02 February 2011

February 2011

Comets in Ancient Cultures

© Unknown

Figure 1

have inspired dread, fear, and awe in many different cultures and
societies around the world and throughout time. They have been branded
with such titles as "the Harbinger of Doom" and "the Menace of the
Universe." They have been regarded both as omens of disaster and
messengers of the gods. Why is it that comets are some of the most
feared and venerated objects in the night sky? Why did so many cultures
cringe at the sight of a comet?

When people living in ancient cultures looked up, comets were the most
remarkable objects in the night sky. Comets were unlike any other object
in the night sky. Whereas most celestial bodies travel across the skies
at regular, predictable intervals, so regular that constellations could
be mapped and predicted, comets' movements have always seemed very
erratic and unpredictable. This led people in many cultures to believe
that the gods dictated their motions and were sending them as a message.
What were the gods trying to say? Some cultures read the message by the
images that they saw upon looking at the comet. For example, to some
cultures the tail of the comet gave it the appearance of the head of a
woman, with long flowing hair behind her. This sorrowful symbol of
mourning was understood to mean the gods that had sent the comet to
earth were displeased. Others thought that the elongated comet looked
like a fiery sword blazing across the night sky, a traditional sign of
war and death. Such a message from the gods could only mean that their
wrath would soon be unleashed onto the people of the land. Such ideas
struck fear into those who saw comets dart across the sky. The likeness
of the comet, though, was not the only thing that inspired fear.

© Unknown

Figure 2

cultural legends also played a hand in inspiring a terrible dread of
these celestial nomads. The Roman prophecies, the "Sibylline Oracles,"
spoke of a "great conflagration from the sky, falling to earth," while
the most ancient known mythology, the Babylonian "Epic of Gilgamesh,"
described fire, brimstone, and flood with the arrival of a comet. Rabbi
Moses Ben Nachman, a Jew living in Spain, wrote of God taking two stars
from Khima and throwing them at the earth in order to begin the great
flood. Yakut legend in ancient Mongolia called comets "the daughter of
the devil," and warned of destruction, storm and frost, whenever she
approaches the earth. Stories associating comets with such terrible
imagery are at the base of so many cultures on Earth, and fuel a dread
that followed comet sightings throughout history.

© Unknown

Figure 3

influence on cultures is not limited simply to tales of myth and
legend, though. Comets throughout history have been blamed for some of
history's darkest times. In Switzerland, Halley's Comet was blamed for
earthquakes, illnesses, red rain, and even the births of two-headed
animals. The Romans recorded that a fiery comet marked the assassination
of Julius Caesar, and another was blamed for the extreme bloodshed
during the battle between Pompey and Caesar. In England, Halley's Comet
was blamed for bringing the Black Death. The Incas, in South America,
even record a comet having foreshadowed Francisco Pizarro's arrival just
days before he brutally conquered them. Comets and disaster became so
intertwined that Pope Calixtus III even excommunicated Halley's Comet as
an instrument of the devil, and a meteorite, from a comet, became
enshrined as one of the most venerated objects in all of Islam. Were it
not for a Chinese affinity for meticulous record keeping, a true
understanding of comets may never have been reached.

© Unknown

Figure 4

their Western counterparts, Chinese astronomers kept extensive records
on the appearances, paths, and disappearances of hundreds of comets.
Extensive comet atlases have been found dating back to the Han Dynasty,
which describe comets as "long-tailed pheasant stars" or "broom stars"
and associate the different cometary forms with different disasters.
Although the Chinese also regarded comets as "vile stars," their
extensive records allowed later astronomers to determine the true nature
of comets.

Although most human beings no longer cringe at the sight of a comet,
they still inspire fear everywhere around the globe, from Hollywood to
doomsday cults. The United States even set up the Near Earth Asteroid
Tracking (NEAT) program specifically to guard us from these "divine"
dangers. However, although they were once regarded as omens of disaster,
and messengers of the god(s), today a scientific approach has helped
allay such concerns. It is science and reason that has led the fight
against this fear since the days of the ancients. It is science and
reason that has emboldened the human spirit enough to venture out and
journey to a comet. It is science and reason that will unlock the
secrets that they hold.

Image Captions:

Figure 1. Types of cometary forms, illustrations from Johannes Hevelius' Cometographia (Danzig, 1668) (Scan of original and caption from Don Yeomans' Comets: A Chronological History of Observation, Science, Myth and Folklore. Used with permission.) (View full size)

Figure 2. Woodcut showing destructive influence of a fourth century comet from Stanilaus Lubienietski's Theatrum Cometicum (Amsterdam, 1668) (scan of original and caption from Don Yeomans' Comets: A Chronological History of Observation, Science, Myth and Folklore. Used with permission.) (View full size)

Figure 3. German broadside showing comets
of 1680, 1682 (Halley), and 1683. The illustration shows a view of
Augsburg, Germany with the comets of 1680, 1682, and 1683 in the sky.
Three horsemen of the Apocalypse are in the foreground. The scene is
bordered by a clock face, the numerals of which are made of bones,
weapons, and instruments of torture. Each of the four corners outside
the dial contains an allegorical figure with an appropriate biblical
text. (Scan of original and caption from Don Yeomans' Comets: A Chronological History of Observation, Science, Myth and Folklore. Used with permission. Original provided by Adler Planetarium, Chicago) (View full size)

Figure 4. The Mawangdui silk, a 'textbook'
of cometary forms and the various disasters associated with them, was
compiled sometime around 300 B.C., but the knowledge it encompasses is
believed to date as far back as 1500 B.C. (View full size)


  • "A Brief History of Comets I" European Southern Observatory. May 13 1997. 6/2/03. link

  • Britt, Robert Roy. "Comets, Meteors & Myth," Space.com. Nov. 13 2001. 6/3/03. link

  • "Comets in History (Does Ignorance Rule?)," University of Wisconsin, Board of Regents. 1999. 6/3/03. link

  • "Comet History in a Capsule," Challenger Center for Space Science Education. 2002. 6/2/03. link

  • Cumberlidge, Anne-Marie. "Comets in History," The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to Comets. Keele University. 1997. 6/03/03. link

  • Houlding, Deborah. "Comets in History," Skycript. 6/3603. link

    Kaisler, Denise. "Comet Misconceptions." link

  • Kobres, Bob. "Comets and the Bronze Age Collapse," CHRONOLOGY
    AND CATASTROPHISM WORKSHOP. Society for Interdisciplinary Studies 1992,
    number 1, pp.6-10. link

  • Yeomans, Donald K. Comets: A Chronological History of
    Observation, Science, Myth and Folklore. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New
    York. 1991

© Unknown

Neat Links:



Noah Goldman first started working with Deep Impact as a student
intern from the College Park Scholars program, a freshman-sophomore
living-learning community at the University of Maryland. Noah has
continued to work with the project working mostly on analysis but also
writing articles for the website.

NASA Finds 20 New Comets, 33,000-Plus Asteroids

NASA said its Near-Earth Object WISE (NEOWISE) mission has discovered
20 comets and more than 33,000 asteroids in the main belt between Mars
and Jupiter, in addition to 134 near-Earth objects (NEOs).

new asteroids discovered
© NASA/JPL-Caltech/WISE Team

said its Near-Earth Object WISE (NEOWISE) mission has discovered 20
comets, more than 33,000 asteroids in the main belt between Mars and
Jupiter, in addition to 134 near-Earth objects

are asteroids and comets with orbits that come within 28 million miles
of Earth's path around the sun. A comet is an icy small Solar System
body that when close enough to the Sun displays a visible coma - a thin,
fuzzy, temporary atmosphere - and sometimes also a tail. Asteroids are
actually small solar system bodies orbiting around the sun.

NEOWISE is an enhancement of the $320 million Wide-field Infrared
Survey Explorer (WISE) mission that was launched in Dec. 2009. WISE
scanned the entire celestial sky in infrared light about 1.5 times and
captured more than 2.7 million images of objects in space, ranging from
faraway galaxies to asteroids and comets close to Earth.

The latest findings will help in determining the objects' sizes and compositions.

NASA said by combining visible and infrared measurements, astronomers
can study the compositions of the rocky bodies like whether they are
solid or crumbly. The findings will lead to a much-improved picture of
the various asteroid populations.

NEOWISE data will help in the discovery of the closest dim stars, called brown dwarfs. These observations have the potential to reveal a brown dwarf even closer to us than our closest known star, Proxima Centauri, if such an object does exist.

Data from WISE and NEOWISE could also detect a hidden gas-giant planet in the outer reaches of our solar system, says NASA.

"Even just one year of observations from the NEOWISE project has
significantly increased our catalog of data on NEOs and the other small
bodies of the solar systems," said Lindley Johnson, NASA's program
executive for the NEO Observation Program.

NEOWISE confirmed the presence of objects in the main belt that already
had been detected. In just one year, it observed about 153,000 rocky
bodies out of about 500,000 known objects. Those include the 33,000 that
NEOWISE discovered.

NEOWISE also observed known objects closer to and farther from us than
the main belt, including roughly 2,000 asteroids that orbit along with
Jupiter, hundreds of NEOs and of course, more than 100 comets.

"You can think of Earth and the asteroids as racehorses moving along in a
track," said Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NEOWISE at
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
"We're moving along together around the sun, but the main belt
asteroids are like horses on the outer part of the track. They take
longer to orbit than us, so we eventually lap them."

The data from NEOWISE on the asteroid and comet orbits are catalogued at
the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, a
clearinghouse for information about all solar system bodies at the
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The science team is analyzing the infrared observations now and will publish new findings in the coming months.

WISE is a NASA infrared-wavelength astronomical space telescope launched
on 14 Dec. 2009. In early October 2010, after completing its prime
science mission, the spacecraft ran out of frozen coolant that keeps its
instrumentation cold.Rather than abandoning the spacecraft, the NASA
Planetary division stepped in with a $400,000 one month program
extension called 'Near-Earth Object WISE' (NEOWISE) to search for small
solar system bodies close to Earth's orbit.

As the NEOWISE has successfully completed a full sweep of the main
asteroid belt, the WISE spacecraft will go into hibernation mode and
remain in polar orbit around the Earth, where it could be called back
into service in the future.

The first batch of observations from the WISE mission will be available to the public and astronomy community in April.

European Space Agency images of Mars reveal enormous impact craters


Arabia Terra on Mars

ESA's Mars Express has returned new views of pedestal craters in the Red Planet's eastern Arabia Terra.

Craters are perhaps the quintessential planetary geological feature. So
much so that early planetary geologists expended a lot of effort to
understand them. You could say they put craters on a pedestal. This
latest image of Mars shows how the Red Planet does it in reality.

Craters are the result of impacts by asteroids, comets and meteorites.
In a pedestal crater, the surrounding terrain is covered by pulverised
rock thrown out of the crater. This material creates a platform or
pedestal around the crater often with steep cliffs, and is usually rich
in volatile materials such as water and ice.

Arabia Terra is part of the highlands of Mars, stretching east to west
across 4500 km in the northern hemisphere, and named for a feature drawn
on Giovanni Schiaparelli's 19th-century map of Mars.


Arabia Terra in context

whole area is characterised by steep-sided hills, valleys and ancient
impact craters that have been extensively resurfaced by old lava flows
and modified by profound erosion over millions of years. The eastern
areas rise up to 4 km above the low-lying north-western parts. To the
north, Arabia Terra drops and blends into the northern lowlands.

Pedestal craters are visible in this new view of a 159 km by 87 km
region of eastern Arabia Terra, taken by the High Resolution Stereo
Camera on ESA's Mars Express orbiter.

The large crater to the top centre has a pedestal that looks like a
skirt, rising almost up to the crater rim. Mounds and table mountains on
the floors of the larger craters show layered deposits that could be
the result of volcanic processes, or that may have been deposited by
wind or water.

In the north (right), layered deposits appear as smooth plains covering
the highlands. These were thought to have formed during the Late
Noachian and Early Hesperian eras, about 4 billion years ago.

Later, the deposits experienced heavy erosion by wind and partially by
water, leading to the variety of landscapes seen in this region today.


Arabia Terra Elevation


Arabia Terra in high resolution


Arabia Terra in perspective


Arabia Terra in perspective


Arabia Terra in 3D

Very close shave! NEO to come within 12,000 km of Earth today, February 4!

The newly discovered object, officially designated 2011 CQ1, will
make a close Earth approach today February 04, 2011 around 19:40UT at
~0.03(LD)/0.00008(AU) or 11855 km.

2011 CQ1 has been discovered by R. A. Kowalski few hours ago in the course of the "Catalina Sky Survey"
with a 0.68-m Schmidt + CCD. The object was moving at roughly 6 "/min
and it was of magnitude ~19. According to its absolute magnitude H=32
this is a very small object, in the order of 2-3 meters.

Just few hours after his discovery, we have been able to follow-up this
object using remotely a 0.35-m f/3.8 reflector + CCD of "Tzec Maun
Observatory" in New Mexico. At the moment of our images (on February
04.46), "2011 CQ1" was moving at 23"/min and its magnitude was ~18.

Here you can see our image (stacking of 20 unfiltered
exposures, 10 seconds each). Click on the image for a bigger version:

© remanzacco.blogspot.com

While this is an animation showing the object movement in the sky here.

According to Bill Gray (Findorb developer): "That perigee value is solid to within a few kilometers. So no chance of an impact, but still _very_ close!!"

The orbital elements published here, are very interesting:

2011 CQ1

  • Perigee 2011 Feb 4.818749 TT = 19:38:59 (JD 2455597.318749)

  • Epoch 2011 Feb 4.8 TT = JDT 2455597.3 Find_Orb

  • q 11855.6869km (2000.0) P Q

  • H 32.1 G 0.15 Peri. 156.15870 -0.32177738 -0.84067340

  • Node 92.60696 -0.92360962 0.17747398

  • e 1.7936521 Incl. 25.85075 -0.20833766 0.51163581

From 11 observations 2011 Feb. 4 (6.3 hr); mean residual 0".362.

As shown by the ephemeris, 2011 CQ1 will be visible for a few hours. It
would be really interesting to follow-up this object in the next few
hours, during its very close approach when it will reach the magnitude

Comment: Readers are encouraged to watch this video to understand the seriousness of the asteroid threat.

Asteroid Discovery From 1980 - 2010

Fireball falls from the sky and torches field near Bjelovar, Croatia

A frightened ambulance driver saw it first: "a fireball fell from
the sky and lit up the woods near Bjelovar!" 'Driving a patient at
night I noticed a fiery flame in the sky. Falling into a valley in the
countryside '

- A comet fell from the sky and set fire to the woods near Bjelovar! On
Saturday evening there were also media reports of a fire in a field
near the center of Bulinca. The alarm was raised by callers dialing
emergency number 112.

A man said he was driving the car, saw the comet with a flaming tail
that fell from the sky into an area of vegetation. According to
information from the Bjelovar Fire Department, a fire broke out in
between the towns of Bulinac with Bjelovar.

"I was exiting Patkovca on the left side of the road and noticed a fiery
flame in the sky. Since we are in a valley and it was dusk, we could
see very well. It was within walking distance of two to three kilometers
from me and at first I thought it was a plane crash. I watched the
fiery ball until it fell to the ground. It all lasted about ten seconds.
A dozen sci-fi scenarios passed through my head and I could not believe
what I saw. A few miles away, at the entrance to Bulinac, I saw a big
fire near the forest on a nearby area of grass. About this I immediately
informed the Emergency Center 112. Unfortunately, I did not had time to
stop and see what it was because I was in an ambulance transporting
patients," said Daruvarcanin Darko Hresic, an ambulance driver.

When they put out the fire, members of the DVD searched the area looking
for a crater or something that would point to a deliberate arson.
Nothing was found. The news of the event very quickly spread throughout
Bulincem. According to information from the Bjelovar Police, so far the
only eyewitness is Hresic.

(John Karac(ony / Bjelovarski list)

Meteorite crater found on mount Ararat?

Ararat crater meteorite

Vahe Gurzadyan from the Yerevan Physics Institute in Armenia and Sverre
Aarseth from the University of Cambridge in the UK, discovered an unrecorded crater that raises the possibility that the biblical mountain Ararat was struck by a meteorite.

A British scientific publication OBSERVATORY will soon publish
an article about the discovery. However, after appearing on the
University Cornell website it had already spread around the world.

Mount Ararat is an ancient, isolated volcano in eastern Turkey near the borders with Armenia.

The northern and western slopes of the mountain are closed to public but somehow the two physicists gained access.

At an altitude of 2100 metres, at coordinates 39˚ 47' 30''N,
44˚ 14' 40''E, they found a well-preserved and previously unrecorded
crater some 70 metres across. Gurzadyan and Aarseth think that it is the
result of a meteorite impact. They rule out a glacial origin on the
grounds that 2100 metres is well below the glacier line.

Gurzadyan and Aarseth publish their account with the intention of
attracting interest so that the crater can be properly classified.

Arizona Meteor Fireball


© Doug Snyder 2011

Arizona meteor 7FEB2011

fireball was captured on 7 Feb. at about 2256 Mountain Standard Time.
The fireball occurred in the constellation Canis Major. The photo was
taken in SE Arizona, near the border with Mexico.

Ancient Crash, Epic Wave: Did an Asteroid Impact Cause an Ancient Tsunami?

© Dallas Abbott

The Fenambosy chevron, one of four near the tip of Madagascar, is 600 feet high and three miles from the ocean.

the southern end of Madagascar lie four enormous wedge-shaped sediment
deposits, called chevrons, that are composed of material from the ocean
floor. Each covers twice the area of Manhattan with sediment as deep as
the Chrysler Building is high.

On close inspection, the chevron deposits contain deep ocean
microfossils that are fused with a medley of metals typically formed by
cosmic impacts. And all of them point in the same direction - toward
the middle of the Indian Ocean where a newly discovered crater, 18 miles
in diameter, lies 12,500 feet below the surface.

The explanation is obvious to some scientists. A large asteroid or
comet, the kind that could kill a quarter of the world's population,
smashed into the Indian Ocean 4,800 years ago, producing a tsunami at
least 600 feet high, about 13 times as big as the one that inundated
Indonesia nearly two years ago. The wave carried the huge deposits of
sediment to land.

Most astronomers doubt that any large comets or asteroids have
crashed into the Earth in the last 10,000 years. But the self-described
"band of misfits" that make up the two-year-old Holocene Impact Working
Group say that astronomers simply have not known how or where to look
for evidence of such impacts along the world's shorelines and in the
deep ocean.

Scientists in the working group say the evidence for such
impacts during the last 10,000 years, known as the Holocene epoch, is
strong enough to overturn current estimates of how often the Earth
suffers a violent impact on the order of a 10-megaton explosion. Instead
of once in 500,000 to one million years, as astronomers now calculate,
catastrophic impacts could happen every 1,000 years.

The researchers, who formed the working group after finding one another
through an international conference, are based in the United States,
Australia, Russia, France and Ireland. They are established experts in
geology, geophysics, geomorphology, tsunamis, tree rings, soil science
and archaeology, including the structural analysis of myth. Their
efforts are just getting under way, but they will present some of their
work at the American Geophysical Union meeting in December in San

This year the group started using Google Earth, a free source of
satellite images, to search around the globe for chevrons, which they
interpret as evidence of past giant tsunamis. Scores of such sites have
turned up in Australia, Africa, Europe and the United States, including
the Hudson River Valley and Long Island.

When the chevrons all point in the same direction to open water, Dallas
Abbott, an adjunct research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth
Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., uses a different satellite technology to
look for oceanic craters. With increasing frequency, she finds them,
including an especially large one dating back 4,800 years.

So far, astronomers are skeptical but are willing to look at the
evidence, said David Morrison, a leading authority on asteroids and
comets at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. Surveys
show that as many as 185 large asteroids or comets hit the Earth in the
far distant past, although most of the craters are on land. No one has
spent much time looking for craters in the deep ocean, Dr. Morrison
said, assuming young ones don't exist and that old ones would be filled
with sediment.

Astronomers monitor every small space object with an orbit close to the
Earth. "We know what's out there, when they return, how close they
come," Dr. Morrison said. Given their observations, "there is no reason
to think we have had major hits in the last 10,000 years," he continued,
adding, "But if Dallas is right and they find 10 such events, we'll
have a real contradiction on our hands."

Peter Bobrowsky, a senior research scientist in natural hazards at the
Geological Survey of Canada, said "chevrons are fantastic features" but
do not prove that megatsunamis are real. There are other interpretations
for how chevrons are formed, including erosion and glaciation. Dr.
Bobrowsky said. It is up to the working group to prove its claims, he

William Ryan, a marine geologist at the Lamont Observatory, compared Dr.
Abbott's work to that of other pioneering scientists who had to change
the way their colleagues thought about a subject.

"Many of us think Dallas is really onto something," Dr. Ryan said. "She
is building a story just like Walter Alvarez did." Dr. Alvarez, a
professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of
California, Berkeley, spent a decade convincing skeptics that a giant
asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Ted Bryant, a geomorphologist at the University of Wollongong in New
South Wales, Australia, was the first person to recognize the palm
prints of mega-tsunamis. Large tsunamis of 30 feet or more are caused by
volcanoes, earthquakes and submarine landslides, he said, and their
deposits have different features.

Deposits from mega-tsunamis contain unusual rocks with marine oyster
shells, which cannot be explained by wind erosion, storm waves,
volcanoes or other natural processes, Dr. Bryant said.

