Space Oddities: How Eclipses, Comets, and other Celestial Events Changed Human History

Laura Bland

Tuesday April 4th 2017 - 7:00 pm ET

101 Jordan Hall of Science

This summer, Americans will get a rare treat: a spectacular view of a total solar eclipse. It will be an exciting opportunity to see a rare (by human standards) event in nature. For our ancestors, though, an eclipse was a portent of doom.
Why were people so afraid when odd things happened in the sky? Why will most of us watching the eclipse this summer not be afraid? This talk will explore how events in space—eclipses, comets, and supernovae—have affected human history in order to answer these questions. From ancient eclipses turning the tide of battles to comets that helped overthrow kings, strange happenings in the skies changed our history in some big, and surprising, ways.

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