Eleven times in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles the scholars record comets in the sky – including the year 1066, when it was interpreted as signalling the Norman invasion. Small wonder that many people have tried to establish that the Star of Bethlehem was a comet, and that the appearance of one or other comet around 1AD could help date Jesus’ birth more accurately.
We’ll not go there!
But the Vatican Observatory website tells us that at least three comets will be visible, perhaps to the naked eye as well as telescopes, during 2017 -2018. they may be giant snowballs rather than stars, but are stars of wonder to most of us. I’m hoping to see at least one of them. Where are the dark skies round here? Not an easy question to answer.
We need not fear the darkness of night for
The people that walked in darkness, have seen a great light: to them that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death, light is risen. Isaiah 9.2
This comet I did see! Hale Bopp, photographed by NASA.