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David H. Levy's Evening Stars: The Bard and astronomy

July 2009: William Shakespeare composed many plays that reference rare astronomical events.
Shakespeare
This is the Cobbe portrait of William Shakespeare (believed to be the only portrait painted from life). It will be on display by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in an exhibition titled “Shakespeare Found,” from April 23 to September 6 at Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England.
Image reproduced by agreement between The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and the copyright holders.
More than 4 centuries ago, in 1572, an 8-year-old English lad named William Shakespeare probably saw something peculiar in the sky. We don't know this for sure, but how could he have possibly missed it? All of a sudden a great star, more brilliant than Venus, burst into the night sky. Far away from Stratford, England, in Denmark, Tycho Brahe saw the new star and was so im-pressed that he allegedly asked a neighbor if he was dreaming.

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