"We're not talking about any tsunami you're ever seen," Dr. Bryant said.
"Aceh was a dimple. No tsunami in the modern world could have made
these features. End-of-the-world movies do not capture the size of these
waves. Submarine landslides can cause major tsunamis, but they are
localized. These are deposited along whole coastlines."

For example, Dr. Bryant identified two chevrons found over four miles
inland near Carpentaria in north central Australia. Both point north.
When Dr. Abbott visited a year ago, he asked her to find the craters.

To locate craters, Dr. Abbott uses sea surface altimetry data.
Satellites scan the ocean surface and log the exact height of it.
Underwater mountain ranges, trenches and holes in the ground disturb the
Earth's gravitational field, causing sea surface heights to vary by
fractions of an inch. Within 24 hours of searching the shallow water
north of the two chevrons, Dr. Abbott found two craters.

Not all depressions in the ocean are impact craters, Dr. Abbott said.
They can be sink holes, faults or remnant volcanoes. A check is needed.
So she obtained samples from deep sea sediment cores taken in the area
by the Australian Geological Survey.

The cores contain melted rocks and magnetic spheres with fractures and
textures characteristic of a cosmic impact. "The rock was pulverized,
like it was hit with a hammer," Dr. Abbott said. "We found diatoms fused
to tektites," a glassy substance formed by meteors. The molten glass
and shattered rocks could not be produced by anything other than an
impact, she said.

"We think these two craters are 1,200 years old," Dr. Abbott said. The
chevrons are well preserved and date to about the same time.

Dr. Abbott and her colleagues have located chevrons in the Caribbean,
Scotland, Vietnam and North Korea, and several in the North Sea.

Hither Hills State Park on Long Island has a chevron whose front edge
points to a crater in Long Island Sound, Dr. Abbott said. There is
another, very faint chevron in Connecticut, and it points in a different

Marie-Agnès Courty, a soil scientist at the European Center for
Prehistoric Research in Tautavel, France, is studying the worldwide
distribution of cosmogenic particles from what she suspects was a major
impact 4,800 years ago.

But Madagascar provides the smoking gun for geologically recent impacts.
In August, Dr. Abbott, Dr. Bryant and Slava Gusiakov, from the
Novosibirsk Tsunami Laboratory in Russia, visited the four huge chevrons
to scoop up samples.

Last month, Dee Breger, director of microscopy at Drexel University in
Philadelphia, looked at the samples under a scanning electron microscope
and found benthic foraminifera, tiny fossils from the ocean floor,
sprinkled throughout. Her close-ups revealed splashes of iron, nickel
and chrome fused to the fossils.

When a chondritic meteor, the most common kind, vaporizes upon impact in
the ocean, those three metals are formed in the same relative
proportions as seen in the microfossils, Dr. Abbott said.

Ms. Breger said the microfossils appear to have melded with the
condensing metals as both were lofted up out of the sea and carried long

About 900 miles southeast from the Madagascar chevrons, in deep ocean,
is Burckle crater, which Dr. Abbott discovered last year. Although its
sediments have not been directly sampled, cores from the area contain
high levels of nickel and magnetic components associated with impact

Burckle crater has not been dated, but Dr. Abbott estimates that it is 4,500 to 5,000 years old.

It would be a great help to the cause if the National Science Foundation
sent a ship equipped with modern acoustic equipment to take a closer
look at Burckle, Dr. Ryan said. "If it had clear impact features, the
nonbelievers would believe," he said.

But they might have more trouble believing one of the scientists, Bruce
Masse, an environmental archaeologist at the Los Alamos National
Laboratory in New Mexico. He thinks he can say precisely when the comet
fell: on the morning of May 10, 2807 B.C.

Dr. Masse analyzed 175 flood myths from around the world, and tried to
relate them to known and accurately dated natural events like solar
eclipses and volcanic eruptions. Among other evidence, he said, 14 flood
myths specifically mention a full solar eclipse, which could have been
the one that occurred in May 2807 B.C.

Half the myths talk of a torrential downpour, Dr. Masse said. A third
talk of a tsunami. Worldwide they describe hurricane force winds and
darkness during the storm. All of these could come from a mega-tsunami.

Of course, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, Dr. Masse said, "and we're not there yet."

Correction: Nov. 16, 2006

An article in Science Times on Tuesday about new research
suggesting that a comet or an asteroid may have struck the Indian Ocean
4,800 years ago included an incorrect estimate from researchers for the
frequency of such collisions. The current estimate is one impact on the
order of a 10-megaton bomb every 1,000 years, not every few thousand
years. The article also misstated the name of a state park on Long
Island that has a large sand wedge called a chevron, which may indicate
that a comet or meteor landed in the ocean nearby. It is Hither Hills,
not Heather Hill.

Correction: Dec. 1, 2006

An article in Science Times on Nov. 14 about new research
suggesting that a comet or an asteroid may have struck the Indian Ocean
4,800 years ago misspelled the name of a scientist at the Geological
Survey of Canada who specializes in natural hazards. He is Peter
Bobrowsky, not Bobrowski.

Giant Meteorites Slammed Earth Around A.D. 500?

Double impact may have caused tsunami, global cooling.

© Illustration by Detlev van Ravenswaay, Astrofoto, Peter Arnold Images, Photolibrary

An asteroid hurtles toward Earth in an artist's rendering.

of a giant asteroid or comet that broke apart over Earth may have
crashed off Australia about 1,500 years ago, says a scientist who has
found evidence of the possible impact craters.

Satellite measurements of the Gulf of Carpentaria (see map)
revealed tiny changes in sea level that are signs of impact craters on
the seabed below, according to new research by marine geophysicist
Dallas Abbott.

Based on the satellite data, one crater should be about 11 miles (18
kilometers) wide, while the other should be 7.4 miles (12 kilometers)

For years Abbott, of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth
Observatory, has argued that V-shaped sand dunes along the gulf coast
are evidence of a tsunami triggered by an impact.

"These dunes are like arrows that point toward their source," Abbott
said. In this case, the dunes converge on a single point in the gulf -
the same spot where Abbott found the two sea-surface depressions.

The new work is the latest among several clues linking a
major impact event to an episode of global cooling that affected crop
harvests from A.D. 536 to 545, Abbott contends.

According to the theory, material thrown high into the atmosphere by the
Carpentaria strike probably triggered the cooling, which has been
pinpointed in tree-ring data from Asia and Europe.

What's more, around the same time the Roman Empire was falling apart in
Europe, Aborigines in Australia may have witnessed and recorded the
double impact, she said.

Aborigine Eyewitnesses

Based on the new research, Abbott thinks the two craters were made by an object that split into pieces as it approached Earth.

To make a pair of craters this big in the seafloor's soft sediments, the
original object must have been about 2,000 feet (600 meters) across
before it broke up, she said.

Core samples from the region back up the case for such an impact, Abbott
added. Previous research had found that the samples contain smooth,
magnetic spherules, which were probably created when the object's
explosive landing melted material and blasted it into the sky.

Furthermore, a 2004 paper in the journal Astronomy and Geophysics
suggested that the circa-A.D. 500 global cooling event might have been
caused by dust from an impact of approximately the size Abbott has now
calculated for Carpentaria.

It's even possible the impact had eyewitnesses: Aboriginal rock art from
the region seems to have recorded the event, although the researchers
examining this art declined to discuss details until after their paper
has been published.

Still, Duane Hamacher, a Ph.D. student at Macquarie University in Sydney
not involved with the rock-art work, recently demonstrated that
Aboriginal stories can be used to locate meteorite craters.

"Numerous examples of fiery stars falling from the sky and
striking the earth, causing death and destruction, are found throughout
Aboriginal Dreamings [spiritual folk stories] across Australia,"
Hamacher wrote on his blog.

"The descriptions seem to indicate that the events were witnessed, not simply 'made-up.'"

In findings yet to be published, Hamacher used one set of Aboriginal
stories, along with images in Google Earth, to locate a 919-foot-wide
(280-meter-wide) impact crater in Palm Valley, in Australia's Northern

Too Many Meteorite Strikes?

But some experts are skeptical of Abbott's conclusions, which were
presented last December at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union
in San Francisco.

One potential problem is the presence of two separate craters at the
Gulf of Carpentaria site, said physicist Mark Boslough of Sandia
National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

If a large impactor had broken up on its final approach to Earth, he
said, the fragments would still have been very, very close together when
they landed: "It essentially will behave as one piece," creating a
single crater, Boslough said.

In addition, he said, Abbott and other members of an informal
association called the Holocene Impact Working Group are finding
evidence for more impact events than astronomers calculate should be

Abbott and colleagues argue that several climate events during the
Holocene epoch - 11,500 years ago to the present - were actually
triggered by impacts, and therefore such large impacts are more common
than currently believed.

Boslough and other experts, meanwhile, have been cataloging asteroids
and other bodies that cross Earth's orbit and calculating how frequently
space rocks should strike the planet.

"We have a pretty good idea about how many there are and what the
frequency of impact should be, and the abundances based on [the working
group's claimed crater count] are orders of magnitude greater than what
astronomers observe," Boslough said.

"It's pretty hard to imagine where these things could be coming from so that astronomers wouldn't see them."

Instead, it's more likely that the craters found by the working group have volcanic origins, the impact skeptics conclude.

Abbott acknowledges that her case for Carpentaria isn't
100-percent proven. But in general, she said, "I think we're getting
very close to being able to show there were a lot of impacts in the last
10,000 years."

Comment: Interestingly, this was described by the Cassiopaeans long before any studies about it were published:

Session 12 September 1998

Q: (L) On the subject of supernovas; I have discovered that three of the
supernovas of antiquity which have be discovered and time estimated by
the remnants, if they were not observed, occurred in or near Cassiopeia
at very interesting points in history.

A: Yes...

Q: (L) Well, one of these periods in history was around 1054. This is a
very interesting time. It just so happens that there are no European records of this supernova
which was recorded by the Chinese, Japanese, and perhaps even the
Koreans. Yet, there are no European records. What happened to the
European records?

A: Europe was in a "recovery mode" at the "time."

Q: (L) Recovery from what?

A: Loss of civilized structure due to overhead cometary explosion in 564 AD.

Q: (C) There were certain historical facts you picked up, so that
doesn't make sense to me. (L) On the other hand it might, because there
is some stuff from Gregory of Tours that is real bizarre. What effect
did this have on the civilized structure? Was it a direct effect in
terms of material, or did it have effects on people causing them to
behave in an uncivilized and barbaric way?

A: Well, the burning fragmentary shower ignited much of the land
areas in what you now refer to as Western Europe. This had the results
you can imagine, causing the resulting societal breakdown you now refer
to as "The Dark Ages."

Q: (L) Well, it damn sure was dark. There is almost a thousand years that nobody knows anything about!

A: Check Irish or Celtic, and French or Gallic records of the era for
clues. There were temporary "islands of survival," lasting just long
enough for the written word to eke out.

The True Origins of Electric Comet Theory

have recently received a handful of uninformed responses from people
who have read my series of essays on the possible influence of
electricity in the solar system - including the electric nature of

Several have written to me claiming that I was not giving proper credit to astrophysicist James McCanney,
even asserting that McCanney "originated" the electric comet theory.
Some have further stated that "electric universe" theorist Wallace
Thornhill has "borrowed" from McCanney's theories without acknowledging a
debt to McCanney.

Both of these assertions are false.

McCanney did not "originate" the electric comet theory, because:

  1. the theory has roots in many 19th century speculations about comets

  2. the catalytic work on the electric sun and electric comets was
    that of the twentieth century pioneer Ralph Juergens, whose published
    papers on the subject pre-date those of McCanney by several years

  3. Thornhill's thesis was directly inspired by Juergens', whose work Thornhill diligently followed from the beginning

  4. the hypothesis was favored by Thornhill, to which he has added many nuances, and differs significantly from McCanney's

  5. the core of McCanney's thesis is thrown into doubt by space age discovery, while Thornhill's is not

Nevertheless, McCanney must be given credit for having explored cometary
phenomena from a unique electrical vantage point and having added to
scientific discussion of the "electric comet."

A brief historical outline of the evolution of the electric comet theory may be helpful.

It is clear that at least by the second half of the 19th
century, many scientists believed that comet tails were fundamentally
electrical. For example, in 1872, Scientific American (July
27th, p. 57), informed its readers that "Professor Zollner of Leipsic"
ascribes the "self-luminosity" of comets to "electrical excitement."

According to the article, Zollner suggests that,

"the nuclei of comets, as masses, are subject to gravitation, while
the vapors developed from them, which consist of very small particles,
yield to the action of the free electricity of the sun...."

Also in the 19th century, the August 11, 1882 English Mechanic and World of Science, pp. 516-7, wrote of cometary tails:

"...There seems to be a rapidly growing feeling amongst physicists
that both the self-light of comets and the phenomena of their tails
belong to the order of electrical phenomena."

Similar ideas about comet's tails appear in Nature, No. 1370, Vol. 53, Jan 30, 1896, p. 306:

"It has long been imagined that the phenomenon of comet's tails are
in some way due to a solar electrical repulsion, and additional light is
thrown on this subject by recent physical researches."

Over subsequent decades, however, science moved away from ANY
consideration of electrical phenomena in space, a turn of events which
is only now being reversed.

A major catalyst for independent re-consideration of electricity and
magnetism in space came in 1950, with the publication of Immanuel
Velikovsky's World in Collision. The controversial theorist had proposed
an extraordinary idea. He suggested that, only a few thousand years
ago, the planet Venus appeared in the sky as a great comet.

The theory was ridiculed by the scientific mainstream, since all
well-accredited scientists "knew" that gases could not escape from a
planet-sized body to produce the kind of "cometary tail" Velikovsky had
envisioned. Velikovsky
was not ignorant of the "escape velocity" cited by physicists, but his
examination of ancient records suggested to him that our ancestors
witnessed extremely intense electrical activity in the sky, including
electrical arcing between planets moving on unstable courses.

Velikovsky said that the only way the evidence could be reconciled with
current scientific knowledge would be through consideration of

In Worlds in Collision, he wrote:

"I became skeptical of the great theories concerning the celestial
motions that were formulated when the historical facts described here
were not known to science....Fundamental principles in celestial
mechanics, including the law of gravitation, must come into question if
the sun possesses a charge sufficient to influence the planets and their
orbits, or the comets in theirs. In the Newtonian celestial mechanics,
based on the theory of gravitation, electricity and magnetism play no

In the 1960's, a Flagstaff, AZ engineer named Ralph Juergens - a former
associate editor of a McGraw-Hill technical publication - began
collaborating directly with Velikovsky, inspired by the historical
evidence for electrical events in the heavens. This evidence prompted
Juergens to begin an extended investigation of the electrical properties
of celestial bodies. He came to see the sun as the most positively
charged body at the center of an electrical system.

In the fall of 1972, Juergens published the first in a series of
articles offering a revolutionary hypothesis on the "electric sun." The
articles appeared in Pensee magazine's series, "Immanuel Velikovsky Reconsidered," p. 6:

"The known characteristics of the interplanetary medium suggest not
only that the sun and the planets are electrically charged, but that the
sun itself is the focus of a cosmic electric discharge - the probable
source of all its radiant energy."

While Juergens' model focused most fundamentally on the Sun, its implications for comet theory were inescapable.

I'll skip most of the technical details concerning the formation of a
"plasma sheath" around charged bodies in space, but in the Juergens
hypothesis, a comet spends most of its time in the outermost regions of
the solar system, where the electric field will be most negative. The
comet nucleus, Juergens said, naturally acquires the negative charge of
its environment. This leads to electrical stresses on the comet as it
falls towards the sun.

Juergens writes,

"A space-charge sheath will begin to form to shield the
interplanetary plasma from the comet's alien field. As the comet races
toward the sun, its sheath takes the form of a long tail stretching away
from the sun...."

Juergens' model of the electric sun and of electrically discharging
comets was immediately taken up by Earl Milton, professor of physics at
Lethbridge University in Canada.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the Society of Interdisciplinary
Studies in April 1980, Milton offered a ringing endorsement of Juergens'

"The cometary body takes on the properties (author's note: electric
charge) of the space in which it has spent most of its time. On those
infrequent apparitions when it comes into the space of the inner SOLAR
SYSTEM, the body of the comet gets out of equilibrium because it now
moving in an electrically different environment than the one it is
adjusted to. An electrical flow then occurs to rectify the situation.
The sheath which builds around the cometary body glows brightly and
assumes the characteristic shape of the comet's head and tail."

Several years after Juergens' revolutionary papers on the electric sun,
James McCanney, then a lecturer in the physics and mathematics
department of Cornell University, prepared the first in a series of
three articles in Kronos magazine on "The Nature and Origin of Comets and the Evolution of Celestial Bodies."

In his own words,

"This paper was produced during the 1979-80, 1980-81 academic years."

The article is copyrighted 1981 and 1983.

One other researcher, Australian physicist Wallace Thornhill, has also
contributed significantly to modern speculations about "electric
comets." Thornhill,s interest was provoked by the Pensee magazine
series in the early seventies, and his greatest interest was in the
revolutionary work of Ralph Juergens. This was an active interest that
brought him to America in 1974, to attend an international conference,
"Velikovsky and the Recent History of the Solar System." Ralph Juergens
was a principal speaker.

Over the following three decades, Thornhill accumulated a massive data
base on comets, and much of this independent research is slated for
publication in a series of volumes, beginning with the forthcoming book,
"Thunderbolts of the Gods," co-authored with David Talbott. (www.thunderbolts.info).

Years after the Pensee series, James McCanney's articles on comets appeared in Kronos.
Thornhill recognized that McCanney's hypothesis diverged significantly
from the original Juergens hypothesis, and he preferred the Juergens
model. Thus, Thornill saw the comet nucleus as a negatively charged body
moving through an electric field of the sun, and experiencing
increasing electrical stresses as it draws nearer to center of the field
(the sun).

The view is stated in the monograph, "The Electric Universe," now being prepared for publication:

"As a comet accelerates toward the Sun and electrons are stripped
from the comet's surface, it first develops a huge visible glow
discharge, or coma, then the discharge switches to the arc mode. This
results in a number of bright cathode 'spots' of high current density on
the surface, etching circular craters and burning the surface black,
giving the surface its extreme darkness. Each arc forms a 'cathode jet'
that electrically accelerates the excavated and vaporized material into

This point is particularly worth mentioning, because it distinguishes
the Juergens-Milton-Thornhill model from that of James McCanney. It was
McCanney's hypothesis that cometary nuclei ACCRETE material, and that
this accretion process, continuing over long periods of time, would give
rise to a PLANET. In contrast to this model, Thornhill's hypothesis
predicts the progressive DEGRADATION of comet nuclei, with sharply
defined surface features from the electrical etching process. This
distinction between the two models amounts to an ACID TEST.

In his article, "The Nature of and Origins of Comets and the Evolution of Celestial Bodies" (Part 1), Kronos, Vol. 9, No. 1, Fall 1983, McCanney writes,

"...a comet involved in the discharge of the solar capacitor will continue to grow in size and mass...."

"Curved tails, such as in Donati's comet, when it neared the Sun,
are a result of the matter in the Zodiacal disk falling into the comet

"This causes a buildup of material on the asteroidal comet nucleus....Comets eventually evolve into planets...."

More specifically, in Appendix 2, Part II, Kronos Vol. 9, No.
3, Summer 1984, McCanney offered as a DEFINITIVE TEST his prediction
that tail material "will be detected by DIRECT OBSERVATION to move
TOWARDS the comet nucleus."

We have now visited several comets. Such movement has not been detected,
and it is quite evident that violent jets are removing material and
accelerating it into space...

It should be obvious that no one can claim a monopoly on the electric
comet theory. But it is only appropriate that innovative pioneers (in
this case, Velikovsky and Juergens) receive due credit for having opened
the doors to revolutionary possibilities.

From the beginning Thornhill has consistently credited Velikovsky and Juergens for the direction of his life's work.

James McCanney's contributions should also be welcomed, but any
perception that he "originated" electric comet theory, and/or that
Wallace Thornhill has unfairly "borrowed" from McCanney's work, is quite
clearly erroneous.

NASA Spacecraft Closes in on Comet Tempel 1

© Science@NASA

Stardust-NExT chases a comet, an artist's concept.

the first time, we'll see the same comet before and after its closest
approach to the sun," explains Joe Veverka, principal investigator for
NASA's Stardust-NExT mission.

The comet is Tempel 1, which NASA's Deep Impact probe visited in 2005.
Now another NASA spacecraft, Stardust-NExT, is closing in for a second
look on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14, 2011. The two visits bracket one
complete orbit of the comet around the sun--and a blast of solar heat.

"Close encounters with the sun never go well for a comet," says Veverka.
"Fierce solar heat vaporizes the ices in the comet's core, causing it
to spit dust and spout gas. The cyclic loss of material eventually leads
to its demise."

Researchers suspect the flamboyant decay doesn't happen evenly all over a
comet's surface*, but until now they've lacked a way to document where,
exactly, it does occur. Stardust NExT will image some of the same
surface areas Deep Impact photographed 6 years ago, revealing how these
areas have changed and where material has been lost.

"Deep Impact gave us tantalizing glimpses of Temple 1," says
Veverka. "And we saw strange and unusual things we'd like a closer look

At a January 2011 press conference, Veverka and other Stardust-NExT team
members listed the features they're most interested in seeing again:

© Science@NASA

and a possible powdery flow are among the surface features of interest
highlighted in this July 4, 2005, Deep Impact photo of Comet Tempel 1.
The bright flash is where Deep Impact dropped an 820 lb copper
projectile onto the comet. Stardust-NExT could get a first look at the
aftermath of the blast.

