determine the years of Mithradates’ birth and the beginning of his reign. Ancient Greek and Latin sources are inconsistent about the chronology of this period; the only secure date is the year of Mithradates’ death in 63 BC. Ramsey’s comparison of the Roman and Chinese astronomical details indicates that Mithradates was probably born in the spring of 134 BC (conceived in summer or autumn of 135) and was crowned king in about 119, when he was fourteen or fifteen. At least two Roman sources agree with the birthdate of 135/134." "A Savior Is Born in a Castle by the Sea" - erenow.net (opens in a new tab)
So, according to historian John T. Ramsey, Mithradates was conceived in the summer or autumn of 135 BC - and was born in the spring of 134 BC. Moreover, at least two Roman sources agree with the birthdate of 135/134 BC. Additionally, we have these other pieces of information concerning the comet of 135 BC :
"Chinese sources record the occurrence of a comet in 135 BC, the year of Mithridates birth. This comet appeared in the constellation of Pegasus." Thesis by Victoria Monica Gyori (2013) (opens in a new tab)
The Chinese records actually have two entries for comets observed in the year 135 BC. The first record states that it was "observed in the west, in July 135 BC - while the second record states that it was "observed in the east, in September 135 BC." Source: "Observations of Comets, from B.C. 611 to A.D. 1649" - by John Williams (opens in a new tab)
Let us now recap what we have gathered so far from the above-referenced history texts:
A most spectacular comet was observed in the Pegasus constellation around mid-135 BC that "lit up the sky for 70 days". Chinese annals report "a comet in the west" on July 135 BC.
Chinese records also report "a comet in the east" that was observed around September of 135BC.
Mithridates was, according to historian John T. Ramsey, "probably born in the spring of 134 BC".
Other Chinese records also report a comet that was observed in July 134 BC.
Hipparchus saw a comet (that he thought was a new "star") in the year 134 BC - in the Scorpius constellation.
Let us now go to the Tychosium simulator and see just where it places Halley's comet around the years 135 BC and 134 BC:
Astounding, isn't it? The Tychosium simulator can show Halley's comet transiting (in the years 135 and 134 BC) in as many as 5 celestial locations consistent with a wide variety of historical cometary observations and related literature! We may therefore assert that these numerous, multi-sourced accounts all concur to corroborate the validity and exactitude of the Tychosium - since it is in excellent agreement with the same.
(Please note that the official roster of Halley's comet contains no passage anywhere near the year 135 BC: officially, the famous comet is believed to have passed in 164 BC - and then in 87 BC. Hence, no astronomers or historians have ever realized or suggested that the "Great Mithradates Comet of 135 BC" - nor that the "new star" observed by Hipparchus in 134 BC - were none other than Halley's comet.)
It should also be noted that there are numerous problems with the current official ('European') roster of Halley's ancient passages. Most of these have been, in fact, 'cherry-picked' from various Chinese annals (containing innumerable sightings of different comets over the ages); the Russian revisionist historians A.T.Fomenko and G.V.Nosovskiy have performed a thorough analysis and critique (linked below) as to how these ancient Chinese records were 'made to fit' the complex European computations of comet Halley's returns. Their paper, which has its own flaws and inaccuracies, is nevertheless a useful resource highlighting the problematic nature of the official roster - particularly with regards to Halley's pre-1456 passages.
"This leads us to a very important conclusion. Taking into account all the above considerations, we must admit that the “Chinese saw-tooth curve” as the presumed recurrence cycle function of Comet Halley is manifestly false. It cannot possibly reflect the real sightings or the real trajectory of the comet. Therefore, it is either of a random nature, or a forgery, all in all, either premeditated or unwilled and resulting from “the very best intentions”. "EMPIRE - Chapter5, Chinese comets / Comet Halley" - by A.T.Fomenko and G.V.Nosovskiy (opens in a new tab)
Other ancient (non-identified) transits of Halley's comet
Here follows a list of ancient cometary sightings (reported in the literature) which would seem to be in excellent agreement with the Tychos roster of Halley’s passages - although NONE of them are listed in the official, 'European' roster of Halley's returns.
362 B.C.: “China, A broom star comet appeared in the west in 362 BC. Ho, (15)” "Broom Star - China" - quantumfuturegroup.org (opens in a new tab)
In the Tychosium, select the date -362-07-27 and activate Halley’s comet (in the “Planets” scroll-down menu). You will see that Halley’s comet would indeed have appeared in the west - as seen from the Earth.
