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A friend showed me an article saying that there's evidence that a piece of Halley's comet may have struck the earth about 1,500 years ago. Is anyone here aware of such evidence?

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Little pieces of Halley's comet hit the Earth every spring. It's called the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, but I think you are thinking of something bigger.

Dallas Abbot's paper notes that at the 533-540 point on the GISP2 ice core there are Sn-rich particles, Ni-rich particles and cosmic spherules. These she identifies as evidence of a minor cometary impact. The resolution of the GISP2 core is sufficient to place this impact in the late spring, consistent with the Eta Aquarid meteor shower, which is known to be produced by Halleys comet.

Dallas notes that an increase in cometary dust in the atmosphere could partly explain the extreme weather events of 535-536, in combination with a minor volcanic eruption. Although there are other, competing hypotheses, and this is not considered to be settled science.

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  • $\begingroup$ That's awesome about the Eta Aquarid. I had no idea. Passing through the dust trail (meteor shower) means Halley's itself can (and has on occasion) come pretty close to Earth. I didn't know that. Fun article on the close pass in 1910. theguardian.com/science/across-the-universe/2012/dec/20/… $\endgroup$ – userLTK Jul 9 '17 at 17:46
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I have not read the complete scientific article, but I'm not prone to trust this. On that year the Chinese civilization were quite well established and annotating about comets, and I have not read about them annotating about a comet that approached so much to Earth.

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  • $\begingroup$ The Chinese might not have seen the impact if it was on the other side of the world, or over an ocean. But I'm inclined to agree with you over all. Is it possible the Earth was hit by a comet around 530 AD - sure. Was it a piece of Halley's comet? Er . . . I'm skeptical too. $\endgroup$ – userLTK Jul 16 '15 at 18:29

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