For starters, parts of the comet's surface are layered like pancakes.

"Earth has layers because water and wind move dirt and debris around
here, but layering on a comet was a surprise - and a mystery," says

"One idea is that two protocometary bodies collided at low speeds and
smushed together to form something like a stack of flapjacks," says Pete
Shultz, Stardust-NExT co-investigator.

Is that right? Data obtained by Stardust-NExT will provide clues and possibly reveal what made the "comet pancakes."

Another area intrigues the research team even more.

"There's a large plateau that looks like a flow," says Shultz. "If it
really is a flow, it means there was recently gas and dust emanating
from the [surface]."

Stardust-NExT will reveal how the plateau has changed (Is it flowing?),
helping the team determine its origin. Whatever their origin, the
plateau and layering show that comets have a much more complicated
geologic history than previously thought.

"Tempel 1 is not just a fuzzy ball," says Shultz. "It has history."

© Science@NASA

A close-up view of a possible flow on Tempel 1.

a history NASA has had a hand in. During its 2005 visit, Deep Impact
dropped an 820-pound projectile into the comet's core. In a development
that surprised mission scientists, the impact excavated so much material
that the underlying crater was hidden from view. Deep Impact's cameras
were unable to see through the enormous cloud of dust the impactor had
stirred up. Stardust NExT could provide a long anticipated look at the
impact site.

"The dust has settled there, so if the right part of the comet is facing
us, we could see the crater and learn its size," says Veverka. "That
would answer some key questions. For instance, is a comet's surface hard
or soft?"

In a future mission, a spacecraft may land on a comet and gather samples
for analysis. To design a suitable lander, researchers need to know
what kind of surface it would land on. They'll also need to know which
tools to send - drills for hard surfaces or scoops for something

Like Deep Impact, the Stardust spacecraft has already had a productive
career. Launched in 1999, it approached Comet Wild 2 close enough in
2004 to image its feature-rich surface and even gather dust particles
from the comet's atmosphere. (A key finding in the sample was the amino
acid glycene - a building block of life.)

"We could have just let this old spacecraft rest on those laurels,
leaving it to forever orbit the sun," says Veverka. "But instead, we're
doing first-class comet science with it -- again."

As for Tempel 1, a hungry sun awaits.

Bright Fireball Seen Over Italy

A bright fireball has was seen on the night of February 8th 2011:

Apophis Asteroid Heading Toward Earth - 2011 CA7 Asteroid Passes Today!

Ateroid near earth

the Apophis asteroid has little chance of hitting Earth in 2036, there
is a car sized asteroid nearing Earth today! Is it going to hit?

No, NASA scientists from Asteroid Watch program say that there is no
threat from 2011 CA7. The asteroid flew within about 64,300 miles of the
third rock from the sun this afternoon around 2:25 p.m. EST, and it was
actually the second one in the past 5 days. On February 4, the smaller
2011 CQ1 was a mere 3,400 miles from Earth. Neither asteroid hit Earth.
For comparison, consider that the moon is 238,000 miles away from the
planet, so these space rocks were much closer than that.

These types of smaller asteroids flying near Earth are quite common. In
fact, NASA predicts that there are close encounters nearly daily.
Asteroids that could be potentially hazardous to the planet must be at
least 490 feet wide. That means that the Apophis Asteroid 900 feet is
one of the larger rocks that does pose a threat to the world.

A Russian report has predicted that the huge space rock could hit Earth
on April 13, 2036. Of course this dire prediction has garnered lots of
attention from scientists and others. Thankfully the chances of a true
impact are still quite slim. In fact, Donald Yeomans of NASA's
Near-Earth Object Program Office said that the chance is just

Comment: To understand more about real chances of impacts the reader might wish to read these articles:

Meteorites, Asteroids, and Comets: Damages, Disasters, Injuries, Deaths, and Very Close Calls

Forget About Global Warming: We're One Step From Extinction!

Those are pretty small odds in the case of the Apophis
Asteroid. However, today's close encounter with 2011 CA7 is the closets
known encounter with an asteroid ever. Are you concerned about a
catastrophic collision on Earth?

Has Nibiru/Planet X Been Sighted?

Comment: The following
article was written by Laura in the early days of Signs. We're reviving
it here and now in the hope of clearing up a lot of the confusion
surrounding what this 'Planet X' really is and to provide readers with
some insight into the background research that led to our catastrophist

© Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Comet Hale-Bopp, seen above the ancient stone circle of Stonehenge in southwest England in 1997

Is Nibiru going to appear in April, 2003 as is being claimed by certain New Age Gurus?

In a word, NO. And you can take that to the bank.

It is part of a COINTELPRO operation designed to drive believers over
the edge and force legislation against alternative ideas, research, and
the free exchange of information over the internet.

It is part of the Stargate Conspiracy.

Remember Hale Bopp? Remember Heaven's Gate? Have we learned anything?

Read the following article very carefully. Indeed, Earth will very
likely experience cataclysms at some point in the future, but it won't
be because of the Planet Nibiru, and it isn't going to be in 2003.

COINTELPRO is at work in the New Age!

COINTELPRO was the FBI's secret program to undermine the popular upsurge
which swept the country during the 1960s. Though the name stands for
"Counterintelligence Program," the targets were not enemy spies. The FBI
set out to eliminate "radical" political opposition inside the US. When
traditional modes of repression (exposure, blatant harassment, and
prosecution for political crimes) failed to counter the growing
insurgency, and even helped to fuel it, the Bureau took the law into its
own hands and secretly used fraud and force to sabotage
constitutionally - protected political activity. Its methods ranged
far beyond surveillance, and amounted to a domestic version of the
covert action for which the CIA has become infamous throughout the

In recent years, the FBI and other agencies have tried to clean up their
image. They have engaged in careful concealment of post-COINTELPRO
domestic counterintelligence operations. This effort has sold the "new
FBI" to some of the most prominent critics of earlier COINTELPRO.
University professors and congressional committees that helped to expose
the domestic covert action of the past now deny its persistence in the
present. Because of their credentials, these respectable "objective"
sources do more damage than the FBI's blatant right- wing publicists.
Left uncontested, their sophistry could disarm a new generation of
activists, leaving them vulnerable to government subversion.

In addition to political activists, it seems that COINTELPRO has
particularly targeted groups that are seeking the truth about the
interactions between the US government and Ultra Terrestrials, or
so-called "aliens - denizens of hyperdimensional realities.

The COINTELPRO files show the U.S. government targeting a very broad
range of religious, labor and community groups opposed to any of its
agendas, and it would be foolish to not realize that this very operation
extends to the US coverup of its "alien agenda."

The presence of a COINTELPRO operation also goes far in explaining why,
when the sincere researcher enters this field, he or she discovers only
lies, lies, and more lies. Confusion and disinformation. And it is
clearly deliberate, promulgated by Metaphysical Mavens and New Age
Impresarios - COINTELPRO agents, all of them.

The objective seems to be to attack and "neutralize" those who are
seeking the answers by marginalization, by conversion to wild beliefs
that later "fall through," and perhaps even by generating conditions
that force legislation against alternative research. The famous
Hale-Bopp Flopp is a case in point.

One more incident of wild promulgation of End of the World ideas that
lead to erratic or fanatical behavior in any group of people, and the
free exchange of ideas on the internet will come to a screeching,
legislated halt. Count on it.

As we have delved deeper into our investigation of the series of attacks
launched against us personally, and our work and our
discussion/research group, the reality of continuing COINTELPRO-type
attacks on progressive thinking became more and more evident. As we
published these files, we received further information from other
researchers that they, too, had been subjected to identical operations.

Ongoing domestic covert action is more than amply documented by The COINTELPRO Papers, Agents of Repression and War at Home.
What we are discovering is that the targets are not limited to the
opponents of U.S. political policies. Oh, no! They have developed
COINTELPRO to an all new level of Social Shaping, Cultural Brainwashing,
and this includes virtuallly anyone who is seeking the truth about the
shifting realities of our world.

The cases of COINTELPRO activities against political groups are no more
than the tip of the iceberg, given that the great bulk of COINTELPRO -
type operations remain secret until long after their damage has been
done. By all indications, domestic covert operations have become a
permanent feature of U.S. politics, and Social Programming.

The implications of this are truly alarming. Those who manage to get
close to the truth of these matters, despite the many obstacles in their
path, face country wide covert campaigns to discredit and disrupt their
research and reputations.

Clearly, COINTELPRO and similar operations under other names work to
distort academic and popular perceptions of the problems facing our
world. They have done enormous damage to the search for the Truth.

These COINTELPRO operations are clearly formidable and dangerous. Yet,
with networking, sharing of information, and exposure of the agents,
such covert action is not insurmountable. Knowledge Protects.

"Terrorism is changing. New adversaries, new motivations and new
rationales have surfaced in recent years to challenge much of the
conventional wisdom..." Dr. Bruce Hoffman, Director of RAND, Washington

One has to wonder why anything that "challenges the conventional wisdom" must be considered "terrorism?"

And how better to "take care" of those who challenge the "conventional
wisdom," the "control system," than by making it a crime to "think out
of the box?" And how to make it a crime? Machiavelli wrote the manual.
All you have to do is create or infiltrate groups that supposedly "think
out of the box," then subvert them or drive them to irrational acts, or
even commit terrorist acts in their names, and there you have it!

COINTELPRO prepares the ground, so to speak, so that terrorism is more
effective. You could call them the "opening acts" of the main
attraction, sent in to soften up the audience. They are the "sales team"
that sell the ideas upon which the later acts of terrorism depend for
effectiveness. They are here, now, in our world in the guise of
Promulgators of End of the World and Conspiracy Theories, and running
New Age Circuses, seminars, work-shops and "methods" or techniques for
"ascension," or accomplishing any of a dozen occult or purported
spiritual aims. They are the new phase of COINTELPRO.

Schools, workshops, seminars, conferences, "workings" and just a whole
host of fun activities are utilized to part the individual from his
money, his sanity, his free will, and in some cases, even his life.

Following the events of the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma
City in March of 1995, and the Heaven's Gate massacre, not to mention
the mass suicides of Jonestown and the Solar Cult in Europe, there
exists a very real fear of Cults, and with good reason.

The only problem is, the REAL cults are sending out "disinformation
artists and deceivers" who play on the vulnerabilities of Seekers of
Spiritual Paths and or alternative researchers into questions that have
never been satisfactorily answered by "conventional wisdom."

Beliefs in the "End of the World," the coming of the "New Jerusalem,"
the boom of the Gloom and Doom market has produced rich psychological
ground for the planting of the seeds of the general expectation for the
return of SOMETHING, and thus, the need to PREPARE. And they are all
ready to sell you the right technique, the right workshop, the right
school course, the right rituals and accoutrements, to make sure that
YOU are among the CHOSEN.

Back to the original question:

Is Nibiru going to appear in April, 2003 as is being claimed by certain New Age Gurus?

In a word, NO. It is part of the COINTELPRO operation.

Today I received an inquiry from a panicked reader who forwarded to me
information about "Planet Nibiru" of Zecharia Sitchin fame. The
questions were: "Is it true? Have they sighted Nibiru? Is it coming?
What shall we do?"

I undertook an inquiry into the matter, carefully perusing the
referenced sites and articles, and discovered that, once again, someone
is pandering to the public's demand for sensationalism.

Zecharia Sitchin has been quoted as saying:

There is one more planet in our own solar system, not light years
away, that comes between Mars and Jupiter every 3,600 years. People from
that planet came to Earth almost half a million years ago and did many
of the things about which we read in the Bible, in the book of Genesis. I
prophecize the return of this planet called Nibiru at this time. The
planet is inhabited by intelligent human beings like us who will come
and go between their planet and our planet. They created homo sapiens.
We look like them. I call them the Annunaki.

There are a few problems with these ideas that I would like to address. Reading The 12th Planet
produces a feeling not unlike that apparently felt by the old lady on
the television commercial who orders a hamburger from a fast food joint
only to be forced to ask the question: "Where's the beef?" And the fast
food analogy can be carried a bit further in saying that the Earth Chronicles
are immediately gratifying, having been pumped full of fat and
chemicals, thrills and chills, but leave us mentally malnourished = lots
of theory, no substance and no validation.

The entire body of work is so full of glaring inconsistencies that it is
sometimes difficult to decide where to start in sorting it all out.
Sitchin claims to have documentary evidence that a tenth planet exists
as part of our solar system and that a race of superior beings,
originating on this planet, once inhabited our world, genetically
engineering mankind for purposes of slavery. However, a few words ought
to be said about the kind of evidence that Sitchin and many of his
followers like to use: pictographic. Mythological concepts which involve
the heavens, deification of the Sun, Moon, or Venus cannot be called
astronomy if one is not also willing to count as hydrodynamics the
existence of a belief in a storm deity or the personification of a
river. Also the denomiation of conspicuous stars or constellations does
not constitute an astronomical science.

Yet that has not stopped Dr. Sitchin from astronomical interpretations
of great specificity based upon little more than epigraphic evidence.
Sitchin and those who follow his lead see great astronomical truths in
every objet d'art of ancient times, never supposing for an instant that
there could be far more prosaic explanations for many of these things.
For example, the famous cylinder seal that set Sitchin on fire: a
stylized star surrounded by 11 bodies on a cylinder seal.

"The miniature art of the seal cutter is of peculiar social as well
as aesthetic interest. The idea of making personal identity marks by
impressing intaglios on clay sealings began, as we have seen, in
Protoliterate times and was later extended to tablets. Seals were thus
from the first associated with commerce and quite soon, if not from the
first, with private ownership. This association with trade is proclaimed
not only by their use in Mesopotamia itself but by the appearance of
specimens in Egypt, the Indus and then, in the second millennium, in
Mycenaean Greece and the Aegean. Possibly Mesopotamian merchants
sometimes entrusted them to their agents in these distant lands. A
personal seal remained an essential possession down to the later days of
Babylon: Herodotus said of the Babylonians of his day, 'everyone owns a
seal'." (Hawkes)

Basing a cosmological theory on a cylinder seal is kind of like
describing planet earth by Prudential's Rock of Gibralter logo. Imagine
some future archaeologist defining our beliefs by examining the RCA dog
and gramophone or the flying windows of Bill Gates.

It is certainly true, in our opinion, that the evidence for
extraterrestrial visitation and even intervention is all but
overwhelming but that is no reason to trade off one god concept which
must be accepted on faith for another. From time immemorial men have
recorded sightings of mysterious objects in the skies and they have been
impressed enough by them to hand them down through traditions,
artifacts and written documentation. Many legends are based on fact; but
it is hard enough and often impossible to decide whether the facts are
based on what seems most reasonable or whether they are lying buried in
time, under a mass of buildings, mythological elements or psychological

In his prologue to The Twelfth Planet, Sitchin plainly states his bias:

"In the ensuing years, as I have learned the languages and history
and archaeology of the ancient Near East, the Nefilim became an

An obsession it surely is. An obsession is defined clinically as:

"...an uncontrollable desire to dwell on an idea or an emotion, or
to perform a specific act. It is not uncommon among normal persons, but
if not banished may become all compelling, developing into a compulsion
neurosis." And, a compulsion neurosis is "an obsession or
psycho-neurosis urging one to perform an absurd act or to say something

In the case of the Earth Chronicles, this is too sadly true.

On the first page of The Twelfth Planet Sitchin sets up his obsession by saying:

"Archaeological finds and the deciphering of Sumerian, Babylonian,
Assyrian, Hittite, Canaanite and other ancient texts and epic tales
increasingly confirmed the accuracy of the biblical references to the
kingdoms, cities, rulers, places, temples, trade routes, artifacts,
tools and customs of antiquity. Is it not now time, therefore, to accept
the word of these same ancient records regarding the Nefilim as
visitors to Earth from the heavens?"

Well, I have no objection to accepting the Nefilim as visitors to Earth
from the heavens. But there is some question as to how far one can go in
accepting the Bible or other ancient documents in a literal or absolute
sense when developing complex, comprehensive theories. Aside from this
is the fact that many other sources have given quite different
explanations for the issues Sitchin addresses. And, often these other
explanations fit the facts as we know them far better. Not only that,
but it is NOT true that the Bible has been "confirmed" as an accurate
historical source. Quite the contrary, in fact. [See: Sitchin's Mesopotamian Rocket Ships: How to Ignore Ancient Mesopotamian Dictionaries - by Michael S. Heiser, author of The Façade, Ph.D. candidate, Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages, University of Wisconsin-Madison]

© Unknown

there is much circumstantial evidence to support the idea of an alien
race visiting earth; of ancient, advanced civilizations and perhaps even
genetic engineering of Homo Sapiens. In fact, at the end of the day
when all the material is analyzed, such ideas are the only ones that
seem to stand up to scrutiny. Professor John A. Mason of Pennsylvania
University cites the oldest Peruvian traditions and refers to the
"habitable qualities of the stars" as mentioned by the texts centered on
the "descent of gods from the constellation of the Pleiades". The
legend is that the first Peruvians were born from a bronze, gold and
silver egg which fell from the sky.

Some scholars think that the Peruvian city of Tiahuanaco was built
around 16,000 years ago on the ruins of something built by the
"fair-haired giants" 200-250,000 years ago, as mentioned in native

"Once men could fly" we encounter again and again in the legends.

"Everything was sufficiently light and big stones were lifted..." (Mysteries of Ancient South America, Harold T. Wilins)

The Haida Indians of the queen Charlotte Islands retain the tradition of
"Great sages descended from the stars on discs of fire", and the
Navajos tell of "creatures who came from the sky and stayed a long time
on Earth but finally returned to their world". Most of the legends
around the globe make frequent allusions to the descent of a divinity
from the Stars, not from a tenth planet within our solar system.

The evidence suggesting strongly that celestial visitors came to earth
and probably played a large role in our early development - even
including genetic engineering is extensive. But, that they came from a
12th planet in our own solar system which ferries them along for a short
shuttle every 3,600 years is preposterous. This concept is
excruciatingly outdated based on reports of modern day UFO activity and
what we know about the alleged capabilities of same and their "alien"

Sitchin writes on page 89 of his second volume, The Stairway to Heaven:

When Marduk invaded our solar system, it brought with it the seed of
life. In the collision with Tiamat, some of the seed of life was
transferred to its surviving part - Planet Earth. As life evolved on
Earth, it emulated evolution on Marduk. And so it was that when on Earth
the human species just began to stir, on Marduk intelligent beings had
already achieved high levels of civilization and technology."

If Marduk was close enough to a large body for it, or one of its
satellites, to collide with said body, and if Marduk itself was as
enormous as claimed by Sitchin, then the said proximity would have
caused a slowing to near stasis of both bodies and consequent disruption
of the entire surfaces of both bodies, reducing both to rubble and
equality in terms of evolutionary life forms. In other words, a couple
of rocks inhabited by slime. And then, if Marduk were to continue on its
way, supposedly evolving life as it went, one of the fundamentals of
Sitchin's very own theory, the 3,600 earth year orbit equalling one of
our years here on Earth, negates the idea of a civilization more advanced than our own.

Why? Well, it is actually rather simple. If one of Marduk/Nibiru's years
is equal to 3,600 of earth's, and the inhabitants age far more slowly
than we do, then they would naturally evolve equally slowly.
In fact, rather than being more advanced than we are, they would still
be amoebas! The same problems of evolutionary theory on earth hold true
for Marduk/Nibiru. Life begins with protein chains each made up of amino
acids. There are 20 possibilities for each "link" in the chain. Even if
a new combination were tried every millionth of a second, it would take
longer than the life time of the earth to form a chain associated with
life - odds against it are a 1 followed by 95 zeros. Thus, we are left
to conclude that, obviously life on earth got a boost from somewhere,
but it could not have been from another planet in our solar system that
started out with the same potentials, but was slowed by its incredibly
long life cycles!

Another problem with this theory lies in certain observations of quantum
physics which seem to hold true for larger electrically charged bodies:
a body of the solar system large enough (but not beyond a certain
ratio) to break apart the earth probably could not do so because when
two electrically charged particles approach each other they come under
the influence of their mutual electromagnetic fields and the forces
operating between them cause disturbance which is transmitted in the
form of photons or electrical discharges. The exchange then causes the
two particles to Fly Apart. No impact can occur.

Sitchin argues that the mythical tales were actual stories of the doings
of the Nefilim. And, while he is insisting we must take them literally,
we must trust him to tell us which parts to take literally!
Obviously the part of Enki and the World Order where it says "He lifts
the penis, ejaculates, fills the Tigris with sparkling waters," is
subject to interpretation!

I would like to give Sitchin credit for many of the interesting
deductions he has made, but if we want to know the truth, I think we
have to look for the common threads in numerous sources. Sitchin leaves
too many holes unfilled, too many contradictions to both material
science and long established mystical traditions, and too many questions
unanswered. I nearly laughed myself into hysterics when I read his
theory that the Pyramid was built as an artificial mountain to show the
ancient astronauts the way to go home. I can see one of our "primitive"
astronauts peering through the window of the space shuttle and saying,
"better put on the brakes I see Disney World!"

But, getting back to our problem of the putative Planet Nibiru.

The relative importance of an idea and the implications of the
conclusions that can be drawn from that idea, ought to determine the
level of attention given to the idea. The fact is, the idea that
something may be whacking through our solar system at periodic intervals
is a concept of such importance that it simply cannot be overstated.

