Comet's Tale: History/Exploration
DATE:1300 CE

Nativity from the Arena Chapel Frescoes with comet (Halley)This painting was done on a church wall in 1303-1306 by an artist named Giotto.  A bright comet had recently been seen in 1301. The artist used a comet as a symbol of the historic moment because people in his time would still recall this exciting event. Scientists today know that the comet of 1301 was Comet Halley. A spacecraft was launched in 1986 to study Comet Halley.  The spacecraft was named Giotto” after this artist.


People in this era were not sure about whether comets enter the earth's atmosphere or are further away like the planets or even the stars. What do you think about this?  How big do you think comets are? Do you think they are like stars?  More like planets?  How might you try to answer these questions?


 1145 1300 1402 1587 1680 1858 1900 2000

©Copyright 2000 Regents of the University of California.