Photo by Shlomo Shalev / Unsplash

1910 - Halley's Comet, When spreading the howl and outcry

History Sep 21, 2021

As the day of May 18, 1910 approaches, the heartbeat of people all over the world was increasing. Many people believed that this day was going to be the last day of their lives. Halley's comet was to pass through the Earth's sky on May 14. And the fear that the comet would collide with the earth was on the minds of many people around the world.

A color image of comet Halley, shown flying to the left aligned flat against the sky
A color image of comet Halley, shown flying to the left aligned flat against the sky | By NASA/W. Liller - NSSDC's Photo Gallery (NASA):

A comet orbiting the Earth every 76 years was to fulfill its promise in 1910. The comet was discovered by a Prehistoric named Sir Edmund Halley in the late 18th century and became known as Halley's Comet. Thus, the mystery of the appearance of a comet on Earth was solved in the 18th century. People knew that the comet that appeared in 1835 was returning to Earth exactly after a period of 76 years. People were also aware that no casualties were reported earlier when the comet appeared on Earth. Yet in 1910 everyone was in a panic, as people had not yet emerged from superstition and superstition at the turn of the new century.

Edmond Halley
Edmond Halley, By Richard Phillips - National Portrait Gallery: NPG 4393, Public Domain, Link

Many superstitious people have linked the arrival of the comet to some of the misfortunes that have occurred since Haley's comet visited Earth. As a result, the "black history" of the comet was fresh in people's minds. when the arrival time of Hailey's comet in 1910. The threat of an ominous arrival of a comet had not yet been eradicated. Another logical reason for the fear was the catastrophe of 1908 in Tunguska-Russia, which was largely believed to have been caused by a comet. Fear of a repeat of what happened two years ago spread around the world.

The first photograph of Haley's comet was taken on September 11, 1909. It began to appear after sunset in early December - and in March it began to appear in the morning and then in the evening sky. There were many who eagerly awaited the arrival of Haley's comet. What exactly is a comet? How did it originate? Where is its place in the solar system? Well, even the astronomers were speculating about the answers to such questions! The flurry of people increased after an astronomer revealed that the long tail and navel of a comet contained a highly toxic gas called cyanogen. According to the calculations made by the astronomer, when a comet passes through the sky, the earthlings would have to spend six consecutive hours between the toxic gases. As a result, everyone was convinced that no one could escape the glory of cyanogen gas. Taking advantage of this mood of the people, an intelligent person made a pill called 'Comet Pills' which protects against cyanogen, and sold it(Businessman lol...)! Fear of death made it difficult for anyone to distinguish between right and wrong.

Halley's Comet animation.gif
Halley's Comet animation, By nagualdesign - Own work, CC BY 4.0, Link

Finally came the 18th May Day. Scientists from Europe and the United States set up telescopes and other equipment on the island of Hawaii to study Haley's comet. And on the other hand, ordinary people are sitting with their doors closed to avoid cyanogen gas. Crowds began to gather in the temples and crowds began to gather around. At a time when death was rife around the world, Haley's comet with a tail of at least three and a half million kilometers long became visible in the Earth's sky at a speed of 108000 kilometers per hour and...

Nothing went wrong! In the dense atmosphere of the Earth, the cyanogen gas does not cause any disaster. Even the comet itself, instead of adopting a cruel attitude, made a beautiful artwork by drawing millions of kilometers of bright line on the sky and 4 lakh kilometers above the ground. The most memorable and heartbreaking scene of life was witnessed by the people. After that historic day on May 18, 1910, Haley's comet kept crashing farther and farther away from Earth. It was not to be seen again for another hundred years and until then its secrets would remain secret.


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