Bradbury Brown Bag Lecture Focuses on ‘The Great Comet of 1264’

Comet West. Courtesy/NASA

BSM News:

Bruce Masse, a guest scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory will talk about “The Great Comet of 1264” in the next Brown Bag Lecture noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 18 at the Bradbury Science Museum. Admission to the lunch hour talk—and all Bradbury Science Museum events—is free and attendees are welcome to bring their lunch.

More than 600 comets were documented before the invention of the telescope in 1608. They were identified by size, shape and duration. Masse said the Great Comet of 1264 is particularly remarkable. Records from Asia, the Middle East and Europe indicate that the comet could be seen for 15 weeks. It could also be seen in daylight for more than a month.

This Brown Bag Lecture will explore the potential signature of Comet 1264 in the archaeological and oral historical record of North America and Hawaii.

Masse is a guest scientist with the Environmental Protection Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which he retired from in 2012. He is an environmental archaeologist with degrees from Stanford, the University of Arizona and Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Masse conducted archaeological fieldwork in the American Southwest, Micronesia and Hawaii. He is the author of articles and books on a variety of topics including mythology, Hawaiian traditional astronomy, the role of solar eclipses in Southwestern prehistory, the effects of volcanic eruption on culture and the record of recent cosmic impact on Earth by asteroids and comets.

Admission to the lunch hour talk—and all Bradbury Science Museum events—is free and attendees are welcome to bring their lunch.

More information on the Brown Bag Lecture series is on the Museum’s website.

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