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Do Comets Bring Chaos?
This morning there was an interesting announcement about a po from the Sierra Club in my inbox about the comet Atlas.
At the end of February, just as the coronavirus pandemic began to grip Europe, a comet known as C/2019 Y4 blazed into view. The previously nondescript object, also known as Atlas, had been discovered two months earlier in a patch of sky near the Big Dipper. Now it was behaving strangely, increasing in brightness by roughly 4,000 times in a matter of days.
Hmmmm. Sounds strangely like what has been happening here on Earth with our coronavirus pandemic.
The post goes on to tell us more about the nature of comets and their behavior, but for me the most interesting part was their account of what happened on Earth when other past comets were sited.
Today we know much about comets, “but for most of human history, these icy bodies hurtling through space have been viewed as ill omens, portents of doom, harbingers of disease, death, and destruction.”
In 536 A.D….a strange fog enveloped Europe, darkening skies for a year and a half. It also coincided with the beginnings of the Plague of Justinian, which, over a span of two years, killed tens of millions and sped the collapse of the Eastern Byzantine Empire.
Shortly after, in 541 and 542...
a chunk of Halley’s may have broken away and struck Earth, triggering massive forest fires. The impact, combined with several large volcanic eruptions documented during the same period, may have catalyzed an episode of rapid global cooling, which, in turn, caused a widespread failure of agriculture. With massive numbers of people on the verge of starvation, a bubonic plague swept through the population like a tidal wave, killing an estimated 75 to 200 million people in Europe, Asia, and North Africa.
Some scientists also associate comets with the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic.
I’m not saying that comets cause pandemics, but they certainly seem to be powerful disturbances in the force fields of the universe. They may cause ripples of effect to planets just as a motor boat passing through a quiet cove can cause waves that affect the entire area.
At the very least, this observation is a reminder that our individual lives are part of not only the ecosystems of the Earth but also the larger systems of the cosmos.