Zecharia Sitchin analyzed the myths of the Sumerians, concluding that
they referred to a massive unseen planet, and further, that all of the
stories point to a cyclical return at intervals of 3600 years. I believe
that Dr. Sitchin is onto something with this matter. But, perhaps not
exactly what he thinks.

The Russians theorized in the 60s that there may be not one, but three
planetary bodies existing in our solar system beyond Pluto. Aberrations
in the orbital motion of Neptune and Uranus have convinced many of our
own scientists that there is a strong likelihood that some kind of large
body exists in solar space beyond Pluto and exerts strong gravitational
attraction on the outermost planets. So we conclude along with
Sitchin that, if a definite cycle exists, one of the most logical
explanations for it is that it is caused by a planetary-like body making
regular, predictable appearances. But NOT into the inner solar system.

"If it does exist, and it does reappear cyclically, why doesn't science know about it?" The skeptical reader will ask.

This issue of the cycle of this purported "return" is of the utmost
importance to our eschatological theme. If we take seriously any of the
prophecies of the end-times in any terms whatsoever, we find ourselves
facing the idea that the world is either due shortly for great geologic
and meteorological events, or it is not. If we consider the remote
possibility that this is going to happen, and if we are interested in
human destiny, it behooves us to investigate whether or not there is a
correlation between cyclical geologic changes in the earth's past and
the future, and what that cycle might be. What is more, there
is also compelling hard scientific evidence that our planet has
relatively recently experienced cataclysmic geological changes. It has
only been in recent years that some of the more convincing evidence of
this kind, such as ice core samples and tree ring analysis, has been

If we, for one second, think that there is even a one-percent
possibility that such events are cyclic, and that we may be approaching
such an event, we ought to be putting the whole force of all our science
and all the great minds of our civilization into researching the
matter. But that does not seem to be the case. Are the leaders of our
nations so stupid that they cannot think that far ahead? Or are they so
greedy and power hungry that they don't care? Do they intend to "get
while the getting's good," and then when the final curtain comes, they
will think that they were the stars of the show? This poses a peculiar
problem. How do we assess who really knows what?

Over and over again, as we have pushed deeper and deeper into our
research, we find that investigating these matters is problematic for a
lot of reasons. On the surface, what we see is that academic and
professional geologists, glaciologists, geophysicists, paleontologists,
oceanographers, astronomers, astrophysicists, physicists,
mathematicians, archaeologists, and so on, do not take kindly to
intrusions into their private little worlds. They have their gods of
convention, whom they worship, and god forbid that anyone should
criticize the acceptable protocols of the conventional interpretation.
They are warm and safe and their career is protected by their covenant
with the scientific Thought Police who are, in turn, high priests to the
Matrix Control System.

And this is where we discover the problem. The Matrix Control System,
via the offices of its high priests of science and social control,
ensures that glaciologists do not cross over into astrophysics and that
geologists do not cross over into archaeology. In this way, there is no
such thing as Comparative Science, and this is most especially true in
the United States where the lines between disciplines are most strongly
demarcated, patrolled, and enforced by the Scientific Thought Police.

These conditions bring our problem into sharp focus. As we have
attempted to get to the very bottom of many of the claims of the experts
in the various fields, we have discovered that there is much data that is completely suppressed by this system.
There is also a great deal of data that falls under the control of
government agencies, and access to it is severely limited. I discovered
that there is, indeed, an effort on the part of various government
agencies to investigate these cyclical returns and cometary impact
matters, but that the results are generally unavailable to the public.
They consist of technical papers, stored on microfiche, buried in
research and special collections sections of university libraries. Some
of it makes its way into print, but the volumes are so costly that the
researcher in these fields must be well-financed to be able to afford
them. Those things that make it to print in technical journals, are
couched in such amazingly obtuse and opaque terminology that one must be
as sharp as a Damascus sword to cut through the nonsense. And it is
almost a given that only a trained scientist who knows the "hidden
jargon" will be able to decipher the code.

In this sense, we are fortunate. Ark has this training, and he is a
world-class mathematician. When he finds numbers and theories and
results, he can wade through the nonsense, reproduce the calculations,
and make some headway in discovering just exactly what it is that is
being hidden.

I must also tell the reader that, for weeks on end as we have ordered
and read technical papers, books, files of data, reports and so forth,
the enormity of the problem of suppression of information has become
overwhelmingly evident. Every night, after a long day of analysis,
calculations, plugging numbers into formulas and compiling results, we
would prepare for bed, both of us shaking our heads and muttering over
and over again: "lies, lies, lies; nothing but lies."

And so it is. Not only are the separate scientific disciplines most
often unaware of developments in other fields which may have important
data that would help their own studies, they are also conditioned -
programmed - to consider it scientific blasphemy to compare their own
conclusion with the data from other fields. And somebody is controlling
this system of suppression.

The terrestrial axis is currently inclined at 23.5 degrees. The early
Greek philosophers viewed this tilt as an "irregular condition," and not
something that had been fixed since the beginning. Anaxagoras wrote:

In the beginning the stars moved in the sky as in a revolving dome,
so that the celestial pole which is always visible was vertically
overhead; but subsequently the pole took its inclined position.

© Cruttenden

Hesiod discussed the cyclical conception of time in his Works and Days,
saying that the human race had five ages: Gold, Silver, Bronze, Heroic,
and Iron. The Heroic age is seen by many scholars as an addition to an
earlier scheme meant to accommodate Greek history. During the first of
these ages, mankind lived under the rule of Kronos, or Saturn, and were
on friendly terms with the gods, and were free from hard work, pain, and
old age. Plato wrote about a periodic reversal of the rotation of "the
world," his intent probably being the entire "cosmic machine," rather
than just the planet, being the cause of the end of one age and the
beginning of another. He tells us that all the stories of the changes in
the rising and setting of the sun and planets originate from the same
event in cosmic history: the usurpation of the rule of Chronos by Zeus.

When God was shepherd there were no political constitutions and no
taking of wives and begetting of children. For all men rose up anew into
life out of the earth, having no memory of the former things. Instead
they had fruits without stint from trees and bushes; these needed no
cultivation but sprang up of themselves out of the ground without man's
toil. For the most part they disported themselves in the open needing
neither clothing nor couch, for the seasons were blended evenly so as to
work them no hurt, and the grass which sprang up out of the earth in
abundance made a soft bed for them.

But this age came to a close and the gods of that age gave up their
benevolent governance, turning the rule of the world over to something
"other." Plato describes the close of the era in terms of Pole Shift:

The gods of the provinces, who had ruled under the greatest god, knew at
once what was happening and relinquished the oversight of their
regions. A shudder passed through the world at the reversing of its
rotation, checked as it was between the old control and the new impulse
which had turned end into beginning for it and beginning into end. This
shock set up a great quaking which caused - in this crisis of the
world just as in the former one - destruction of living creatures of
all kinds. Then, after the interval needed for its recovery, it gained
relief at last from its clamors and confusion, and attaining quiet after
great upheaval it returned to its ordered course and continued in it,
having control and government of itself and of all within it.

Herodotus seems to be quoting from the same source that Plato utilized when he reports:

Thus in the period of eleven thousand three hundred and forty years
they said that there had arisen no god in human form; nor even before
that time or afterwards among the remaining kings who arose in Egypt,
did they report that anything of that kind had come to pass. In this
time they said that the sun had moved four times from his accustomed
place of rising, and where he now sets he had thence twice had his
rising, and in the place from whence he now rises he had twice had his
setting; and in the meantime nothing in Egypt had been changed from its
usual state, neither that which comes from the earth nor that which
comes to them from the river nor that which concerns diseases or deaths.

Both Herodotus and Plato are explicit in saying that the phenomenon is dual natured,
that something happens "out there" in the Solar system and the results
on the earth are cataclysmic. Herodotus says that it happened four times
in an 11,500 year period, and Plato says that it is an ever-recurring
phenomenon. Modern interpreters of these passages generally divide into
two groups: the catastrophists and the uniformitarians. The
catastrophists suggest that the description is that of a literal 180
degree flip of the earth. The Uniformitarians like to talk in terms of
"world ages" according to the "Precession of the Zodiac."

In his Principia Mathematica, Isaac Newton demonstrated that
the precession of the equinoxes is the result of the earth's oblate
spheroidal shape which causes it to spin in something less than a
perfectly aligned motion. In short, it inscribes a very gradual circle
in relation to the celestial axis and, according to Newton, the period
in which this entire circle is completed is 26 thousand years. This
means that not only does the sun rise in a slightly different location,
but the terrestrial axis points to a different area in the heavens as
time goes by.

As it happens, the general area of the heavens pointed to by the
terrestrial pole, does not have an abundance of visible stars to
consistently have a pole star. So it is only occasionally that it really
has one, and even then, the pole star is not quite "on the money."

Twelve thousand years ago, the time at which many occultists point out
that one of the stars in Draco, Thuban, was the pole star, it was
actually less of a pole star than the current one if we take into
account the decreasing angle of the axis of the earth. That is assuming,
of course, that present observations can be extrapolated backward.

Most of the occult or psychic speculations link the Pole Shift with
Noah's Flood and the destruction of Atlantis, the fabled ancient high
civilization. But, the uniformitarian view is also well represented in
the occult literature. Sampson Arnold Mackey, a shoemaker in Norwich,
England, formulated a grand theory of the ages of the world that is
pretty much based on De Louville's gradual diminution of the angle of
the terrestrial axis to the plane of the ecliptic, but also
incorporating ideas based on the precession of the equinoxes. And here
is where we find the first fully expounded idea that the precession
itself is important as a clock that strikes the hours of world ages.

Mackey assumed the precessional cycle to be 25 thousand years. He also
accepted the gradual diminution of the axial orientation at one degree
every 6 thousand years. He assumed (from where, we don't know), that
each completion of the precessional cycle diminished the angle of the
earth axis by four degrees. Therefore, it will take four more
precessional cycles to get to the "Golden Age," at which time the
terrestrial axis is aligned with the celestial axis. Four more
precessional cycles equals 150 thousand years from now.

Helena Blavatsky adopted some of Mackey's ideas during her short term of
membership in a "secret society" called the Hermetic Brotherhood of
Luxor, which taught Mackey's doctrine in an essay called "The Hermetic
Key" composed by Thomas H. Burgoyne, secretary of that order. However,
the H B of L made some "adjustments" to Mackey's ideas so they would
better fit some other scheme of their own. They altered the degrees of
change per cycle from 4 to 3'36″ so that a complete cycle takes one
hundred turns. They also changed the precessional period from 25
thousand years, to 25,920 years, coming closer to Newton's original

Mackey believed that he had discovered in astrology, the key to
universal mythology. His entire scheme was based on certain mythological
interpretations, and the H B of L claimed Mackey as a member, but of
course, only after he was dead. This seems to be a common practice of
many secret societies that seek to align themselves with certain ideas
or people for one reason or another.

Nevertheless, the adoption of this precession idea by the H B of L,
later taken up by the occultists Papus, Barlet, Guenon, Reuss, Kellner
and Steiner, ensured that it would become a foundational philosophy
among groups such as the Ordo Templi Orientalis, the Theosophical
Society, the Golden Dawn, and so on. Most of their ideas are founded on
this uniformitarian, cosmic clock of precession and slow, spiraling
movement of the earth's pole in a grand, shifting circle that reverses
the polar directions every two million years or so.

There is another interesting motion of the earth's axis called the
Chandler Wobble. The Chandler wobble, discovered by astronomer S. C.
Chandler in 1891, is a variation in the earth's axis of rotation
amounting to 0.7 seconds of arc over a period of 435 days, or about 14
months. This means that the earth's poles wander a bit as the planet
spins, describing an irregular circle ranging from 10 to 50 feet in
diameter. There's also nutation, an aggregation of sub-wobbles, the most
significant of which has a period of 18.6 years and results from
variations in the distance of the moon.

Scientists have been particularly intrigued by the Chandler wobble,
since its cause has remained a mystery even though it has been under
observation for over a century. Its period is only around 433 days, or
just 1.2 years, meaning that it takes that amount of time to complete
one wobble. The amplitude of the wobble amounts to about 20 feet at the
North Pole. It has been calculated that the Chandler wobble would be
damped down, or reduced to zero, in just 68 years, unless some force
were constantly acting to reinvigorate it. But what is that force, or
excitation mechanism? Over the years, various hypotheses have been put
forward, such as atmospheric phenomena, continental water storage
(changes in snow cover, river runoff, lake levels, or reservoir
capacities), interaction at the boundary of Earth's core and its
surrounding mantle, and earthquakes.

Researcher Michael Mandeville has charted and analyzed the Chandler
Wobble and suggests that it is progressively shifting the location of
the poles at an accelerating rate. His conclusion is that something is
"driving" this change - possibly some interaction between the earth
and the Sun and/or Moon. Whatever is driving it, it seems that the
result is a heating up of the interior of the earth with consequent El
Nino, and accelerating earthquake activity.

The fact that the Earth's magnetic poles have changed many times in
"history" is now a well accepted scientific fact. But this actually says
nothing at all about the planet itself "flipping." It just signifies a
reversal of the magnetic field. As we now know, the Sun reverses its
magnetic field regularly and cyclically with no apparent cataclysmic
effects. So, a simple reversal of the magnetic field cannot be used in
support of a physical and literal "Pole Shift."

The Pole Shift idea was described as the "ultimate disaster" by John White in his book appropriately entitled Pole Shift.
White listed numerous psychic prophecies that are clearly describing a
Pole Shift and attempted to relate them to scientific ideas. One source
claims that the Hawaiian Islands will rise and become peaks of a great
mountain chain on a new continent that will rise in the Pacific. Another
source predicts that the Hawaiian Islands will sink beneath the sea.
Such contradictions among psychics are often handily explained with the
"branching universe" theory with a twist: both are true, they just refer
to different periods of future history.

As it turned out, most of the psychic predictions analyzed by John White
concerned the period right around the year 2,000. Well, it has come and
gone, the pole didn't flip, and we are still here.

Naturally, many of the psychics and channels of the space brothers say
that we ought to thank their "guides" or "guardians" for that fact since
they all pulled together to keep us from falling into the pit. Nice
try, but, as the Cassiopaeans have said: "Tales are easy to sew/sow,
when the past is yours only to know." And how true that is.

In the end, the chief problem of all the theories is that of the
"trigger mechanism." What is driving the machine? What is changing in
our solar system that we are not being told about? Why are the rumor
mongers and the theorists of such things as "Planet Nibiru" or "galactic
alignment" or "precessional ages" allowed to promulgate their nonsense,
while the real data is being so carefully hidden?

In order to form any ideas about a "trigger," it is important to try to
sort out the data that we can get and decide if a Pole Shift is a
gradual, uniformitarian event, or if it is sudden and cataclysmic. There
are endless descriptions of possible scenarios and none of them were
ringing any bells until I discovered the ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky.
Indeed, John White devotes about 20 or so pages to Velikovsky's ideas,
and in general, he merely used them to support the idea of past Pole
Shifts, pointing out that Velikovsky made no predictions about future
events of this type. We might also note that Velikovsky must have hit a
real nerve to have been so viciously vilified. The Scientific Thought
Police went into overdrive to suppress him!

Velikovsky was condemned because he denied that the orbits in the solar system were stable.

When reading Velikovsky's blow-by-blow interpretation of the events of
the Exodus as recorded in the Bible, the result of the close approach of
a cometary Venus, I realized that these events mirrored, almost word
for word, the events described in the book of Revelation. What is more
interesting is that the book of Revelation was written long before the
current craze of End Time Prophecies. It is sort of the Mother of all
End Time Prophecies. (And I will soon be writing more about this
specifically, so stay tuned!)

As it happens, there are many individuals who have noted the evidence in
ancient myths and legends. We are not the first. Sitchin is not the
first. Theories of the earth encountering a comet did not originate with
Velikovsky either.

In 1882, Ignatius Donnelly, a Minnesota congressman and scholar of all-things-Atlantean, wrote a book entitled Ragnarok,
wherein he proposed that a giant comet had passed close to the earth in
past ages. The intense heat from the comet had set off huge fires that
raged across the face of the globe. He suggested that the comet had
dumped vast amounts of dust on the earth, triggered earthquakes, leveled
mountains, and initiated the ice age. He even explained some of the
miracles of the Bible in terms of his comet, proposing that the
standing-still of the sun at the command of Joshua, was possibly a tale
commemorating this event. Donnelly's readers were thrilled by his
descriptions of the "glaring and burning monster" in the sky, scorching
the planet with unearthly heat and shaking the land with "thunders
beyond all thunders."

Possibly inspired by Donnelly, Camille Flammarion wrote The End of the World
in 1893 in which he recounted a fictional collision between the earth
and a comet fifty times its size. Flammarion's lurid prose ensured that
his book was an immediate sensation!

For thousands of years, comets have been associated with disaster and
misfortune. They are harbingers of plagues, earthquakes, floods, natural
disasters and wars. In fact, the passing of a comet followed by war has
been so frequent as to earn for comets the soubriquet "The Swords of
Heaven." Tradition has assigned responsibility to comets for death and
destructions, disease and decay, defeat and dissolution, the deaths of
kings, and the fall of empires. It could be said that no celestial phenomenon is so widely and generally feared.
Velikovsky believed that this fear had a foundation in fact: it was a
sort of global subconscious memory of actual encounters between the
earth and other cosmic bodies that were so devastating that the fearful
reality of the event was suppressed into the collective subconscious,
and only a "comet phobia" remained in evidence.

© Miloslav Druckmuller (Brno University of Technology)

Three Galaxies and Comet McNaught

In 1857, an anonymous German astrologer predicted that a comet would
strike the earth on June 13 of that year. The impending catastrophe
became the talk of all of Europe. The French astronomer, Jacques Babinet
tried to reassure people by stating that a collision between the earth
and a comet would do no harm. He compared the impact to "a railway train
coming into contact with a fly," His words, apparently, had little
effect. The Paris correspondent for the American journal, Harper's Weekly, wrote:

Women have miscarried; crops have been neglected; wills have been
made; comet-proof suits of clothing have been invented; a cometary life
insurance company (premiums payable in advance) has been created... all
because an almanac maker... thought proper to insert, under the week
commencing June 13, 'About this time, expect a comet.'

Naturally, by the time of dawn on July 14, it was apparent that
there wasn't going to be a comet. The point is: an astrologer's
"prophecy" had terrified millions in the total absence of any evidence
that there was a comet anywhere near the planet. And this type of
scenario has occurred more than once, even down to our own day and time
when the Heaven's Gate cult members committed mass suicide in response
to rumors and prognostications regarding comet Hale Bopp.

Immanuel Velikovsky demonstrated rather convincingly that there was
massive evidence of both a literary and scientific nature that great
catastrophic earth changes had occurred during the second millennium BC
due to cometary showers and the close passage of Venus. He settled on a
date of 1450 BC, but more recent scientific evidence points to the date
actually being 1628 BC. There is also evidence for a disruption circa
5200 BC, 8,800 BC, 12,400 BC, 16,000 BC, 19,600 BC, and by logical
extension every 3,600 years previously for an indefinite and unknown
period of time. What is more, if the last "return" was in 1628 BC, we are not just due, we are overdue for the next one.

The theories about Nibiru do not take into account many of the literary reports from the ancients regarding these great bombardments of comets.
Velikovsky tried to account for this by suggesting that a cometary
Venus was hauling around a tail of rocks. It seems that Velikovsky and
his supporters, and Sitchin and his supporters, although recognizing
serious worldwide catastrophes, have failed to recognize the true nature
of such events. Velikovsky proposed that Venus out of orbit was a more
or less one-time event rather than a symptom of a long term cycle.
Sitchin came closer with his understanding of the cycle, but he failed
to consider all the variables in his solution. What is more, once he
settled on his idea as the one and only solution, his efforts to make
the mythical elements fit the hypothesis became almost as absurd as the
efforts of mainstream science to avoid them!

The confirmed linchpin for the fall of the late Bronze Age cultures, the
Middle Eastern Civilizations, and other recorded disasters that are
found to be "around that time," seems to be the period from 1644 BC to
1628 BC. The ice cores show the disturbances starting in 1644
(registering in 1645) and the tree rings show a big spike in 1628,
though the entire period was disturbed.

Yoshiyuki Fujii and Okitsugu Watanabe's "Microparticle Concentration And
Electrical Conductivity of A 700 m Ice Core from Mizuho Station
Antarctic" published in Annals of Glaciology (1-, 1988) pp.
38-42, demonstrate that "large scale environmental changed possibly
occurred in the Southern Hemisphere in the middle of the Holocene.
(Within the last 10,000 years). Their depth profiles of microparticle
concentration, electrical conductivity and Oxygen 18 at circa 1600 BC
indicates a spike in readings for all of these elements. The evidence
shows that this disturbance covered this designated period, but with a
"huge spike" at c. 1600 BC

Similar evidence from the same source article exists at 5200 BC. This
period shows a less severe but similar period. The oxygen 18 profile is
close to normal, but there is a visible volcanic dirt band. The dating
of this segment is less close because it is clear that nobody is really
looking for this cycle, but it appears to correspond to the ash band
from the Byrd station core.

It is conjectured that the cycle goes unnoticed because of long term
aftereffects, such as cooling climate, as well as the fact that each
cycle has greater or lesser effects on the earth depending on its
relative position in the solar system at the time.

