The Sallamu

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10_29 Halley.jpg (59298 bytes)

Was the Sallaumu Halley’s comet?

A very helpful observation said the comet was:

"I cubit in front of Jupiter, 3 cubits high toward the north"

On this map Jupiter is below centre. The arrow shows where Jupiter moved across the sky during the 7 days after the 29th October 164 BCE, (the date of the map).

The dotted box shows the area 3 cubits north and 1 cubit in front of Jupiter during the 7 days after the 29th October, allowing for the Babylonians’ errors in measurement.

They could only have recorded Halley’s Comet if it was in that box.

The map also shows 3 possible positions for Halley’s Comet, for different values of n, (dates of perihelion).  The arrows show a week’s movement, just as for Jupiter.

Halley’s Comet would have fitted in the box at some time in that week if its perihelion dates had been approximately between the 18th and 26th November, and confirms that it was Halley’s Comet which was recorded since bright comets do not appear often enough for two to be in the same part of the sky at the same time.

Stephenson, Yau and Hunger used this method to narrow down the range of possible perihelion dates for Halley’s Comet in 164 BCE to the 17 days between the 9th and 26th November. Continue