Why were comets feared in the past ?
||To the ancient people the sky represented order, because
it was so predictable. Sunrise and set, changing phases of the moon, the motion of the
stars and their shapes were so regular that people felt secure. Comets appeared suddenly
without any warning. They also looked so different from all other objects in the sky.
Ancients interpreted this as a warning from heaven. So all ancient civilisations kept
records of these. The earliest drawings of comets are in a Chinese silk book of 2 B.C. The
Arabs had classified comets according to their shapes, with criteria very similar to those
used by Varahamihira the 6th century Indian astronomer. Senecca in Greece had made an
exhaustive compilation of comets. Later, comets were immortalised in painting , verse and
more recently through cartoons.
German cartoon showing people
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Illustrated Guide To Comets page