What is clear is that whatever comes at 3600 year intervals as shown by
the ice cores, is capable of setting off prolonged periods of earth
changes that are above the levels of ordinary uniformitarian geologic
and climatalogical changes. But the evidence suggests that it is a
shower of asteroids or comets that are NOT seen until it is TOO LATE.

In an article in Nature, November 1980, Hammer, Clausen and Dansgaard
date a disturbance from the Camp Century core to 5470 BC +/- 120 years.
This compares to the proposed Hekla eruption which was radiocarbon dated
to 5450 BC +/- 190 years. There is an appreciably high acidity signal
at these sections of the core which indicates a high level of volcanic
activity - again, right at the 3600 year cycle mark.

Looking further: Michel R. Legrand and Robert J. Delmas of Laboratoire
de Glaciologie et Geophysique de l'Environment published an article
"Soluble Impurities in Four Antarctic Ice Cores Over the Last 30,000
Years" in Annals of Glaciology (10, 1988, pp 116-120). They
graphed the Oxygen 18 variations and the ionic components Na = NH (sub4)
and Ca (sup 2) and H and Cl and NO (sub 3) and SO (sub 4). The time
scale for each ionic component level as well as the O (sub 18) levels
stretches back 30,000 years. The graph shows correlations to spikes at
5,200 BC, 8,800 BC, 12,400 BC, c. 16,000 BC, c. 19,600 BC. All of these
were times of great geologic stress.

When looking at the data and taking into account the acknowledged dating
inaccuracies (some of the ranges of dates can go 100 years in either
direction of the spike, even though the spiking is regular and rhythmic)
for the more recent dates, and 3 to 600 years variance for the older
dates - especially when one considers that these are broad analyses and
nobody was really looking for anything specific - they just said "wow!
look at that wavy line!" we find that the southern ice cores do not
register the same as the northern ones. The 1628 BC event that really
slammed the tree rings shows almost no registration in the Antarctic
cores in terms of volcanic activity. But the northern cores show the
activity beginning 1644 BC.

The evidence for the 5200 BC event is strong in the Dome C core. The
8,800 BC event is well marked - in fact, seems to be the strongest of
them all... The Flood of Noah, no doubt! The oxygen 18 isotope variation
is noticeable, the rise in sea-salt, elevated levels of C 1 and C1/Na.
There is an extreme spike in SO (sub 4) and H readings suggesting
widespread volcanic activity - great earth changes were happening at
that time, and they registered in the climate, the oceans, and were
preserved in ice.

The 12400 BC event is extremely pronounced in the cores. The graphs show
a quick, vast change including the end of the Wisconsin Ice Age.(See: Evidence of Nuclear Activity in Paleoindian Times) There is a great Oxygen 18 isotope variation. Peaks of Na and very pronounced spikes in Ca, SO (sub 4) and H.

To ascribe all of these things to a "uniformitarian" idea that it just
got cold and then got warm and got cold and warm... with such an evident
cycle is sort of absurd. To ascribe it to a "galactic core explosion"
is equally absurd. To ascribe it to "Galactic Alignment" is not worth

I think that, based on the observations of the ancients that what we are
looking for is a recurring shower of comets that cycles through the
solar system regularly, on a 3,600 year orbit. What is more, it seems
that this body of comets, clustered together resembles a Fiery serpent
with a mouthful of devouring teeth in the blackness of space. For this
reason, it was given the name spdt, spdw, and spd-ibhw (sharp toothed), in the Pyramid Texts. It undoubtedly is a terrifying spectacle!

Of course, an important question is: what is the "initiator" of these
showers, and did they begin in some interaction with an outside agent?"

According to scientific studies about the possibilities of our Sun
having a companion, periodic comets were "bumped" into the solar system
by a dark star, a "little brother" or "little sister" of our own Sun,
which has a long, elliptical orbit measured, most likely, in millions of

If it is a companion star, present day science pretty clearly
demonstrates that it must have a very long period, otherwise, we would
notice it quite plainly in orbital perturbations of a certain type. In
actual fact, the computer model that best fits the various dynamics is
that of a 27 million year orbit. And this, of course, leads us to a
considerable difficulty: the period of return of the Dark Star, as
opposed to the period of disasters. Obviously, a body with a 27 million
year orbit isn't likely to be remembered. However, an ancient advanced
science may have certainly figured it out and it was remembered and
passed down in fantastic myths and legends.

J. G. Hills of Los Alamos National Laboratory writes:

Two groups have recently suggested that the Sun may have a low-mass
stellar or black dwarf companion, nemesis, with an orbital period of 26
million years (Davis, Hut, and Muller, 1984, Whitmire and Jackson,
1984). They note that the perihelion passage of Nemesis throught the
inner comet cloud postulated by Hills (1981) would cause an intense
comet shower to enter the inner planetary system. Some comets hit the
Earth, causing severe environmental stress. They propose that these
induced comet showers are responsible for the periodic extinctions
suggested by the data of Raup and Sepkoski (1984).1

The work by these experts suggests that the observations of other binary
systems demonstrate the model for the projected separation they have
given. Such paired stars are "physically connected systems," and that
these brown dwarfs are "burning," though non-nuclear.

The minimum mass needed to perturb the inner Oort cloud to produce such
showers is, according to Hills, 0.01 percent of the Mass of the Sun.

Hills writes:

In the current paper, I use computer simulations to investigate the
potential damage caused by the passage of a Nemesis-like object through
the planetary system. I use these computer results and the apparent lack
of damage to the planetary orbits to place limits on the number and
masses of any other black dwarfs (or large planets) within the Oort
cloud. [...]

We conclude from the lack of damage to the planetary orbits that it
is extremely unlikely that any object more massive than 0.02 percent of
the Mass of the Sun dwells in an orbit with a semimajor axis in the
range 10,000 to 40,000 AU.1

What Hills is clearly saying is this: If it is out there, it never enters the Inner Solar system.

© Robert Roy Britt/Space.com

Thus, we understand that it is not this Twin sun that makes its
"appearance" at each period of catastrophe. Nevertheless, the analyses
of the periodic comets suggests that it does, at very long periods,
again and again, crash through the Oort cloud like a bowling ball
through rows of pins, sending a new collection of them spinning into a
periodical orbit, and because of the laws of celestial mechanics, they
establish an orbit of 3,600 years. This idea has some support from
SCIENTIFIC STUDIES, which the theory of the Planet Nibiru as a visitor
to the inner solar system does NOT.

Discovering the details requires research. And research requires a
hypothesis. And a hypothesis requires admitting possibilities and
making observations that are not predicated on assumptions that have
proven again and again to be inadequate to explain the order of the
universe. At present, there are very few "experts" who are even looking
into the matter of our sun having a companion. You can count them on the
fingers of one hand. There are more "experts" on Brown Dwarfs, but most
of them seem to be limited by the same conventions that restrict
science in general. For example:

A group of summer students making a long-shot astronomical gamble with
the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Very Large Array (VLA) have
found the first radio emission ever detected from a brown dwarf, an
enigmatic object that is neither a star nor a planet, but something in
between. Their surprising discovery is forcing experts to re-think their
theories about how brown dwarfs work.

"Many astronomers are surprised at this discovery, because they
didn't expect such strong radio emission from this object," said Shri
Kulkarni, a Caltech professor who was on the team that first discovered a
brown dwarf in 1995, and advisor to one of the students.

"What is so cool is that this is research that probably nobody else
would have tried to do because of its low chance of success. That made
it ideal for summer students -- we had almost nothing to lose," said
Kate Becker, a student at Oberlin College in Ohio.

"The radio emission these students discovered coming from this brown
dwarf is 10,000 times stronger than anyone expected," said Dale Frail,
an astronomer at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) in
Socorro, NM. "This student project is going to open up a whole new area
of research for the VLA," Frail added.

Brown dwarfs are too big to be planets but too small to be true
stars, as they have too little mass to trigger hydrogen fusion reactions
at their cores, the source of the energy output in larger stars. With
roughly 15 to 80 times the mass of Jupiter, the largest planet in our
Solar System, brown dwarfs had long been thought to exist. Actually
finding them, however, proved difficult. After decades of searching,
astronomers found the first brown dwarf in 1995, and a few dozen now are

The strong radio emission was unexpected because brown dwarfs,
according to conventional theories, are not supposed to have magnetic
fields strong enough to generate the radio emission. "The presumed
internal structure of a brown dwarf will not permit a strong enough
magnetic field," said Frail. "It looks like we're going to have to
re-examine how we believe brown dwarfs work," he said. (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

Imagine, students discovered something that, according to the standard
theories, had no right to exist. Note that the emission is 10,000 times
stronger than "expected." Not 10 times, not 100 times, not even 1000
times! It is 10,000 times stronger!

Ark: In 1985 Los Alamos scientist J.G. Hills published a paper1
analyzing possible consequences of a passage of a hypothetical stellar
companion, 'Nemesis'. He estimated the probability for its orbit to be
perturbed by a passing star to be 15%. Judging by the lack of evident
damage to the planetary orbits (all orbits being nearly circular, with
some irregularities for Neptune and Pluto), Hills concluded that that no
black dwarf more massive than 0.02 of the mass of the Sun has entered
the planetary system from interstellar space. That does not preclude
the possibility that Nemesis can cyclically send cometary showers
towards the internal solar system. Moreover, his conclusions are based
on the assumption that there are no corrections to the standard laws of
gravitation, which assumption may change in the future, when more data
become available from the deep space probes, and when we learn more
about the role of electric and magnetic interactions of cosmic bodies
and of space plasma.

LBL (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) physicist Richard Muller devised the Nemesis theory2 to account for regularity of the mass extinctions discovered by Raup and Sepkowski3
According to this theory a companion star, called also cosmic
terrorist Nemesis, orbiting the Sun, perturbs the Oort comet cloud every
26 millions years causing comet showers in the solar system. Muller
believes Nemesis is most likely a red dwarf star, magnitude between 7
and 12, that should be visible with binoculars once localized.

In 1999 Matese, Whitman and Whitmire published a paper4 in
which they came to a similar conclusions by statistical analysis of 82
new class I Oort cloud comets. The next paper, entitled "Supportive
Evidence for a Brown Dwarf Solar Companion",5 uses an
extended database which has increased the number of comets from 82 to
89. The putative brown dwarf is expected to be located somewhere along
the arc of 135 and 135+180=315 degrees of galactic longitude:

© By permission.

Figure 11 Graph by Matese showing cometary scatter patterns which may suggest the orbit of the “Perturber.”

we look at the mythology of the "Winged Disc" that occurs in both
Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, we begin to realize that this symbol does
not refer to a "Tenth Planet, " but to the presence in our own solar
system of the Sun's dark sister, a failed star classified as a "brown

It also seems to be the one hypothesis that encompasses all the
"sub-hypotheses" of the many researchers who have attempted to deal with
different aspects of the problems of the past and future of the earth.

Sitchin proposed that a "10th Planet" caroms through the inner
solar system. Scientific evidence does not support a body the size he
suggests, entering into the inner solar system. However, science can
support a cluster of comets spread out in space that returns at 3,600
year intervals.

Sitchin suggests that his 10th planet is inhabited by the
Annunaki/Nefilim. He claims that they are our creators and masters. His
ideas are tremendously out of synch with the strong circumstantial
evidence about the alien presence on this planet. Sitchin's ideas are
also flawed for the other reasons we have already mentioned, though he
has certainly produced inspired work in his interpretations of the
Sumerian texts as being related to "alien interactions" and the periodic
return of something!

Other theorists suggest that the Dark Companion of the Sun has its own
habitable planetary system, home to the mythical 'gods' of the ancient
world. This theory, that a brown dwarf with its own planetary system,
is able to pass through the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt, keeping its
own mini-solar system intact, is obviously extremely problematical. In
the same way that Sitchin simply passes right over the problems of
Nibiru seeding life on earth, forgetting that evolutionary processes
that are being postulated must apply to both bodies, the creator of the "Dark Star: Have Planets; Will Travel" theory also does not consider the fundamental problem of such an idea.

The two great themes of myth are the yearning for the golden age and a
terror of a world destroying catastrophe. And the two ideas are
inextricably linked to each other. In virtually all of the stories
about the Fall from Eden and the Flood of Noah, the great celestial
bodies in the heavens were said to have been out of control.

Kochab is an obscure Arabic name that might simply mean "star." It is
just barely the second brightest, and appropriately the Beta, star in
Ursa Minor, and represents the top front bowl star of the Little Dipper.
Only 15 degrees from the north celestial pole, middle northerners can
see it every night as it follows its small circular path. Together with
the other bowl star (Pherkad, the Gamma star), it makes a small
asterism called the "Guardians of the Pole." In myth, it seems that the
function of these stars is to "protect" the pole star. (This star has
run out of hydrogen fuel and is an evolving orange giant star running on
helium, giving off infrared light). The importance of this star is
that it was referred to as the 'Mill Peg' and with the other stars
surrounding the North Pole, was called the "hole of the mill peg because
they represent as it were, a hole (the axle ring) in which the mill
axle turns since the axle of the equator (the polar axis) is to be found
in this region, fairly close to the star Al-jadi (Polaris). There is a
myth associated with this that the Mill Peg which held the earth
upright had broken loose and the polar axis had tilted.

Now the serpent connected to the Garden of Eden story and Draconis was
the old, evil serpent. The constellation Draco and Hercules and
Ophiuchus and Serpens are associated in ancient mythology, illustrating
the struggle between mankind and serpentkind. In ancient times,
Draconis was on top of the World-tree and laid in the same plane as the
equator, so the days and nights were equal year round - a true
'paradise'. When the axis of the earth tilted, the 'Serpent was cast

What seems to be a more "pristine" version of the story is that of
Amlodhi, of Icelandic legend, who owned a mill which, in his own time,
"ground out peace and plenty." Later, in decaying times, it ground out
salt. Finally, it fell to the bottom of the ocean and was grinding out
rock and sand, creating a vast whirlpool, the Maelstrom. According to
Giorgio De Santillana and Hertha Von Dechend, this myth was evidence for
an astronomical process, the precession of the zodiac. This is the
shifting of the sun through the signs of the zodiac, and, according to
them, it determines "world ages." They write:

Now it is time to locate the origin of the image of the Mill, and
further, what its alleged breakup and the coming into being of Whirlpool
can possibly mean.

The starting place is in Greece. Cleomedes (c. AD 150), speaking of the northern latitudes, states (1.7): "The heavens there turn around in the way a millstone does."
Al-Farghani in the East takes up the same idea, and his colleagues
will supply the details. They call the star Kochab, Beta Ursae Minoris,
"mill peg," and the stars of the Little Bear, surrounding the North
Pole, and Fas al-rahha (the hole of the mill peg) "because they
represent, as it were, a hole (the axle ring) in which the mill axle
turns, since the axle of the equator (the polar axis) is to be found in
this region, fairly close to the star Al-jadi
..." These are the words of the Arab Cosmographer al-Kazvini. Ideler comments: "Koth,
the common name of the Pole, means really the axle of the movable upper
millstone which goes through the lower fixed on, what is called the

...The Bhagavata Purana tells us how the virtuous prince
Dhruva was appointed as Pole star. The particular virtue of the prince,
which alarmed even the gods, is worth mentioning: he stood on one leg
for more than a month, motionless. This is what was announced to him:
"The stars and their figures, and also the planets shall turn around

There is a remark by Trimalchio in Petronius (Satyricon
39): "Thus the orb of heaven turns around like a millstone, and ever
does something bad." It was not a foreign idea to the ancients that the
mills of the gods grind slowly, and that the result is usually pain.6

The nine grim goddesses who "once ground Amlodhi's meal," working now that "host-cruel skerry quern" beyond the edge of the world, are in Mundlfoeri, literally "the mover of the handle." The word mundil ..."is
never used in the old Norse literature about any other object than the
sweep or handle with which the movable millstone is turned

Here we have a clue that refers directly to something that "turns the
mill." The "nine grim goddesses," which we may identify with the
Egyptian Ennead, are located in the "handle."

The case is then established. But there is an ambiguity here which discloses further depths to the idea. "Moendull" comes from Sanskrit "Manthati," says Rydberg, "it means to swing, twist, bore ...Its direct application always refers to the production of fire by friction."7

And here we see the idea of a binary star system moving in tandem orbit with one another.

The identity of the Mill, in its many versions, with heaven is thus
universally understood and accepted. But hitherto nobody seems to have
wondered about the second part of the story, which also occurs in the
many versions. How and why does it always happen that this Mill, the
peg of which is Polaris, had to be wrecked or unhinged? Once the
archaic mind had grasped the forever enduring rotation, what caused it
to think that the axle jumps out of the hole? What memory of
catastrophic events has created this story of destruction? Why should
Vainamoinen ... state explicitly that another Mill has to be
constructed? Why had Dhruva to be appointed to play Pole star - and
for a given cycle? For the story refers in no way to the creation of
the world.8

The simple answer lies in the facts of the case. The Pole star does
get out of place, and every few thousand years another star has to be
chosen which best approximates that position. It is well known that the
Great Pyramid, so carefully sighted, is not oriented at our Pole Star,
but at alpha Draconis, which occupied the position at the pole 5,000
years ago. ...It is the more difficult for moderns to imagine that in
those far-off ages men could keep track of such imperceptible shifting,
as many of them are not aware of the mere facts.9

This remark about the Pyramid being oriented to Draconis is an ignorant
remark. The fact is, the orientation of the pyramid to the pole remains
constant. It is only the pole stars that change.

Most of these myths, however, come under a misleading name. They
have been understood to deal with the end of the world. ...What
actually comes to an end is a world, in the sense of a world-age.

Coherence will be reestablished in this welter of traditions if it
is realized that what is referred to is the grandest of heavenly
phenomena, the Precession of the Equinoxes.10

Now, did you notice what these two authors have done here? Aside from
their abysmally ignorant remark about the orientation of the pyramids to
Draconis, they have resorted to Uniformitarianism to explain the great
mystery of this worldwide myth of the "unhinging" of the Pole star.
They, and many, many others, have followed this path, believing that all
the clues from ancient monuments and myths have to do simply with measuring time,
"World Ages," in more or less "cultural" and historical terms. The
World Age of the Hebrews was the age of the Ram, symbolized by Abraham
taking his son to sacrifice him, and a Ram appeared in the thicket, and
such other allusions. The age of Pisces, the age of Christ, is
symbolized by the fish, and numerous allusions are dredged up to support
that one. Now, we are supposed to be entering (or have already done
so, depending on your source), the Age of Aquarius.

I should point out right here that if the Precession of the Zodiac was such a great way to measure time
and world ages, there wouldn't be so many opinions about when one began
and another ended. As a measure of time that is so "vastly elegant,"
it ought to at least work, right?

Well, it doesn't. What is more, the zodiac has been created and altered
within recorded history, having at various times ten signs, eleven,
twelve and thirteen. So, what's the point? From this perspective,
there isn't one except for an attempt to deny the possibility that the
ancients meant exactly what they said even if they did tell the stories
as allegories.

But still, using this Precession as a giant clock, with some fantastic
perambulations through archaic lore, a dozen or more authors have
produced as many different versions of what a "world age" is, and "when"
they begin and end, and how. They then try to link these ages to all
sorts of weird theories from the opening of "stargates" to galactic core
explosions to "monuments to the end of time."

© Unknown

Hale-Bopp, 1997

answer is a lot more simple than that. I think that those things that
point us to the idea that the pole comes "unhinged" do, indeed point to
the Precession. But the important thing about this Precession is that
it points us to the fact that the Earth WOBBLES. And I think that the
thing the ancients are trying most desperately to point out to us in
these stories is that the Earth wobbles for a REASON, and we ought to
notice this wobble and ask some questions about the "nine grim
goddesses" who "turn the handle" and where and what that "handle" might
be that increases friction to the point that fire is produced!

In Snorri's11 Gylfaginning, there is a prediction for the future given in the Song of the Sybyl, followed by a dialogue between King Gylfi and the Aesir,12
disguised as men. King Gylfi asks: "What happens when the whole world
has burned up, the gods are dead, and all of mankind is gone? You have
said earlier that each human being would go on living in this or that
world." The answer is that there are several worlds for the good and
the bad. Then Gylfi asks: "Shall any gods be alive, and shall there be
something of earth and heaven?"" And the answer is:

The earth rises up from the sea again, and is green and beautiful
and things grow without sowing. Vidar and Vali are alive, for neither
the sea nor the flames of Surt have hurt them and they dwell on the
Eddyfield, where once stood Asgard. There come also the sons of Thor,
Modi, and Magni, and bring along his hammer. There come also Balder and
Hoder from the other world. All sit down and converse together. They
rehearse their runes and talk of events of old days. Then they find in
the grass the golden tablets that the Aesir once played with. Two
children of men will also be found safe from the great flames of Surt.
Their names, Lif and Lifthrasir, and they feed on the morning dew and
from this human pair will come a great population which will fill the
earth. And strange to say, the sun, before being devoured by
Fenrir, will have borne a daughter, no less beautiful and going the same
ways as her mother

Again, the authors of Hamlet's Mill take a prosaic view of
these matters, pronouncing sagely that it is "just a metaphor." And
again, I have to disagree. I do not think that the point is to "measure
time," in the sense of "world ages" of culture, civilizations, or even
"psychic" or occult influences, except in that they relate to something
RESULT? And we have a clear answer in Snorri's tale: The sun will have
borne a daughter...

