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Great comet of 1556

Great comet of 1556

C009/3299

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Credit

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY PICTURE COLLECTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY PICTURE COLLECTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Comets universally foretold disasters and misfortune until the start of the scientific revolution. For example, public fears linked the Great Comet of 1556, shown in a woodcut from a German pamphlet, with earthquakes in that same year. Another century and more would pass before the growth of mathematical astronomy could seriously challenge credulous views of comets.

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