209 B.C.: “Babylonian cuneiform tablet BM 45608 gives an account of a comet seen sometime within the 4th month of -209. A translation by Herman Hunger (1996) says it “appeared in the path of Ea in the region of Scorpius; it was surrounded by stars; its tail was toward the east.”
In the Tychosium, select the date -209-04-27 and activate Halley’s comet in the “Planets” scroll-down menu. Also, activate the Zodiac ring in the “Stars & helper objects” scroll-down menu. You will see that Halley’s comet would indeed have passed very close to Earth on April 27, 209 B.C. - and that it was indeed in Scorpius on that date.
245 AD: “Halley-type comet 12P/Pons-Brooks (hereafter 12P) has been linked to observations dating back to 1385 A.D. and possibly, to observations in 245 A.D. (Green 2020a; Nakano 2020), making it the comet with the second longest observational arc of all known comets, after only 1P/Halley.” "Recovery of Returning Halley-type Comet" - iopscience.org (opens in a new tab)
In the Tychosium, select the date 245-05-01 and activate Halley’s comet (in the “Planets” scroll-down menu). You will see that comet Halley passed very close to Earth on May 1 of the year 245 AD. We may thus surmise that the documented cometary observation of 245 AD was not comet 12/Pons-Brooks - but none other than Halley’s comet (just as listed in the TYCHOS roster of Halley’s passages).
396 AD: “A record from year 396 AD reports a comet and 'prior to this, a large yellow star’. This apparition was in summer and ‘in winter… the large yellow star appeared again.’ That the star is reported yellow might be due to atmospheric condition and positive omens but the initial position and date of re-appearance matches planet Venus. Of course, they were able to identify Venus but this mantic text uses ‘a star’ in an astrological way where the nature of the object is not at all important.” "Applied and computational astronomy" - by G. Wolfschmidt (opens in a new tab)
In the Tychosium, select the date 396-06-01 and activate Halley’s comet (in the “Planets” scroll-down menu). You will see that Halley’s comet indeed transited between the Sun and Earth in the summer of 396 AD (in accordance with the TYCHOS roster of Halley’s passages). Next, select the date 396-12-30. You will see that Halley’s comet would indeed have been visible from the Earth in the winter of 396 AD.
323, 399 & 550 AD: Gustave de Pontécoulant was the top French expert of comet Halley’s of his time. In his book "A History of Halley's Comet", he mentions three comets "seen in the constellation Virgo" in 323, 399 and 550 AD.
In the Tychosium, we may find Halley’s comet transiting in Virgo on 323-03-05, then on 399-03-05 and then again on 550-03-05. Note that, on all three occasions, Halley’s found itself in opposition to the Sun and would thus plausibly have been visible at night with the naked eye - in spite of its considerable distance from the Earth (more than 2AU). Consider also that Halley’s (and its tail) was considerably brighter and larger back in those days.
Again, note that none of these three passages are to be found in the current, official roster (which has Halley's passing instead in 374, 451 and 530). We are therefore left with the awkward situation of having to choose for ourselves whichever tables of Halley's ancient passages can be trusted. Needless to say, I submit that the TYCHOS roster of comet Halley is the 'hands-down winner', since it is consistent with a regular 75.667-year periodicity of the comet - and for all the other circumstances and 'coincidences' illustrated in this chapter. Let us now take a look at yet another (coincidental?) double-passage of Halley's comet, this time in connection with a hotly debated carbon-14 spike event.
The "mysterious carbon-14 event of 774-775 AD: One can find on the internets numerous studies concerning an exceptional spike of 14C (carbon 14) levels which appears to have occurred around the years 774 and 775 AD. In the last decade, researchers from diverse scientific disciplines have been vividly debating about the possible causes of this peculiar - and still unexplained - phenomenon. The following excerpt from an article by Ethan Siegel is a good place to start, as it succintly summarizes this controversial topic :
"Every once in a while, science gives us a mystery that comes as a complete surprise. Typically, when we slice open a tree and examine its rings, we discover three different forms of carbon in each ring: carbon-12, carbon-13, and carbon-14. While the ratios of carbon-12 and carbon-13 don't appear to change with time, carbon-14 is a different story. Its abundance slowly decays with a half-life of a little over 5,000 years, with a typical variation of about 0.06% from year-to-year in the rings. But in 2012, a team of Japanese researchers were analyzing tree rings dating to the years 774/775, when they noticed an enormous surprise. Instead of the typical variations they were used to, they saw a spike that was 20 times larger than normal. After years of analysis, the unlikely culprit has finally been revealed: the Sun." “Carbon-14 Spiked Worldwide Over 1200 Years Ago, And the Sun Is To Blame” - by Ethan Siegel (2020) (opens in a new tab)
Huh? "The Sun is to blame?" Well, in actuality, there seems to be no general consensus about the Sun being the ‘culprit’. In fact, some authors have concluded that "large solar super-flares remain very unlikely as the cause for the 14C increase in AD 774/5". Other studies have instead suggested that a cometary event is to blame for this exceptional 14C-spike in the years 774/775. I have selected a few extracts from three academic studies so as to give some perspective to this ongoing controversy.