In this sense, the ancients might have supposed, and quite rightly, that
if we ever noticed this fact, if we were pointed in this direction, if
we were plainly told that there is a handle that turns the axis,
that this handle gets hot, that the axis of the planet comes unhinged,
that it started out spinning upright and then gradually wobbled out of
place and finally FALLS OVER INTO THE SEA, that we would be clever
enough to get it
. The clue they are pointing out to us is that
there is something OUT THERE that is the HANDLE and we ought to be able
to figure out, by applying principles of atomic physics to celestial
mechanics, exactly what it is and what it does. The repeated references
to the "dying and rebirth of the Sun," in some sort of cosmic hierogamy
and the Sun giving birth to a daughter, or having a Celestial Twin
ought to be pretty plain clues to anybody who is paying attention to
these things.

Now, getting to the recent pronouncements about Zecharia Sitchin and his prophecies. The email forwarded to me said:

Zecharia Sitchin, the world renowned scholar & archaeologist now
finally agrees, quote: "I prophecize the return of this planet called


Trusting the Pentagon/gov't to guard itself & relay needed
information to protect you is clearly illogical. In July the red planet
"2001 KX76" was disclosed. This was the original cover-label for Planet
After 3600 years on its regular orbit it will pass again in SPRING
shows its effect on Earth with each passage. Yes, some conspiracies are
without merit, ignoring history and science is another matter.


By August 2001 the disinformation had changed to the LARGEST
ASTERIOD EVER and it's now shown as blue. It's the same label on a
different object.


When the attention was drawn to the area by announcing the "Largest
Asteriod" was there, they made sure the color of the new "2001 KX76" was
blue. All speculation about a large DULL RED brown dwarf being there
was to be avoided. This is one of their tactics for hiding Planet X.
First giving it a label, then using that same label for another object
to misdirect attention. X is not a red KBO. The original color was not
red for photographic reasons. Too many stories for the color change is
just the first of many obvious clues of a cover up. They will continue
to identify objects ahead and around X to misdirect attention.

The normal helpful & professional Nasa employees are being evasive & condescending when asked about it.

several reasons. One of which is to avoid causing panic among the
world's population. Many websites and articles continue to be written
about Planet X that spread lies. They say it only MAY exist and comes
around only once every few million years IF it does. This disinformation
is widespread.

X orbits between our sun and its dark twin. A diagram from the 1987
NEW SCIENCE & INVENTION ENCYCLOPEDIA shows our dead twin sun &
the 10th planet.

X's MASS, MAGNETISM & DENSITY is such that it DISRUPTS the
surface of EVERY PLANET IT PASSES. In fact, history shows approximately 7
YEARS PRIOR to its passage its far reaching
eletromagnetic/gravitational influence changes Earths core flows
traditional WEATHER has CHANGED DRAMATICALLY, breaking all time records
regularly. The up-tick of QUAKES, VOLCANIC INCIDENTS & changes in
ELECTROMAGNETICS are being kept out of the media as much as possible.
Weather alone can falsely be blamed on global warming & sun cycles
but not earths rumblings at the same time.

Research the advent of PLANET X and the cataclysms it will trigger
by passing EARTH. Being prepared and FOREWARNED gives one an EXCELLENT


Even the majority of the earthchange intuitives prophecies are tied into or name Planet X.


Well, when I went to the above websites to get the confirmation that
"Planet X" had been sighted, I found the following (excerpted):

July 3 - The discovery of a large reddish chunk of something
orbiting in Pluto's neighborhood has re-ignited the idea that there may
be more than nine planets in the solar system.[...] What the discoverers
are calling 2001 KX76 might be one of the largest "Kuiper Belt Objects"
or KBO's, found in the what is essentially a second asteroid belt
beyond the orbit of Neptune. Initial reports give 2001 KX76 a diameter
of 900 to 1200 kilometers - roughly the size of Pluto's moon, Charon.
Pluto itself, it should be noted, is smaller than our own moon.

Now, please note right up front here that this very first announcement
is rather straightforward about the issue as to whether or not this
object ought to be called a "planet" or not. The email above waxes
hysterical about color, but pays absolutely no attention to the size
designation. Here is the initial photo:

© ESA, ESO, Astrovirtel and Gerhard Hahn (German Aerospace Center, DLR)

2001KX76 shows up as two coloured dots against the stars

"Because KBOs are believed to have very elongated orbits around the sun
they spend a lot of time on dark, centuries-long excursions into deep
space. That makes them very hard to find, said astronomer Robert Millis,
director of the Lowell Observatory, which was involved in the
discovery. [...] "There are certainly lots of (KBOs) in distant parts of
their orbits now and we can't detect them," said Millis. The
possibility that 2001 KX76 has big brothers and sisters again raises the
thorny question of what can be called a planet and what cannot. [...]
Historically, Pluto was designated a planet when it was discovered in
the 1930s because it was thought to be much larger than it is, Marsden
said. [...] If 2001 KX76 is any indication of larger KBOs out there, it
might also lead to the demotion of Pluto from puniest planet to king of
KBOs, said Marsden. Millis prefers a third alternative: "There may
exist a new class of planets."

Now, please notice the point of the discussion and the size of the
object and its distance from us: the orbit of PLUTO. 1200KM. Let's have a
look at the issue in the second site referred to in the above,
hysterical email wherein it is now claimed that the disinformation
process has set in by changing the color of the object in both the photo
and the article:

© ESA, ESO, Astrovirtel and Gerhard Hahn (German Aerospace Center, DLR)

caption: "ESO PR Photo 27a/01 shows a reproduction of a colour
composite image, based on three exposures with the Wide Field Imager
(WFI) at the MPG/ESO 2.2-m telescope at the La Silla Observatory. By
combining data from the world's first operational "virtual telescope",
Astrovirtel, with that from a conventional telescope at the European
Southern Observatory (ESO) at La Silla (Chile), European astronomers
have determined the size of the newly found, remote asteroid, 2001 KX76.
Their measurements indicate that this icy rock has a diameter of at
least 1200 km and is therefore larger than any other known asteroid in
the Solar System. The previous record-holder, the asteroid Ceres, was
also the first object of its type to be discovered - by the Italian
astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. Its diameter is about 950
km, relegating it to second place after holding the asteroid size
record for two hundred years."

23 August 2001: Ceres, the first asteroid (minor planet) to be
discovered in the Solar System, has held the record as the largest known
object of its kind for two centuries. However, recent observations at
the European Southern Observatory with the world's first operational
virtual telescope 'Astrovirtel' have determined that the newly
discovered distant asteroid "2001 KX76" is significantly larger, with a
diameter of 1200 km, possibly even 1400 km.

Now, let's just get clear about this. The very first article was about
an object that no one was sure whether they ought to call it a planet or
not. It was larger than what we call asteroids, but smaller than Pluto.
So, it was, at first, called a planet. But please note, the size was
given in the first article, and it was then reiterated, only given a
likelihood of being slightly larger than the original estimate in the
second article. So, the entire discussion was about whether to call this
object a planet or an asteroid. And, apparently, it was decided that
"asteroid" was a better choice until the decision about what size
constituted being a planet was decided once and for all.

And how BIG is this putative "Planet X?" This gigantic and terrifying
object that Zecharia Sitchin predicted and which is now being claimed to
be hidden from us in this tricky shell-game by NASA?

Well, have a look for yourself.

© European Southern Observatory

The first scientific results from Astrovirtel have allowed a
substantial improvement of the accuracy of the computed orbit for 2001
KX76. It is now possible to confirm that this object is just outside
that of the most remote known major planet Pluto.

Further analysis carried out by the team seems to indicate that the
orbit of 2001 KX76 is very similar to that of Pluto. Asteroid 2001 KX76
is even larger than Pluto's moon Charon (diameter 1150 km), adding fuel
to the discussions concerning Pluto's status as a "major" or "minor"
planet. The new data show that 2001 KX76 is about half the size of Pluto
(diameter about 2300 km) and this increases the likelihood that there
are other bodies still to be discovered in the outer Solar System that
are similar in size to Pluto.

The first observations of 2001 KX76 were quite sparse, so the
initial estimates of the size of the new asteroid were very uncertain.
However, it did look large, possibly about the same size as the largest
known asteroid, Ceres, the diameter of which had earlier been measured
at about 950 km.

In order to measure the size of any asteroid, it is necessary first
to determine its orbit around the Sun, which gives its present distance
from the Earth. The next step is to estimate its "albedo", i.e. the
percentage of incident sunlight reflected from its surface. From these
numbers and the measured, apparent brightness of the asteroid (as seen
from the Earth), its diameter can finally be derived.

To determine the orbit of 2001 KX76, the group used "Astrovirtel" to
apply automatic search software to scan through "old" photographic
plates obtained with various astronomical telescopes, as well as recent
CCD observations made with the ESO Wide Field Imager (WFI) at the
MPG/ESO 2.2 m telescope on La Silla (Chile). The search was successful:
the astronomers were able to find several photographic plates on which
faint images of 2001 KX76 could be identified - some of these plates had
been obtained as early as 1982. The exact sky positions were measured
and with accurate positional data now available over a time span of no
less than 18 years, the team was able to compute the first,
high-precision orbit of 2001 KX76. This also allowed to determine that
the current distance from the Earth which turned out to be about 6.5
billion km, corresponding to 43 times the distance of the Earth from the
Sun, or nearly one-and-a-half times farther from the Sun than Neptune.

Thanks to the work of this group of astronomers, the orbit of 2001
KX76 may now be considered relatively secure and it may therefore soon
receive a real name.13

Now, what are we to make of all of this?

It's fairly evident that I am not saying that something is not going to
happen. After laying out the evidence that there is, indeed, a 3600 year
cycle, and that the last "hit" was right around 3600 years ago, no one
can accuse me of not being as "catastrophic" as the next person. In
fact, I think that what we are suggesting here, including our findings
that something is definitely being hidden from us, is singularly
catastrophic. In fact, it is damn scary.

However, we believe that having accurate information about these matters
is not just important, but that it is CRUCIAL. Does the reader have any
idea of how long it takes an object in the neighborhood of Pluto to get

Pluto is 6,000,000,000 km from Earth. If you travel at 100 km/hr, you
could get to Pluto in 6849.3 years. Moving at 1,000 MPH, it will tak
684.9 years to get to Pluto, or vice versa. So please, take it to the
bank that the object sighted in the neighborhood of Pluto is NOT
Nibiru/Planet X and it is NOT going to arrive in 2003. Unfortunately, I
cannot guarantee that there will not be an asteroid strike in 2003, or
anytime between now and then. THAT could happen any day. If there is a
brown dwarf perturber that slams through the Oort cloud, and if we do
have a cluster of comets that travels on a 3600 year orbit, then there
is NO WAY to have ANY warning whatsoever without the willingness of the
government and the scientists who have control of the instruments of
observation to share their data with us. And I can promise you that if a
panic ensues from false alarms such as this nonsense about Nibiru,
there will be no possibility of any sharing of data, and if it is gonna
happen, you won't know.

The Cassiopaeans have given us the clues. We have followed and are
continuing to follow them and make discoveries that are grounded in
scientific fact. We have discovered that there is, indeed, a Control
System; that the influence of science has been to institute a form of
Thought Control. But it most certainly does not operate the way the
Rumormongers and purveyors of hysterical, half-baked theories would have
us believe.

What is more, there is much, much more to this matter at the present
time than meets the eye. There are many other clues, and we are making
discoveries regarding these clues almost daily. We are also coming under
increasing financial pressure that is obviously an attempt to prevent
further discoveries, as well as deliberate attacks from various "cells"
of the Thought Police intended to dissuade us from pursuing our present

What do I think? I think that, based on what the Cassiopaeans have said,
supported by our research to this point, it is very likely that we are already experiencing some of the comets from the cluster that has been cycling through the solar system on that 3600 year orbit.
In fact, we - or our Moon - may get hit by a couple of small ones in
the next year or two. But I think that, for the most part, this former
group has lost its potency. It is scattered and dissipated. Indeed, it
seems likely that it is time for the birth of a new cluster from "between the thighs of the Ennead."

I think that we will witness some amazing astronomical phenomena in the
next few years. "Signs in the Sun and Moon." I think that the powerful
activity of the Sun during this sunspot maximum has been because its
companion is drawing close. It is not yet close enough to be seen, but
that will probably change. We may see it in the next year or two. There
will be more solar activity. The companion star will be seen to
"interact" with its primary similar to observations of other binary star
interactions. A "hieros gamos" of cosmic proportions will take place.
Earthquakes will shake the earth. Volcanoes will erupt. Sitchin will go
on a veritable world tour of lectures declaring that this is the
appearance of Nibiru and that he was "the first" to predict it. He will
be lionized, courted, interviewed, and trotted out on all the television
shows. Oprah will kiss his cheek and Art Bell will give him a regular

But the important thing to remember is this: It will not be a planet
Nibiru. There is no "Planet Nibiru." But there IS a sun's companion,
Nemesis. And, even if this companion star is seen, it will never enter
the inner solar system. That is not the way these types of bodies
interact with each other. The closest that Nemesis will come is probably
the orbit of Pluto. It will then "go away." Everyone will settle down
and think that nothing is going to happen. Sitchin will be disgraced
because his predicted giant planet won't do what he says it will do.
Oprah will no longer take his calls, and Art Bell will not answer his

© NASA/JPL/Yeomans

that will not be the end of the matter... Because the important thing
to remember about the appearance of a Dark Star at the outer reaches of
our solar system is that, in order to get close enough to be seen, it
has to pass through the Oort cloud and the Kuiper belt... like a bowling
ball through a row of pins. What is more, the macrocosmic quantum
changes that could result from an interaction between a binary star
system are too poorly known, and may contribute to an entirely different
cometary intinerary. Cometary bodies that are slammed into the Solar
System by a gravitationally heavy object may proceed rather more quickly
than one would suppose.

And so, in addition to whatever is left over of a cyclical cometary
swarm from the previous interaction with our Sun's companion, will be
augmented by a whole new grouping.

In closing, allow me to repeat a quote from Noah [now published as Secret History of the World]:

One of the chief proponents of catastrophe theory in the last
century was Immanuel Velikovsky. Criticisms aimed at Velikovsky
included remarks stating that his vision "showed little respect for
the laws of physics: In his books, planets change orbits - in blatant
violation of the laws of mechanics - and go crashing into other planets

Is this attack really justified? Is talk about jumping planets evidence of ignorance, as the authors of Three Big Bangs seem to imply?

In a paper published in a collection entitled: "The Stability of the
Solar System and of Small Stellar Systems", Jeno M. Barthomy2
wrote: "It is conceivable that when the Earth was formed, it occupied a
higher quantum state, and by releasing energy in the form of
gravitational waves 'jumped' to its present 'ground state.' I do not
wish as yet to speculate on a possible gravitational wave spectrum
emitted from newly formed planetary systems in the universe."

How can such jumps occur in terms of more conventional concepts? G.J Sussman and Jack Wisdom wrote in 1992: "The evolution of the Solar System is chaotic. Exponential divergence of nearby trajectories is indicative of chaotic behavior."3

Up to the present time the computer simulations that have been done4 have not even attempted to take into account a possible cosmic intruder - the brown dwarf Sun's companion whose existence and properties have been researched by R. Muller and J. Matese.5 They also did not try to take into account a possible fractal structure of space-time, which was the subject of a series of papers and of a monograph by French astrophysicist Laurent Nottale.6

I have discussed Nottale's rules of quantization of planetary
systems in my notes in the present work. Here it is enough to say that
fractal and multidimensional structure of space-time, along the ideas
put forward by many physicists, astronomers and astrophysicists, whose
works are quoted in this book, make cosmic jumps plausible. My own research added one more factor here: as discussed in this work, it is one of the conclusions of EEQT (Event-Enhanced Quantum Theory) that, as a rule, couplings of quantum systems to classical ones induce chaotic behavior and fractal-like patterns of quantum jumps.7 That may be one of the reasons why space-time is fractal-like both in micro- and in macro-scale.

The event generating algorithm that is at the foundation of EEQT can
be easily modified, using cosmic scale coupling constants, to describe
such jumps in terms of a piecewise deterministic Markov process, when prolonged periods of continuous evolution are interspersed by jumps of a random character.

The main feature of EEQT is that it provides an algorithm for
describing the history of an individual system, where jumps really take
place. Therefore it provides appropriate tools for dealing not only with micro-particles but also with cosmic bodies, as discussed in this present work.

It may also put tools into our hands that will help us to intervene in the "events" of Cosmic Catastrophe.

The primary message of Noah is that one such continuous period may be coming to an end soon, and that the target quantum state after the jump is not fully determined. Our actions, or our lack of action now, shape the probability distribution of our future "after the Flood" environment.

Paraphrasing slightly the quote from Niels Bohr's friend Piet Hein, as used in John Archibald Wheeler's Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam:8

We need to know

what this whole show

is all about

before it's out.

And time is running out.


  1. Hills 1985

  2. Muller 1988, Muller 1996

  3. Raup 1986

  4. Matese 1999

  5. Matese 2000

  6. Talk about your lame interpretation! Next they will be saying
    that the ancients were howling savages who smeared bear grease in their

  7. We notice that the authors don't jump on this pregnant allusion!

  8. And here I beg to differ.

  9. It is far more difficult for me to comprehend how these two
    authors can be talking about the ancients grasping this concept, and
    then to wonder why anyone with the brains to do so would even care!
    That is, assuming it is just a "concept."

  10. De Santillana & Von Dechend, Hamlet's Mill,1977, David R. Godine, Boston

  11. Snorri Sturlson, author of the Prose Edda

  12. Norse gods

  13. The 'Virtual Observatory' concept, for which "Astrovirtel" is a
    prototype, is the start of a new era in astronomy. A larger study
    project called the 'Astrophysical Virtual Observatory' is now about to
    start within the Fifth EC Framework programme as a collaboration between
    ESO, ESA (ST-ECF), the University of Edinburgh (UK), CDS (Strasbourg,
    France), CNRS (Paris, France) and the University of Manchester (UK).

Notes from Noah [Secret History of the World]:

  1. This shows clearly to what extent the greenhouse effect has been
    overestimated in comparison with the solar contribution to climate
    change, which turns out to be the most important factor.

  2. Muller 1996

  3. Barthomy 1974

  4. Wisdom 1992

  5. Wisdom 2001

  6. Matese 1999, 2000, Mueller 1988, 1996

  7. Nottale 1993, Nottale 1997

  8. Blanchard 2000, 2001

  9. Wheeler 1998

Members of the group of scientists involved in these observations are: Gerhard Hahn (German Aerospace Center, DLR, Berlin), Claes-Ingvar Lagerkvist (Uppsala University, Sweden), Karri Muinonen, Jukka Piironen and Jenni Virtanen (University of Helsinki, Finland), Andreas Doppler and Arno Gnaedig (Archenhold Sternwarte, Berlin, Germany) and Francesco Pierfederici (ST-ECF/ESO).

Comment: Suggested further reading: Comets and Catastrophe Series, beginning here.

Asteroid makes sharpest turn yet seen in solar system



Friday, a metre-sized asteroid called 2011 CQ1 was spotted zipping only
5480 kilometres above the Earth's surface. That is the closest near
miss on record, beating the previous record holder, a rock that buzzed
Earth in 2004 called 2004 FU162, by a few hundred kilometres.

When something that small comes close to our planet, Earth's gravity is
sure to bend its orbit. In this case, the approach was so close that the
little asteroid's path bent by 60 degrees, reports Don Yeomans of
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Short of collisions with a planet, that's the biggest orbital change
ever recorded by observers. It was large enough to shift the asteroid
from one category of objects into another. As Yeomans and his JPL
colleague Paul Chodas explain in an online update:

Prior to the Earth close approach, this object was in a so-called
Apollo-class orbit that was mostly outside the Earth's orbit. Following
the close approach, the Earth's gravitational attraction modified the
object's orbit to an Aten-class orbit where the asteroid spends almost
all of its time inside the Earth's orbit.

Gravitational encounters between objects large and small have
been rearranging the solar system since it formed some 4.56 billion
years ago. We now believe even planets have been shuffled in their
orbits. In this case, we had the good fortune to spot a very large
change in the orbit of one very small object around the sun.

But now that 2011 CQ1 has had its 15 minutes of fame, we are unlikely to
spot the small, dim object again, says Emily Lakdawalla of the
Planetary Society, a space advocacy group in California: "We'll probably
never be close enough to it again to be able to pick its dim light out
from the background of stars."

Bizarre fireball filmed over Germany

© NYC812

Comment: This
looks like it could be a fireball/comet fragment that is doing some
electrical things as described by Jim McCanney. Also, looks like some of
the strange comet things described by the ancients and why they called
comets "serpents." The double tail then appears to be just the way this
one manifested.

Also, some fireballs that travel so "leisurely" may be not be purely
'physical' objects since electrical phenomena also seem to be often
transdensity (or transdimensional).

Frost Quakes or Overhead Explosions? Ohio, US: Mysterious Loud Explosions Explained

Click here to watch the video.

Officials at the Darke County EMA have identified what caused loud,
explosion-type sounds that shook homes early Thursday morning.

The EMA said it has investigated reports from Central Indiana to Western
Ohio about the sounds. They said they have worked with several agencies
and departments and have determined that the loud sounds were caused by
a phenomena called Cryoseism, also known as Frost Quakes.

