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This meeting is ONLY for members of the Norwich Astronomical Society.

Fear and Loathing in the Heavens

How the 1910 Return of Halley’s Comet (Almost) Destroyed Civilization

In 1705, Edmond Halley liberated humanity from the belief that comets were portents of doom; two centuries later, when Halley’s Comet returned to its perihelion, newspapers, misguided theorists, and shameless con men managed to reignite that fear. When astronomers announced that the earth would pass through the comet’s tail, opportunists exploited human anxiety—often with fatal consequences.

Join Dr. Richard J. Goodrich, author of Comet Madness: How the 1910 Return of Halley’s Comet (almost) Destroyed Civilization, for an entertaining lecture about the comet’s 1910 return and the reasons that many believed the earth would not survive this deadly encounter.


Richard J. Goodrich (Ph.D., University of St Andrews) is an author and historian. After twenty years as a history professor in Britain and the United States, Richard resigned his teaching post to pursue a full-time writing career. His interests range from Ancient History (the Roman Empire and early Church history) to the modern age.

This will be a Zoom meeting hosted at the Observatory.

There will be a £1/person charge, at the door, to cover speaker costs

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