Here is an extract from an extensive academic study published in 2012:
"COMET ENCOUNTERS AND CARBON 14". It is noted that the superflare from a large comet (comparable to C/Hale–Bopp) colliding with the sun could produce shock-accelerated GeV cosmic rays in the solar corona and/or solar wind, and possibly account for the C.E. 775 event. Several additional predictions of cometary encounters with the sun and other stars may be observable in the future. (...) "Here we consider whether (1) a giant solar flare or (2) the close approach of a large comet to the sun could have occurred in the year 775, when the levels of 14C rose by 1.2% within a year or so (Miyake et al. 2012)." "Comet Encounters and carbon 14" - by Eichler and Mordecai (2012) (opens in a new tab)
Here are three selected extracts from another related study published in 2014 :
"EXCURSIONS IN THE 14C RECORD AT A.D. 774-775 IN TREE RINGS FROM RUSSIA AND AMERICA" ABSTRACT: Improved instrumentation has contributed to high-resolution (interannual) radiocarbon activity measurements, which have revealed sudden and anomalous activity shifts previously not observed at the common resolution of 5–10 years of most of the calibration scale. One such spike has been recently reported from tree rings from Japan and then again in Europe at A.D. 774–775, for which we report here our efforts to both replicate its existence and determine its spatial extent using tree rings from larch at high latitude (northern Siberia) and bristlecone pine from lower latitude (the White Mountains of California). Our results confirm an abrupt ~ 15‰ 14C activity increase from A.D. 774 to 776, the size and now the hemispheric extent of which suggest that an extraterrestrial influence on radiocarbon production is most likely responsible."
A COMETARY EVENT? In a recent paper, Liu et al.  proposed that the 14C increase at A.D. 774–775 was caused by a cometary impact into the Earth's atmosphere. In their work, they observed a similar 15‰ excursion in corals about the same time.
CONCLUSIONS: We have confirmed the A.D. 774–775 event in the 14C record at two additional locations, in the western United States and Russia. The amplitude of the event is very similar to previously reported results from Japan, Germany, and New Zealand. This emphasizes the global nature of this phenomenon and according to existing models, only a production-rate change could cause this type of event. The fact that the 14C signal is observed in five very different locations with exactly the same amplitude is remarkable in itself. The exact cause of the event is unclear, although a number of mechanisms have been proposed, all of which require an extraterrestrial origin. It appears then that the A.D. 774–775 event is the first unambiguous case of extraterrestrial enhancement of atmospheric 14C in the tree-ring record." Geophysical Research letters - April 4, 2014 (opens in a new tab)
And here's an excerpt from yet another academic study (2014) of the same curious phenomenon which assorted astrophysicists, dendochronologists and geophysicists all appear to concur must have occurred in 774-775 A.D.:
"A SOLAR SUPER-FLARE AS CAUSE FOR THE 14C VARIATION IN AD 774/775? We present further considerations regarding the strong 14C variation in AD 774/5. For its cause, either a solar super-flare or a short gamma-ray burst were suggested. We show that all kinds of stellar or neutron star flares would be too weak for the observed energy input at Earth in AD 774/5." (...) "We conclude that large solar super-flares remain very unlikely as the cause for the 14C increase in AD 774/5." "Astronomical Notes" - by R. Neuhäuser and V. V. Hambaryan (2014) (opens in a new tab)
As you can see, there appears to be no firm scientific consensus as to exactly what caused this exceptional radiocarbon spike of 774/775. Was it a cometary event? Was it a solar super-flare? Was it a "short gamma-ray burst" - as has also been theorized? In any case, all the above-linked studies appear to agree that it was some sort of cosmic / extraterrestrial event - and they all concur in dating the ‘mysterious’ event to the years 774/775 AD.