Temperatures plunged below zero in the early-morning hours and the booms
may have been caused by rapid differential expansion of warm buildings
on the inside and very cold air on the outside.

Tonya Westfall, Arcanum resident said, "It was just a huge pop
like something burst. It sounded like something in the attic and on the
roof like an explosion or something fell or broke. It just scared me and
then I'm laying there for a minute thinking, is the roof caving in?"

Residents wrote on Darke County Sheriff's office facebook page, describing what they felt.

Darke County Emergency management agency said a Frost Quake is usually
caused by a sudden drop in temperatures when they are below zero and
when snow or ice is on the ground. The moisture gets into the ground and
as the ground freezes the water in the soil expands causing pressure to
build and shake..

"Typically they only occur across the northern great lakes and into
Canada," said Brandon Redmond, Darke County Sheriff's office.

US: Possible Meteorite Spotted Over Philly

Fox 29 has received several reports of an object that resembled a
meteor that has spotted in the sky near the Philadelphia Navy Yard

The incident happened before 12:45 p.m. ET, according to witnesses who
called Fox 29. There are also reports on Twitter and Facebook about the

Fox 29 TV reporter Chris O'Connell also saw the object, which he
described as "majestic" and "beautiful," at about 12:35 p.m. as he was
driving on I-95 near the airport.

A Fox 29 viewer spotted the object at 12:36 p.m. in Delaware.

There also have been several reports of similar occurrences today in Connecticut and New York.

Meteorites are naturally occurring objects that originate in
space and survive a fall through Earth's atmosphere. Most are remnants
of asteroids or possibly comets.

The Navy Yard facility is on the Delaware River, which is also used as a flight path to Philadelphia International Airport.

The American Meteor Society track meteorite spottings but has not yet posted anything today in its Web site.

If you saw the object, we could like you to contact our Newsdesk at
fox29.newsdesk@foxtv.com or send a video/picture to ucam29@kyte.tv

The Nature and Origin of Comets and the Evolution of Celestial Bodies


This paper provides an alternate theory for comet behavior and shows
comets to be planetary, lunar, and asteroidal bodies in their formative
stages. It demonstrates that tail matter is attracted towards an
asteroidal comet nucleus by strong electrical forces. Additionally, two
charging mechanisms are identified, both of which produce a net negative
charge on the comet nucleus. This is supported by data from recent
space probes.

Comet wandering, sunward spikes, a shrinkage of the coma as the comet
approaches the Sun, curved tails, the gathering and maintenance of
meteoroid streams, spiraling of tail material, and the rapid orbital
circularization of large newly captured comets are also discussed.

Earlier papers used similar concepts to predict the existence of strong
electrical fields in the vicinity of Saturn, showing Saturn and its ring
system to be analogous to the Sun and its zodiacal disk. The
realization of the proton wind-supported capacitors of Saturn and the
Sun led to a number of unexpected theoretical considerations that

  1. the recognition of the charging process used by comets

  2. the postulation of an ion and dust cloud held back by solar wind
    pressure near the orbit of Jupiter - which is one source of comet tail

  3. a postulated electric dipole red-shift in photons leaving the central star

Still another theoretical result was the possibility of an electrically
induced magnetic dynamo powered by a planet spinning inside the orbit of
a slightly charged moon. Empirical correlation between moons and
magnetic fields has been known for some time, though the wandering of
our Moon has remained an unsolved mystery.

An attempt is made to explain solar system formation from the time a
newly formed twin star system leaves the galactic center to when it
develops its solar system by the capture of comets. The reader's
knowledge of planetary encounter and N-body literature is assumed since
it is basic to the paper but unreferenced.

However, the text by T. J. J. See, which develops the first capture
theory for the origin of the solar system (OSS), is indispensable. A
major result of this paper is also the quantization of' Newtonian space.
Finally, the link between planetary formation, geomagnetic reversals,
and biological evolution is examined.


This paper was produced during the 1979-80, 1980-81 academic years while
the author was a lecturer in the Physics and Mathematics Departments of
Cornell University (Ithaca, N. Y.) Only minor grammatical changes have
been made for publication and numerous footnotes have been added for

The article is a condensed version of a 450 page manuscript (Origin of the Planets, Comet Capture Processes in the Formation of Solar Systems,
also by the author) which further develops each aspect of the new comet
theory. Although it was never intended, the theory explains
Velikovsky's claims of Venus transforming from a comet into a planet and
is supported by data from recent space probes.

Since 1982, with the analysis of data from the Pioneer II /Voyager
1/Voyager 2 missions to the outer planets and the Pioneer Venus/ Russian
Venera probes, the trend even among established astrophysicists has
markedly turned towards catastrophism based on celestial events (these
have been mainly variations on the "colliding asteroid" theory).

In spite of this trend and a wealth of new data on electromagnetic
phenomena, mainstream astrophysicists continue to maintain that gravity
is the only force in the cosmos and to support long standing theories
such as the Big Bang, the nebular collapse theory for the origin of the
solar system, the greenhouse effect, the ice ball comet model, and
General Relativity (all of which are shown to contain theoretical
inconsistencies in this paper).

As the data arrived from around the solar system, the author witnessed
repeated efforts within the space science community (primarily NASA) to
ignore the importance of electrical phenomena. If the data did not fit
into the established theoretical picture, after-the-fact theories were
contrived to force-fit the data, or the data were simply not dealt with
at all. It should have been apparent that the data were unquestionably
contradictory to any expectations of traditional theory and that a
radically new set of self-consistent concepts would be needed.

Part I is the first of a three part series which develops a new theory
for comet behavior and solar system evolution. Many may wonder why a new
theory is necessary; thus Part I begins with a brief critique of
presently "accepted" astronomical theory and is followed by an
introduction to the new comet theory.

I. A Brief Critique of the Ice Ball Comet Model and Nebular Theory of the Origin of the Solar System

Occasionally letters are published which disagree with the ice ball
comet model (IBCM) and nebular collapse theory for the origin of the
solar system (OSS). Personal experience also indicates that there is a
group of scientists and astronomers who do not accept either theory, but
do not publish since they do not know what to publish.

This has led to the popularized statement that there is universal
acceptance of these theories. After the Voyager I Saturn encounter, many
began to realize the inability of the nebular theory to explain the
data, especially the electrical phenomena and large energy output of
Saturn as compared to Jupiter.

All current literature on planet formation assumes the preexistence of
planetesimals which are then shown to agglomerate relatively quickly
into planets. The great difficulty with this has always been in showing
how the proto-planets form, since only large Magellanic clouds can
achieve gravitational collapse in theory (in practice, no one has ever
witnessed the collapse of any cloud, no matter how vast its size).

Also, if these small planetesimals are so difficult to explain, then how
did the relatively small frozen comet' nuclei form in the primordial
nebula? It has always been assumed that this is how it must have been,
as is the case with the Oort-cloud which currently is impossible to
detect. Other objections which cannot be ignored are the results of all
four Pioneer-Venus probes which detected "more energy being radiated up
from the lower atmosphere than enters as sunlight", the faint glow at
the surface and atmospheric lightning, not to mention the high
concentration of argon-36, among others.

At this point science cannot be advanced by simply trying to modify
previous theories which fall very far short of explaining these data or
by refusing to look at new approaches to the problem.

The unexpected elevated temperature in Titan's clouds has been explained
as due to a temperature inversion, suggesting that the heat is
generated by a greenhouse effect. But, Titan receives only about
1/40,000th the sunlight that reaches Venus, so few will believe in a
greenhouse effect at this distance from the Sun. Infrared data must be
viewed skeptically as they have consistently given low temperatures in
Earth-based data (i.e., Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn).

Also, Pluto is now known to have gaseous methane in its atmosphere and
therefore must have a considerable N2 atmosphere to hold this in place
(as with Titan). With the recent determination of the low mass of Pluto
(Pluto has non-trivial amounts of gaseous methane in its atmosphere yet
is only 1/400th the mass of Earth), one can only ask how it has
maintained this atmosphere for 4.5 billion years and how it maintains
the elevated temperature necessary to have a gaseous atmosphere (as with

The current sheet of five million amps that flows constantly from lo to
Jupiter was the first electrical discharge phenomenon recorded by
Voyager in interplanetary space. It is generally stated that the auroras
on Jupiter arise from current flow from lo's torus. But, since auroral
spots - one near each pole - also follow lo as it orbits Jupiter's dark
side, the current must be coming from lo itself. The visible auroral
spots near Jupiter's poles following Io were mentioned in early news
releases but no reference to them was found in the issues of Science
(written by NASA space scientists) dealing with Voyager I and III's
encounter with the Jovian system, i.e., 1 June 1979 and 23 November

Although a "magnetic" explanation was given for lo's current sheet,
current cannot flow unless a potential difference exists; therefore lo
must maintain a net charge with respect to Jupiter. This paper will show
that lo maintains a net electric charge, using the same charging
process as comet nuclei orbiting the Sun. It will be shown that
Jupiter's spinning inside the orbit of charged lo creates Jupiter's
magnetic field, and not vice versa.

The widely publicized tidal heating of lo to account for its great
internal heat and volcanism has been questioned. The tidal theory
predicts the greatest heat to be at the north and south poles of lo, but
almost all volcanic activity is observed within 30 degrees of its
equator. As with all "accepted" theories, it has been favored because it
supports the a priori assumption that everything in the solar system
formed 4.5 billion years ago. Internal heating will be discussed in
detail and it will be shown that tidal heating has been overestimated. The
heat is rising from Io's young interior through volcanism which is a
result of quakes caused by the tidal action of Jupiter, Europa, and

Other important but often ignored anomalies are the wanderings of
Neptune and Earth's Moon, the selective heavy cratering of the far side
of the Earth's Moon, and small halos around certain asteroids.

Most investigators strictly hold that electrically charged celestial
bodies cannot exist because it would be observed in the planetary
motions. The answer to this is that it is now known that the charge to
mass ratios of celestial bodies vary greatly with size, with the most
notable effects occurring only in the motions of the smallest bodies.
This is discussed at length throughout the present paper and has been
observed in Saturn's system.

Although much has been written and many calculations performed on the
ice ball comet model, it is difficult to imagine that the miniscule
amount of solar radiation falling upon this nucleus can cause comas 1.5 x
106 km in diameter and 100 million km in length.
Furthermore, the comet must continually fill this space as the tail
follows the comet in its orbit.

Piecewise integration suggests that the comet would have to fill this
volume at least 600 times during a single passage while inside the orbit
of Mars and it is expected to do this on thousands of returns. Also, it
is particularly hard to imagine a sun-grazing ice ball passing through
the 1 million degree solar corona, spending a number of hours grazing
the solar atmosphere (not to mention passing through the solar Roche
limit on a highly eccentric orbit), and passing to the outside again
relatively unaffected.

If the icy volatiles were ejected by solar radiation bombardment, then
the statistics of following such a molecule, given the mean free path as
a constant, would show the comet coma luminosity to fade exponentially
as the distance from the nucleus. On the contrary, the coma is well
defined up to an edge and does not exist appreciably beyond this.

Observed anti-tails (sunward fan-shaped tails) have been explained as
due to the rotating ice ball interacting with the solar wind. Comet
wandering is claimed to be due to the ejection of jets from the ice

The curved Type II tails as observed in Donati's comet and comet West
follow the comet in its orbit. This would require a selective curvature
in the solar wind or other such containment mechanism in the IBCM;
however, it has been shown that neither solar wind nor solar radiation
can provide such a containment mechanism.

The IBCM is only valid for the region of space well within the orbit of
Jupiter. The two largest comets in history (comet 1729 and 1927 IV) were
recorded outside Jupiter's orbit (1927 IV was seen beyond the orbit of

Comets with sunward "spikes" are explained in the IBCM as a thin Type I
tail which only "appears" to extend in the sunward direction. This
explanation was first given when Comet Arend-Roland (below image)
developed a sunward spike for seven days during its 1957 passage.

Comet Kohoutek (image below) developed a similar spike as it passed
near the Sun as seen by Sky-Lab astronauts. Since then, other spiked
comets have been observed, always occurring in the ecliptic near the

Pliny the Elder in his Second Book of Natural History speaks of
comets that project horns, and there are many other ancient references
to unusual comets. Data which must be included are the 6,000 year old
American Indian rock paintings found near Green River, Utah.

Comet Kohoutek (1973)

The paintings are unmistakably those of a comet with a spike in the
form of a helix. One shows the comet with a large nucleus, the other
without. As the comet is drawn twice, it was the painter's intention to
draw the sunward spike in the form of a helix. Spiraling of comet tail
material is also commonly observed, reminiscent of ions moving in a
magnetic field.

The new comet theory shows the sunward spike to be part of an
electrical discharge, and the spiraling of the spike and tail matter a
result of charged particles moving in a magnetic field supported by the
charged comet nucleus.
This is a marked difference in the
theories and, therefore, provides one of the many Earth-based
experiments that can decide between the two theories.

If radio noise is detected during spike formation, then the IBCM cannot
explain this since the thin Type I tail should be much less active than
the larger Type II tail. A magnetically induced discharge in large Type I
tails has been suggested but this cannot be related to sunward spikes
for the reason just given. Also, low level radio noise in comets has
been accidentally detected during occultation of stars. So detection of
excessive radio noise in spiked comets should provide a definitive test
for the alternative theories.

The link between galactic and solar system formation is necessary for a
complete understanding of celestial phenomena. The traditionally
accepted density wave theory of spiral arm formation is consistent with
the nebular theory of OSS in that it explains the origin of impulses
believed necessary for stellar collapse and formation. There are
difficulties which still remain with this model, however.

The mechanism that begins the density wave remains unidentified as an
interaction of galactic proportions is needed which is common to all
galaxies. This is further complicated by the need for a symmetric
interaction to explain fine detail such as star densities --
irregularities in the spiral arm shape and the anti-symmetric warping of
the galactic disk - all of which occur with great symmetry even though
the arm pairs are separated by distances of hundreds of thousands of
light years.

II. Comets and the Discharge of the Solar Capacitor

IIa) Galactic Formation, Saturn and the Charging Processes Used by Comets

Two Papers have preceded this one and must be read with their references to interpret the present paper properly.

A new concept of galactic evolution has been proposed in one paper
which is consistent with the new comet capture theory of OSS and is
contradictory to both the density wave concept and nebular collapse
theories of OSS. The new model's main result (as related to the present
paper) is that twin star systems are formed near the galactic nucleus.
It also explains the cause of the high degree of symmetry found in
galactic structure.

The twin star system is necessary for capture in celestial
mechanics; thus the formation of binary stars that are observed in
abundance in the sky is an essential part of OSS by capture processes.
The dynamics of twin star formation in the spiral arm, as it leaves the
galactic nucleus, also provides an important source for the asteroidal
comet nuclei which can become captured by a twin star system.

As the spray of condensing matter leaves the gravitational dominance
of the galactic nucleus, the largest conglomerates will begin to
control the volume of space around them, with the smaller objects
assuming orbits in random planes with random eccentricities about the
central more massive star. Within a short time, there will be a great
number of encounters.

This leaves, in most cases, the two largest bodies to orbit one
another with the smallest bodies being ejected from the system. These
smaller bodies are observable as the dispersion of light that occurs
around the spiral arm near the galactic nucleus as they move outwards
for possible capture by twin star systems. It is a game of numbers; of
the multitude of asteroidal planetary "seeds" ejected from this portion
of the spiral arm, only a few will eventually become active members of a
solar system.

Here also it is seen that the planes of the solar systems formed
will be randomly oriented as will the orbital directions of the smaller
stars of the pairs. Jupiter and the Sun were the original twin stars of
our system, with the rest of the planets, moons, and asteroids being
captured one by one at a later time, the selection rules being governed
by chance.

Some may ask: "why cannot some planets have been part of the
original system as it left the galactic nucleus?" If such 3 (or N) body
systems were possible when given random initial conditions, then triple
star systems (and higher order systems) would be more abundant. Only
0.1% of all stars are in higher order systems, and the known systems
(e.g., the triple-star alpha-centauri) act much as a twin star. i.e., a
closely spaced binary with a distant orbiting third star.

Comet captures are well understood and well documented. e.g.,
Lexell's comet 1770 and comet Brooks II, 1886. Also, the observation
that 5,000 asteroids lie within Jupiter's orbit with only a few beyond
shows the organizing effect of capture by a twin star. Thus, with over
75% of the stars in double systems, and many single stars with unlit
companions, developing planetary systems should be found in all of

The second paper deals with the star-like nature of Saturn (and
Jupiter). From the observed central high velocity wind belt, the highly
developed ring system (analogous to the zodiacal disk), the electric
discharge phenomena in its vicinity and the proportionately larger
thermal output when compared to Jupiter, it must be true that Saturn is
much more active and therefore younger than Jupiter.

A major result of the Saturn paper is the identification of two
charging processes, both resulting in a net negative charge on a body
moving in a hot plasma (either planetary radiation belts or the solar
wind). The first has been detected and is induced as the body enters
regions of varying electrical potential within the plasma. A small space
craft can quickly charge to a potential of 10,000 volts, so if size is
assumed to be important, then a small asteroidal body could quickly
charge to a substantial voltage.

This was observed when Pioneer-Saturn passed under the small
asteroidal moon 1979-S2 and experienced a "great mass" with a large
magnetic field. The great mass sensed by telemetry was the result of the
induced electric dipole force on the metal space craft as discussed
previously (and the same force responsible for the gathering and
maintenance of meteoroid streams by comets, to be discussed).

The second charging mechanism occurs during the discharge of the
Sun's (or Saturn's) capacitor formed by an excess current of protons in
its solar wind. The capacitor forms between the negatively charged
central star and positively ionized nebular cloud which surrounds the
star in the shape of a donut.

The discharge of this capacitor is triggered by the intrusion of an
already charged asteroidal body (charged initially by the first
process). Current flows in a line between the star and surrounding
neutralizing ion cloud via the comet nucleus. Electrons flow outward
from the negatively charged star (sometimes visible as the sunward
spike) while positive ions flow inwards the nebular ion cloud (forming
the comet tail).

Due to the higher mobility of electrons, they arrive in greater numbers
at the asteroidal comet nucleus, causing a build-up of negative charge
on the nucleus. It is the combined electric fields of the Sun and comet
nucleus which create the characteristic comet shape (to be discussed).
Fan-shaped anti-tails are caused by ions and protons from the solar wind
which also pour into the comet nucleus from the sunward side and
fluoresce as they recombine with electrons.

Russian astronomers predict Apophis-Earth collision in 2036

© NASA PL-Caltech/T

Russian astronomers predict Apophis-Earth collision in 2036

Russian astronomers have predicted that asteroid Apophis may strike Earth on April 13, 2036.

"Apophis will approach Earth at a distance of 37,000-38,000 kilometers
on April 13, 2029. Its likely collision with Earth may occur on April
13, 2036," Professor Leonid Sokolov of the St. Petersburg State
University said.

The scientist said, however, the chance of a collision in 2036 was
extremely slim saying that the asteroid would likely disintegrate into
smaller parts and smaller collisions with Earth could occur in the
following years.

"Our task is to consider various alternatives and develop scenarios and
plans of action depending on the results of further observations of
Apophis," Sokolov said.

The asteroid, discovered in 2004, is considered the largest
threat to our planet, although NASA scientists reduced the likelihood of
a hazardous strike with Earth in 2036.

Russia's space agency announced its plans earlier to consider a project to prevent the large asteroid from colliding with Earth.

Strange Aerial Phenomenon Over Mendocino California

First video - no zoom

Second video - with enlargement

NASA searches for a snowball in hell: Why Velikovsky matters, today more than ever


Here it is, 6 years later... no snow or ice in sight!

January 12, 2005, NASA launched its latest space probe, Deep Impact,
named after the recent Hollywood science fiction film. Recall, in the
cliffhanger a team of courageous astronauts (led by tough guy, Robert
Duvall) sacrifice their lives to deflect a speeding comet from its
collision course with earth, thus saving human civilization from
catastrophe. NASA's newest mission is also a last-ditch gambit, of
sorts: an attempt to save the current comet model.

Open any astronomy book and you will read that comets are dirty
snowballs---conglomerates of ancient rock and ice left over from the
creation of the solar system. And it must be true, right? After all, it
says so in the textbooks, and surely the university professors can't be
wrong. The problem is that over the five decades since Fred Whipple
first proposed the snowball model in 1950, neither NASA nor anyone has
proved that comets are actually made of ice. Every time NASA scientists
focus their instruments on the surface of comets, they see only rocky
stuff. Comets look like asteroids. So, where's the ice? After failing
repeatedly to find it, NASA has concluded that the ice must be hidden by
surface dust, or is buried out of sight. Deep Impact will attempt to
resolve this question by looking below the surface.

Next July, if all goes well, the unmanned Deep Impact
spacecraft will rendezvous with a small comet named Tempel 1, not to
avert a collision, but for the purpose of causing one. Once in position,
the craft will send a 300+ pound "impactor"---essentially a 3 foot
diameter copper projectile---directly into the speeding comet's path. No
nuke or explosive charge will be needed to blast a hole in the comet's
surface. The comet's tremendous kinetic energy will do that. Tempel 1 is
clipping along at an estimated 12 miles a second.

The plan is to study the 100-300-foot crater excavated by the collision.
During its fly-by, the spacecraft will also gather spectroscopic data
from the ejected gas, dust and debris. Much planning has gone into the
selection of the impact site, to (hopefully) assure that the crater will
be in full sunlight, instead of shadow. Comet Tempel 1 has an irregular
shape---it is only about 5 miles in diameter. With a bit of luck,
NASA's cameras will obtain a good look at the comet's freshly excavated
surface. It will be the first time that NASA has actually probed the
interior of a comet. NASA expects to confirm the presence of ice.

