Comets have always been a fascinating celestial phenomenon that has intrigued people for centuries. Ancient Greeks were no exception and had their own name for comets. In this article, we will explore what comets were called in ancient Greece.
What are Comets?
Before diving into what ancient Greeks called comets, let’s first understand what comets are. Comets are small celestial bodies that orbit the sun in elongated orbits. They are made up of dust, ice, and gas and can be seen from Earth as a bright tail-like structure when they come close to the sun.
What were Comets Called in Ancient Greece?
In ancient Greece, comets were known as “aster kometes,” which translates to “long-haired stars.” This name was given to them due to their appearance of a bright tail-like structure that extended from the main body of the comet, resembling long hair.
Ancient Greek Mythology and Comets
Comets played a significant role in ancient Greek mythology. They were often associated with the gods and seen as omens of change or significant events.
One famous example is the belief that comets were a sign of impending doom or death. This belief was prevalent during the time of Alexander the Great’s death when a comet appeared in the sky.
The Scientific Explanation behind Comets
Although ancient Greeks believed that comets were supernatural beings, today, we know that they have a scientific explanation behind their appearance. As mentioned earlier, comets are made up of dust, ice, and gas. When they come close to the sun’s heat, their ice starts to evaporate, creating a tail-like structure visible from Earth.
In conclusion, comets were called “aster kometes” in ancient Greece due to their long hair-like appearance. They played a significant role in ancient Greek mythology and were often associated with the gods.
However, today, we know that they have a scientific explanation behind their appearance. Comets remain one of the most fascinating celestial phenomena that continue to intrigue people even today.