Celestial / Comet

146BC May 13± 1y , Duration 15d

Event #32: Broom Star observed in China

Stable URL: http://cof.quantumfuturegroup.org/events/32


Text #50

Kronk. Cometography: A Catalog of Comets. Series: Cometography. Vol. 1
[p. 11]

The astronomical chapter of the Chinese text Han shu (100) is the only ancient account of this comet to give details. It says a “broom star” was first seen on -146 May 13. The comet “appeared at night in the northwest” and “was found at the Tsui-Hsi [λ and φ1 Orionis].” It was described as white and about 10 degrees long. The account continues, “It moved away at dawn and became smaller,” eventually going out of sight after 15 days. J. Williams (1871) said this comet was seen on March 14, but Ho Peng Yoke (1962) showed that this date was erroneous. The Shih chi (-90), although older than the Han shu, gives no usable details, since it simply notes that a comet was seen.

This is a confusing account as at this time the sun was very near Tsui-Hsi. Therefore, for the comet to have been seen at night, it must have been in the same right ascension as Tsui-Hsi, but much further to the north. With a location in the northwest, it might have been in Auriga.

The Author suggests the annals of the Han shu may also have an account of this comet. This document claims that during -147, “In the summer, the fourth month, a comet appeared in the northwest.” This account was later copied by the Chinese text Thung Chien Kang Mu (1189). The fourth month of -147 was equal to the period April 29 to May 27, while the fourth month of -146 was May 16 to June 15. Ho Peng Yoke (1962) listed this account as a separate comet, but the few details available do reflect those of the -146 comet.

Full moon: May 2, May 31

Text #51

Yeomans. Comets

147 BC May 13, China, A white broom star comet, with a 15-degree tail, appeared at night in the northwest in Orion. It moved away at dawn and became smaller and went out of sight after 15 days.

Text #9440

Pankenier & Xu & Jiang. Archaeoastronomy in East Asia

(a) 3rd year of the Zhongyuan reign period of Emperor Jing of the Han Dynasty, 3rd month, day dingyou [34]; a broom star appeared at night in the northwest. It was white, 1 zhang long, and located in [lunar mansion] Zuixi [LM 20]. By dawn when it left (i.e., was obscured in daylight), it had decreased in size; after 15 days, it was no longer seen.

(b) 3rd year of the Zhongyuan reign period of Emperor Jing of the Han Dynasty, 3rd month; a broom star emerged in the northwest.

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