Make a 1066 cometat the History House

Halley's Comet and its significance to the invasion of 1066 is the subject of a talk taking place at Hastings History House in the Old Town on Saturday April 23.

Thursday, 14th April 2016, 10:17 am
Opening of new exhibition, Hastings History House. Part of Hastings Old Town Carnival Week. 28/7/12 ENGSUS00120120730084112

The event will also incorporate a comet making workshop.

Dr Melanie Davies, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, will talk about comets in general, Halley’s Comet in particular, and its appearance in 1066, explaining why it was especially noticeable that year.

This event has been arranged by Hastings Local History Group, as part of its contribution to understanding the history of 1066.

Heather Grief, of Hastings Local History Group, said: “People hosting a ‘Big Tea’ in aid of St. Michael’s Hospice on Sunday April 24, may wish to make a ‘comet cake’.

“Anyone wanting to use the picture on the front of the booklet ‘1066-2016: the 950th Anniversary of the Battle of Hastings’ (published by HLHG), or part of it, to decorate a cake, can obtain a scanned version of it by emailing me – [email protected]

“Or the booklet is on sale (priced £1) at the Information Centre (Aquila House), James McAlister newsagent (Bo-Peep), Hastings Museum and Horntye Park Sports Complex (both off Bohemia Rd), Bookbuster (Queen’s Rd) and the History House.

“The Three Castles Bike Ride, organised by St. Leonards Rotary, is also on April 24, the first day that Halley’s Comet was visible in England in 1066.”

Tickets for the talk and workshop on Saturday 23, are priced £10 and are on sale at the History House, in Courthouse Street, which is open 11am -4pm, Thursday – Sunday.

Numbers are limited due to the size of the venue and the nature of the event, and the price is to cover the cost of the comet-making ingredients, including dry ice.

Halley’s Comet was seen in England in 1066 and thought to be an omen.

Later that year Harold II of England died at the Battle of Hastings; it was a bad omen for Harold, but a good omen for the man who defeated him, William the Conqueror.

“The comet is represented on the Bayeux Tapestry as a fiery star, and the surviving accounts describe it as appearing to be four times the size of Venus and shining with a light equal to a quarter of that of the moon.

Halley is the only known short-period comet that is clearly visible to the naked eye from Earth, and the only naked-eye comet which could appear twice in a lifetime. It is next set to appear again in 2061.

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