In my below screenshot from the Tychosium simulator, I show the path of Halley's comet in the years 774 and 775. On July 6, 774 the famous comet made a close approach to Earth (at 0.38AU). On April 19, 775 it then made an exceptionally close passage - at only 0.097AU :
(Please note that, according to the modern / official astronomy tables, Halley's comet would have passed Earth in the year 760AD, i.e. about 15 years earlier. Hence, none of the above-linked geophysical studies have ever considered that this 'mysterious' spike of 14C levels in 774/775 might have been caused by the passages of Halley's comet.)
Morozov's dating of the "Apocalypse" (395 AD)
This chapter's final section will take a look at a fascinating research by one of the most 'eccentric' astronomers and history revisionists that the world has ever known, namely Nikolai Morozov. The most compelling historical revision ever proposed by Morozov is to be found in his book "The Revelation in Storm and Thunder. History of the Apocalypses origin" (1907). The book's German version is titled "The Revelation to John - An astronomic historical Investigation").
Morozov makes the case that the Bible's Book of Revelation actually describes an 'apocalyptic-looking' celestial event which must have occurred on September 30, 395 AD - just as a solar eclipse occurred. For a concise overview of just how Morozov reached his exacting conclusions, this Wikipedia page is a good place to start (and is all you may need to read in order to fully assess and appreciate the Tychos-related 'revelation' I am about to put forth) : "The Revelation in Storm and Thunder" - Wikipedia (opens in a new tab)
Morozov's thesis was initially harshly criticized by theologists and assorted academics, but over time, astronomers have been probing his claims and have had to concede that they are, in fact, virtually incontrovertible - from a'chrono-cosmological' perspective - as admitted in the above-linked Wikipedia page:
"The description within the Book of Revelation matches exactly the Constellation for the Julian date 30-9-395". (...) "Sun, Moon and the 3 outer and 2 inner planets will produce 3.732.480 combinations within the 12 signs of the zodiac (125 × 5 × 3). Therefore, an accidental match is quite unlikely."
In other words, the peculiar positional configuration of our Sun, Moon and planets on that date (as described in the "Apocalypse") has only 1 chance in 3.7 million of occurring! There can therefore be little doubt that Morozov's thesis and calculations rest on solid ground. However, as lamented by one of his fiercest critics, there was still something missing with regards to Morozov's interpretation of the "Book of Revelation" as a celestial metaphor; in a paper titled "Pseudoscience and Revelation", professor Bobrovnikoff points out that the famous biblical text also mentions another "200,000,000 horsemen ... and countless locusts that looked like horses". Bobrovnikoff thus mockingly asks whether there was, in addition to the solar eclipse and the quite remarkable planetary alignments of that day, "also a meteoric shower to boot ("and the stars of Heaven fell onto Earth")? In short, Bobrovnikoff attacks Morozov for failing to account for those "200 million horsemen" mentioned in the "Apocalypse".
So, in the context of Morozov’s literal interpretation of the Book of Revelation, what could the other striking celestial phenomena have been? Well, if we consult the Tychosium simulator, we find that none other than comet Halley was hurtling across our skies on that day, having just made a most exceptional passage right above the Earth at only 0.2 AU in mid-August 395. A formidable spectacle must have played out in our skies on 30 September 395, what with a solar eclipse occurring just as Mars was transiting in opposition (i.e. very close to Earth) and Mercury, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn were all roughly located in the same portion of our skies where Halley’s comet was ‘releasing its 200 000 000 horsemen’! But may we speculate that a “meteoric shower to boot” (as wryly suggested by Bobrovnikoff) also took place on that day? Yes, we can: as you may recall (see section about “Dunlop’s comet”), the most spectacular meteor shower in recent memory took place in November 1833 AD, making people wonder if it was a sign of the end of the world. Well, it so happens that the path of Halley’s comet in the preceding months (as it passed closest to Earth in autumn) was near-identical to that of its path in the autumn of 395 AD (i.e. 1438 years earlier, or 19 x 75.667 years). Add to this the fact that, as it approached our planet in August 395, Halley’s comet would have emerged with its blazing long tail resembling a great sword right in front of Mars which is traditionally associated with the god of war. The earthly observers who witnessed this fiery cosmic spectacle during a total solar eclipse must have thought the end had come, in the grandest possible style.
