Stephenson, Yau & Hunger


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Although the tablets were not dated, Stephenson Yau and Hunger noted that they covered consecutive months.

They gave many observations of the moon, but, as the moon comes to more or less the same part of the sky every 29 days, it is not much use for pinning down a particular date.

Some observations noted the positions of 2 or more planets at the same time. Planets travel much slower than the moon.  Mars takes about 2 years to orbit the sun, Jupiter 11 years and Saturn nearly 30 years.

Comings together of planets in the sky are much rarer events and one can begin to work out a date with some confidence, given the positions of several planets.

We will look at 2 sets of observations that give a flavour of how Stephenson Yau and Hunger pinned down the dates.

Having established that the Babylonians made these observations in the autumn of 164 BCE, how can we be sure the comet was Halley's?

While running the simulations for the comet we realised that there was another significant event.