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Are there any ancient references to comets in India ?

So far no ancient drawings of comets have come to light. There are however, several references to comets in the ancient literature. The Atharva Veda contains a prayer seeking protection from comets and meteorites. Appearance of comets are also mentioned in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Varahamihira collected and classified the shapes and colours of 1000 comets and comet like objects in a book written in the 6th century A.D. called Brihat Samhita. The Brihat Samhita contains very detailed descriptions of the colour and shapes of comets. The paths taken by some comets in the sky have been described in the same book. It records a comet calaketu occulting the star Vega. The Mughal king Jahangir was an ardent naturalist. He kept a detailed diary of all his observations in the book Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri. In this he has recorded the appearance of a comet in the skies of October 1618. It sported a tail of 24 degrees and was observed for 16 days. The Tamil poet Subramanya Bharathi wrote a verse welcoming comet Halley in 1910 when there was general panic.


Jehangir observing a comet in the skies of October 1618. It sported a tail of 24 degrees and was observed for 16 days.

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