Note that, in the Tychosium, the celestial locations of all the planets and our Moon for that date are in excellent agreement with Morozov's calculated ephemerides. In fact, even Bobrovnikoff acknowledges the correctness of Morozov's computed positions for Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, Saturn and the Moon on September 30, 395 AD. Here follows another extract from his above-referenced 1941 critique titled "Pseudoscience and Revelation":
”Morozov’s reasoning is briefly the following: The procession of the four horsemen of the apocalyptic vision (Rev, 6:2) is taken to mean four planets which are identified mainly by the color of the horses; namely, the white horse of Jupiter, the red one of Mars, the black one with Mercury, and the pale one with Saturn. The constellations in which the planets were supposed to have been at the time of the vision were identified from the description of the riders. Thus Mercury was in Libra because the rider of the black horse had scales in his hand. Finally, the vision of “a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet” (Rev. 12:1) is taken to mean an eclipse of the sun occurring when the sun was at the feet of the constellation Virgo. Approximate calculations showed that an eclipse of the sun on September 30, A.D. 395, would satisfy the assigned positions of the planets. Morozov’s assignment of the planets to the corresponding constellations for that date was later confirmed by rigorous calculations carried out by two Poulkovo astronomers, Liapin and Kamensky.”
Keep in mind that Halley’s comet has been gradually shrinking over the centuries and was therefore a far brighter and impressive object in the past. To be sure, Morozov himself never suggested that those “200 million horsemen” might have been a celestial metaphor describing comet Halley’s blazing tail (and a fiery meteoric shower) since no conventional historical records exist of the famous comet visiting our solar system anywhere near the year 395 AD (the official tables have Halley’s passing in 374 AD and 451 AD). The TYCHOS model thus provides compelling ‘cosmological support’ to Morozov’s thesis by effectively countering Bobrovnikoff’s argument of the absent ‘horsemen’.
To my knowledge, no existing model of our solar system other than the TYCHOS can rationally account for the behaviour of Halley’s comet, as recorded throughout the centuries by scores of observational astronomers and historians. To be sure, Newtonian equations have proven to be wholly inadequate for computing even its more recent appearances, as stated in the abstract of this 2015 paper published by Cambridge University Press:
"Numerical experiments have been made in an attempt to remove the residuals of P/Halley and link the seven apparitions from 1456 to 1910. All efforts to link more than two apparitions using Newtonian equations have invariably failed." "The Motion of Halley's Comet from 837 to 1910" - by J. L. Brady (2015) (opens in a new tab)
The paper goes on to say that other anomalies to be found in the official (‘European’) roster of Halley’s ancient passages “can be made reasonable if the Chinese records are adopted in preference to the European records”. In other words, our Copernican astronomers are ‘openly’ admitting that they have been cherry-picking (among the countless cometary sightings listed in the voluminous Chinese records) those that best suited their theories and computations. This is obviously not a proper way to go about any earnest investigation and is tantamount to scientific fraud of the highest order.
I believe to have definitively demonstrated that Halley’s comet has a constant and regular period of 75.667 years, much like all the other celestial bodies in our system. The notion of a cigar-shaped orbit with a period fluctuating by as many as 6 years has no place in astronomy. How the Newtonian ‘universal law of gravitation’ could possibly justify the starkly different orbital shapes of comets and asteroids is truly unfathomable. The TYCHOS model provides unassailable evidence that a large number of comets ‘coincidentally’ passing a couple of years before or after Halley’s officially recognized transits were simply early or late appearances of comet Halley itself. Critics and opponents of the present research are welcome to try and argue that all these comets closely preceding or following Halley’s transits were nothing but clusters of merry coincidences. However, from the outset it would give the distinct impression that the conclusion is more important than sound logic and facts.
This concludes the 2nd Edition of my book on the TYCHOS model. Five years of extensive research lie between this and the 1st Edition, released in 2018. I trust the new contents and discoveries will stimulate a sound and earnest debate among scientists and laymen willing to reexamine their lifelong beliefs. I am fully aware that my findings will ruffle a great many feathers; however, having grown a thick skin over the years, I will be enjoying every minute of what I expect to be a long and arduous journey, riddled with the inevitable scorn and ridicule that precede all inconvenient discoveries. Meanwhile, I will be confidently looking forward to the inevitable collective ‘cosmo-logical’ realization that we live in a binary system, similar to all the star systems that surround us. In any event, the heliocentric Copernican model is broken beyond repair and needs to be abandoned once and for all.
As I like to say, the TYCHOS is here to stay.