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More ways to get Braingle...

With Hair

Riddles are little poems or phrases that pose a question that needs answering. Riddles frequently rhyme, but this is not a requirement.

 

Puzzle ID:#43177
Fun:*** (2.8)
Difficulty:*** (2.37)
Category:Riddle
Submitted By:mosca*us*****

 

 

 



I came long ago, from icy realms far;
I may have seen the newborn Superstar.
Giants reached out to grab me, as they say;
I turned aside, and there my pathway lay.

England's King, in me a dark omen saw;
People watched me in horror, fear, and awe.
And as the frightened folk did weep and wail,
I calmly left and then did turn my tail.

A pope banished me for my sins, 'tis said;
My travels in the Talmud can be read.
And sometimes I throw fire from the sky.
Now, reading this, can you say what am I?



Answer

Halley's Comet

(The title, "With Hair", is a translation of the word "Comet". Early philosophers called a comet a "Hairy Star".)

I came long ago, from icy realms far;
(Halley's Comet was seen as early as 240 BC, perhaps earlier. It originated in the Oort Cloud, a sphere of cometary bodies about 50,000 Astronomical Units away.)
I may have seen the newborn "Superstar".
(Giotto painted a comet, thought to be Halley, in a Nativity scene. The term "Superstar" refers to the musical, "Jesus Christ, Superstar".)
Giants reached out to grab me, as they say;
(Halley's orbit was altered by gravity from the giant planets, Jupiter and Saturn.)
I turned aside, and there my pathway lay.

England's King, in me a dark omen saw;
(King Harold II saw the comet six months before the Battle of Hastings, in which he was killed and his kingdom seized by William the Conqueror.)
People watched me in horror, fear, and awe.
And as the frightened folk did weep and wail,
I calmly left and then did turn my tail.
(A comet's tail always points away from the sun.)

A pope banished me for my sins, 'tis said;
(Pope Callixtus III excommunicated the comet in 1456, believing it to be an evil omen for the Christian defenders of Belgrade.)
My travels in the Talmud can be read.
(In 66 AD, the Talmud said, "There is a star which appears once in seventy years that makes the captains of the ships err.")
And sometimes I throw fire from the sky.
(According to scientists, the comet is the parent body of two meteor showers: the Eta Aquarids in early May and the Orionids in late October.)
Now, reading this, can you say what am I?

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