Will they find it?

For the answer we will have to wait until next summer. When the
rendezvous happens---assuming things go according to plan---earth bound
folks with binoculars will be treated to a show of celestial fireworks;
although exactly how bright and visible the collision will be is open to
question. The event will take place---believe it or not---on the fourth
of July, independence day. One wonders if the neocons in Washington had
something to do with this. At very least, the date shows the extent to
which science has been politicized.

Snowball in Hell

But, somewhere, God must be laughing at us silly humans, because NASA
has about as much chance of finding ice in Tempel 1 as the proverbial
snowball in hell. It just ain't going to happen. There's too much
contrarian evidence. It's been accumulating for years, and should have
melted the ice model, long ago. Yet, NASA stolidly presses onward. The
agency greets every new anomaly with ad hoc improvisations, and has gone
to increasingly outlandish lengths to preserve its ice theory. Why?
Answer: because so much hangs in the balance. The stakes are very high.
More is involved than simply comets. At issue is the Red Shift, the
expanding universe, the theory of black holes, and yes, even the big
bang---all at risk if NASA's cometary house of cards comes crashing

To see why the ice model is wrong, let us look at several anomalies:

In 1991 Halley's Comet caused a stir by announcing itself from so far
away---it was then between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. Halley's is
one of the smaller comets, yet it became visible at fourteen times the
distance of the earth from the sun, a fact that solar heating cannot
explain. The standard explanation is that the sun's warmth is
responsible for the cometary coma and tail. But at that enormous
distance the sun was simply too faint.

Evidence of an even more remarkable phenomenon, the sunward
spike---previously unknown---was first documented in a 1957 photograph
of the Comet Arend-Roland. This stunning feature must be seen to be

A "Sunward Spike"

the years since the first sunward spike was photographed, dozens of
other comets have been shown, at times, to display this amazing
phenomenon. The spikes always point toward the sun. Yet, NASA has
dismissed the photographic evidence---however compelling---as nothing
but an optical illusion, an artifact, a play of light, etc. Obviously,
NASA is in robust denial. Why? Sunward spikes are incompatible with the
current ice model.

On May 1, 1996 the Ulysses spacecraft documented another previously
unknown feature of comets, when it crossed the tail of Comet Hyakutake
at a point more than 350 million miles from the comet's nucleus. The
ephemeral tail, in other words, stretched across the equivalent of three
and a half times Earth's distance from the sun---a number that is
astonishing. The discovery was accidental---and wholly unexpected.
Scientists had never guessed that comet tails were so long. Ulysses had
been studying the solar wind, and so, had the necessary equipment on
board to detect the ions typically associated with comets. The satellite
also recorded the magnetic field directional changes that are
associated with comet tails. Detailed analysis showed that both kinds of
data were in agreement. For most scientists, this was enough to confirm
the discovery. Notice, the remarkable tail length means that when Comet
Hyakutake moved around the sun toward its minimum point (perihelion),
the invisible portion of its tail arced across a vast reach of the solar
system. The fact that the tail maintained its integrity at such extreme
distance is incompatible with the standard view that the tail is
composed of materials blown away from the nucleus. Something more is
going on, here. The question is: What?

But the big event, also in 1996, was the discovery of X-rays coming from
the head of Hyakutake. This discovery set the scientific world on its
ear, because naturally occurring X-rays are associated with extreme
temperatures: in the range of millions of degrees Kelvin. Yet, here they
were coming from a supposed ball of ice. There was no immediate word
from NASA about how or why an icy cold comet could produce X-rays. The
discovery was the work of the German ROSAT satellite, and no mistake
about it. During the next few years X-radiation was detected in half a
dozen other cases, including the Comet Hale-Bopp.

Four years passed before NASA finally announced a solution to the
puzzling anomaly. In April 2000, NASA conceded that extreme conditions
are necessary for X-ray emission to occur. But, rather than call into
question its own theory that comets are cold, NASA attempted to square
the circle. The agency explained that the X-rays had been produced by
the solar wind, which---it asserted---was merely an extension of the
extremely hot solar corona. NASA's explanation explained nothing, and
amounted to a contradiction, as any intelligent high school science
student should have been able to judge. The official word showed that
NASA was fumbling with a mystery it did not understand, grasping at air
like a blind man trying to steady himself. (For NASA's official word go here)

Next summer, when NASA fails to confirm the presence of ice in the
nucleus of Tempel 1, the question that the space agency should have been
asking in 1996 will become paramount. (Of course, this does not mean
that NASA will come clean. Indeed, it will be interesting to see how far
NASA is prepared to go to defend its ice model. Probably the
contortions will continue. Not for no reason the agency acronym has been
subject to redux: NASA -- Never A Straight Answer.)


Comet Holmes grew brighter and bigger on its recent lap around the sun

Everyone agrees that comets have an atmosphere. It is known as the
coma, and has been shown to include significant amounts of water vapor,
along with hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, gaseous hydrocarbons, and
various other compounds. The proportions vary from comet to comet. The
present model holds that the water comes from the cometary nucleus. The
thinking is that the sun's warmth causes the icy head to sublimate, or
out gas, and the solar wind pushes the vapors away in the amazing tail
that has always been a source of wonderment and inspiration here on
earth. No question, comets are beautiful to behold on a starry night.
But neither NASA nor anyone has shown that the water actually comes from
the nucleus. Such a deduction is understandable, but it remains
unsupported by evidence, and it is almost certainly wrong. I have
already cited the puzzling case of Halley's Comet, whose visibility at
extreme distance was incompatible with solar warming. Here's the key
question: If the head is NOT made of ice, how then to account for the
known presence of water in the coma and tail? It's a safe bet that, next
summer, NASA will have no answer to this simple question. After all,
they couldn't explain the X-rays.

Not everyone was surprised by the discovery of X-rays. One astronomer
named Jim McCanney actually predicted them. He did so as early as 1981
in a scientific paper first published in the journal Kronos. McCanney
even urged NASA officials to look for X-rays when the agency was
preparing a fly-by of Comet Giacobini-Zinner in 1985. At the time,
NASA's ISEE-3 satellite had already completed its original mission, and
was being reprogrammed for comet study. The spacecraft had X-ray
equipment on board, and McCanney urged NASA to use it. Instead, NASA
shut down the equipment to conserve power. NASA's experts concluded that
there was no point in leaving the X-ray detector on, since there
couldn't possibly be X-rays coming from a cube of ice.

Fortunately, German scientists do not labor under NASA's ideological
thumb. The Germans took McCanney's recommendation seriously. In 1990
they launched a satellite of their own, the Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT),
which was equipped with an X-ray telescope. ROSAT continues to search
the heavens for high frequency X-rays. Earth-based X-ray telescopes are
not feasible, because earth's protective atmosphere absorbs X-radiation.
This was the satellite that independently made the big discovery in

The Plasma Discharge Comet Model

McCanney is the originator of an alternative comet theory, what he calls
the Plasma Discharge Comet Model. His model challenges several key
assumptions current in today's science, which, he says, must be
overturned to correctly understand the nature of comets and the workings
of the solar system. One of these assumptions is that space is
electrically neutral. "Not so," says McCanney. His comet model is, in
fact, but a subset of a grander theory that describes the electrical
nature of the sun. McCanney refers to it as the Solar Capacitor Model.
He argues that most of the energy released by the sun---by far---is
electrical, rather than in the visible spectrum. According to this view,
the sunward spikes are titanic bolts of solar electricity, and comets
are anything but cold. On the contrary, they are incredibly hot and
fiery crucibles in which chemical and nuclear transmutations are
occurring constantly.

McCanney thinks our earth and the other planets were originally
comets that were drawn from their more elliptical orbits into more
circular orbits. He is also quick to credit another maverick thinker who
preceded him: Immanuel Velikovsky. In 1950 Velikovsky authored a
controversial book, Worlds in Collision, in which he argued, among other
things, that science had failed to account for the electromagnetic
nature of comets. Even as the book topped the bestseller charts, several
prominent figures in science, among them Carl Sagan, ridiculed
Velikovsky and eventually succeeded in destroying his reputation.
Velikovsky's name became almost synonymous with wacko nonsense. How
ironic this is---because the 1996 discovery of cometary X-rays has made
Velikovsky look like a prophet. If the Plasma Discharge Comet Model
turns out to be correct, McCanney will earn his rightful place alongside
Kepler, Galileo, and Newton; and the names Velikovsky and McCanney will
be remembered long after NASA and Sagan have been forgotten.

Next time: Why it matters. How the Solar Capacitor Model could save our civilization from self-destruction---now imminent.

To be continued...

Mark Gaffney's first book, Dimona the Third Temple?, was a pioneering study of Israel's nuclear weapons program. Mark's latest, Gnostic Secrets of the Naassenes, was released last spring by Inner Traditions, and has become a best seller in the field of Gnosticism. For more info, go to GnosticSecrets.com

Mark can be reached for comment at mhgaffney@aol.com

Plane crash alert may have been meteorite strike

A meteorite strike may have led to emergency services receiving reports of a plane crash in the early hours today.

Fire crews from Selby, Tadcaster and West Yorkshire were called to the
Whitley Bridge area at about 12.20am as they investigated reports an
aircraft may have come down in the area.

However, the six teams did not find any aircraft which had crashed, and
North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said a meteorite strike was
possibly the reason for the alert.

US: Daytime fireball roughly a 5-ton meteor, NASA estimates

Early Monday afternoon, a bright object flashed across the sky before
vanishing with a flash, according to scores of eyewitnesses from
Virginia to Massachusetts.

The likeliest explanation is that a large meteor - a space rock hurtling
through the atmosphere - passed eastward over the North Jersey-New York
City area.

© MIKE HANKEY / www.mikesastrophotos.com

might have been 5 feet in diameter with a weight of more 5 metric tons,
judging from reports that it blazed as bright as a full moon, said NASA
scientist Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight Center.

He based his estimate on "a reasonable speed" of 33,500 m.p.h. Good thing it didn't hit anything.

"My crude estimate of the energy of this fireball is about 100 tons of
TNT, which means it was capable of producing a crater 125 feet in
diameter and about 15 feet deep, assuming an impact into sandstone,"
Cooke said.

The Earth's atmosphere, is strafed by such rocks about once a
month, usually over the oceans, and a similar event may have happened
near Jackson, Miss., on Jan. 11, he said.

Apparently, this intruder was much larger than the typical debris in
shooting stars or meteor showers. At night, even a grain of sand can
cause a bright streak across the sky.

Cooke said a better estimate would be available in a few days, after
data is collected from "infrasound stations to try to determine the
meteor's energy from the sound waves emitted as it flew through the

Eyewitness reports put the time of Monday's fireball around 12:35 to 12:45 p.m. Eastern time.

Here's a sampling from reports to Meteor/Meteorite News:

-- "Egg Harbor, NJ. Silvery ball like 'shooting star' for about a second
or so across good portion of sky. Heard a bit of a woosh and then it
flashed out. Definitely a little intimidating but cool!"

-- "I saw the meteor that came down in Philly. Spectacular, bright came Almost straight down. Positioning reported by news inaccurate though."

-- "I saw a meteorite today in Bayonne, New Jersey between noon and 1pm.
It appeared out of nowhere in my line of sight coming down toward the
shoreline, and disintegrated about 100 feet above the ground in an instant!"

-- "Old Bridge, NJ Driving on Route 34- Saw a circular meteor appear
with long red flare ending- it was there for a seconds and gone
instantly- it glided like a shooting star -1pm in the afternoon- red as
can be!!"

Among more than 50 reports to the American Meteor Society were these:

-- "It fluxed all the colors of the rainbow akin to a ... oil sheen on
water. It was moving at breakneck speed. ... I don't want to sound weird
but it looked magical," wrote one New York City man.

-- "A true spectacle. Top 5 coolest things I have ever ... seen. I will
remember this fireball till death :) Love, Kurt," wrote a Unionville,
Pa., observer.

The accompanying map, created by Mike Hankey of Mike's Astro Photos, used early reports to approximate the fireball's path.

Shoot a photo or video of the fireball? Please contact the Inquirer Online News Desk at 215-854-2443 or online@phillynews.com.

Comet Tempel 1: Stardust photos reveal crater that 'partly healed itself'

Comet Tempel 1
© Newscom

This photo released by NASA Tuesday shows comet Tempel 1 as the Stardust-NExT spacecraft zipped past Monday.

The Stardust-NExT spacecraft sped past comet 9P/Tempel 1 at 11:39 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Valentine's Day, and Tuesday afternoon, the science team unveiled images representing some of the flyby's greatest hits.

Among 72 pictures
taken during closest approach to the comet's potato-shaped nucleus, the
craft captured changes in the cometscape since it last was imaged by
NASA's Deep Impact craft six years ago.
The crater that mission's 800-pound projectile carved into the nucleus
- obscured by dust during the Deep Impact flyby - also swung into
Stardust-NExT's view. And the craft captured images of intriguing new
regions of the nucleus's surface.

"If you ask me: Was this mission 100 percent successful in
terms of the science? I would have to say: No," said an exuberant Joseph
Veverka, a Cornell University solar-system scientist and the mission's
lead researcher. "It was 1000 percent successful."

After a journey of 3.5 billion miles the craft passed 110 miles from the
nucleus, colliding with dust particles in the comet's halo, or coma.
The team converted the collision data into sound, yielding an audio
track reminiscent of hailstones intermittently pummeling a tin roof.

During a briefing Tuesday afternoon, the team unveiled the photos of
greatest interest - images taken during the flyby's closest approach
to the comet.

Among the initial observations:

- In 2005, Deep Impact captured a sharply scarped plateau-like feature
roughly two miles long and about 1,300 feet across. During this pass,
the plateau showed significant signs of erosion - material lost during
heating that liberated ices and gas during the comet's closest approach
to the sun.

The plateau is likely a downhill flow of dust triggered by an outburst
of gas at some point in the comet's past, Dr. Veverka says.

- The Deep Impact crater was barely discernible in the images the team
released. But Brown University's Pete Schultz, a member of the Deep
Impact and Stardust-NExT science teams, said the crater was readily
apparent in stereo images as well as in new shots of the nucleus with in
oblique sunlight.

The subdued crater is roughly 500 feet across and has a discernible
mound in the middle, evidence Dr. Shultz says, that much of the ejecta
the Deep Impact collision kicked up fell back onto the comet.

"The crater partly healed itself," he says.

- Views of never-seen-before features on portions of the comet Deep
Impact didn't image "are simply amazing," Veverka says. The surface
displays extensive layering, pits, and craters - clues he and his
colleagues will sort through to uncover the geological history of Tempel
1 and the forces beyond solar heating that shaped it.

- A dust analyzer uncovered evidence for carbon and carbon bound with
nitrogen - chemicals and chemical constructs that, in part, form the
scaffolding for biologically important molecules, noted Donald Brownlee,
another team member and a researcher at the University of Washington in

The dusty coma surrounding the comet is "a very dramatic environment,"
he said, in which material is released from the nucleus "in bursts and
puffs of clods and ice.

Stardust-NExT's initial objective when it launched in 1999 was to visit
comet Wild 2 and return dust samples to Earth that the craft collected.
The cost of the mission was on the order of $200 million.

But once it had dropped off its precious cargo - material that
scientists are still studying - in 2006, the craft was in perfect
health. At that point, Veverka proposed sending it back to visit Tempel 1
to follow up on Deep Impact's observations for an additional $29

From all indications, the craft still is in great shape, notes Tim
Larsen, the Stardust-NExT project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in Pasadena., Calif. He says it will continue to take
pictures of the comet for another week or two as the distance between
the two grows.

Calgary, Canada: Streaking asteroid fireball sets Monday morning skyline alight

Space gave Canada a Valentine's Day rock on Monday when a piece of asteroid lit up the Calgary morning skyline.

Niel Beckie was travelling westbound on Glenmore Trail just under Crowchild Trail around 6: 55 a.m. when he saw a flash.

Beckie said he witnessed a very large blue-green fireball that broke into pieces before fading out.

"It lasted about five or six seconds," noted Beckie.

"It was unique and doesn't look like a fireworks. I was curious if anyone else had seen it."

Alan Hildebrand, Canadian Fireball Reporting Centre
co-ordinator and University of Calgary department of Geoscience
associate professor, said one person managed to catch the falling
asteroid on video.

"Unfortunately you need multiple camera recordings to triangulate where
it fell and lots of witnesses," explained Alan Hildebrand.

"It was so cloudy though, especially to the west of us."

Because of the cloud cover, Hildebrand said the space junk probably won't be found.

However, he added the rock probably landed about 300 or 400 kilometres
west of the city, either in Revelstoke or Kamloops, and was about 100

"Now how big is a 100 kilogram rock?" asked Hildebrand. "It would be the size of a pillow."

Hildebrand added if researchers could find the rock that hurtled through
the atmosphere at about 20 kilometres a second, they would be able to
figure out the orbit of the asteroid.

"When you're trying to sort out the asteroid zoo, it's a lot cheaper to
have a piece than going to an asteroid," said Hildebrand.

"It's certainly fun when we have enough information to proceed with an investigation."


US: Giant fireball possibly a meteor sighted over East Coast

A fireball that streaked through the skies over East Coast which was
described by viewers as the size of a "Cesna plane" and one of "the
biggest, brightest, and most colorful ever!", could have been a passing

FoxNews reported that the sighting occurred before 12:45 p.m ET. The
sighting was reported over New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New

The numerous reports of the fireball sighting started during the
daytime, an unusual phenomenon as most of the meteor sightings are
reported during the night.

Philly.com quoted NASA scientist Bill Cooke of the Marshall Space Flight
Center as stating that the object seen might have been 5 feet in
diameter and would have weighed more than 5 metric tons, basing the
measurements on the reports of the brightness of the object. Cooke also
estimates that the object was traveling at a speed of 33,500 m.p.h.

Cooke further estimated that the fireball's energy was
equivalent to about 100 tons of TNT and was capable of producing a
crater 125 feet wide and 15 feet deep on impact.

The American Meteor Society's Fireball Sightings Log cites reactions of people who sighted the fireball around 12:45 EST.

Ken Ehleiter, Bentonville, AR described the sighting as "At first when I
seen it I thought it was a small Cessna plane flying over."

"Sharon," of Paramus, N.J.: "The speed at which it appeared and
disappeared was... remarkable. One second it was high in the sky and in
the next it was on the horizon. It was a ball of fire with a white
glowing train."

Diane Collins, of Tabernacle, N.J., said, "Having seen many "shooting
stars" in the past at... night, this sighting was impressive in the
brightness and size of the flash."

Brendan Davey, New York, N.Y., described the sighting as: "It fluxed all
the colors of the rainbow akin to an ... oil sheen on water. It was
moving at breakneck speed. It never made a sound and if you weren't
looking you wouldn't have known about it."

One witness said, "It was extremely bright. it seemed to be coming in at
a downward angle and to be completely honest I thought someone had shot
a missile at us but missiles are loud. There was no train left behind
and I mean absolutely nothing. I don't want to sound weird but it looked

US: Over the skies of Salem County and other parts of Northeast, a bright meteor seen in mid-day sky

It's a bird, it's a plane ... no it's a meteorite?

If you were lucky enough Monday, at around 12:45 p.m., you looked to the
skies over Salem County and saw a majestic, flaming fireball falling
through the atmosphere.

"So far we have 30 reports of a fireball moving in a general west to
east direction as seen from the northeastern United States," said
American Meteor Society official Robert Lunsford Monday afternoon.
"Daylight fireballs are rare and must be exceedingly bright to be
noticed with the sun in the sky."

One sighting happened right here in Salem County.

Woodstown resident Walt McGuniess called the Sunbeam and described the meteorite as it flew over top of Woodstown High School.

"I was out on a walk with my son and then I looked over top of Woodstown
High School and this huge meteor came hurdling through the sky," said
McGuniess. "It was spectacular, like a huge fireworks display."

Lunsford called it a random event.

"This was most likely a random event not associated with any
known meteor shower," said Lunsford. "This object was most likely the
size of a small car before striking the upper atmosphere (and beginning
to burn up)."

Lunsford said the fireball terminated over the Atlantic Ocean.

"There is no hope for recovering any possible debris," he said.

A Ridgefield Park man said he saw the fireball after glancing out a
window during a break from his work Monday. HL Devore works at
GalleryCollection.com in North Jersey.

"It was an amazing sight. I have never seen anything like it," said Devore. "There was a flash of light then a trail of smoke."

Devore took to the computer and as with most types of technology these days the word spread.

Descriptions of sightings exploded on the social networking websites
Twitter and Facebook. Posts came from people in New Jersey,
Philadelphia, Connecticut, New York and even Egypt.

US: Silver Streaks in the Sky Likely a Meteor

Residents from NJ, NY, CT and Pa. report streaks of silver in the sky

"A streak of silver and then a flash with crazy colors." That's how one
person on Twitter described the celestial phenomenon seen by thousands
of people across five states.

Around 12:30 p.m. Monday a fireball appeared in the sky over Pennsylvania, traveling east for hundreds of miles.

The Internet lit up with reports of sightings from people in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

H.L. Devore says he was in his office in Ridgefield, N.J., looking out
of the window when he saw it and said to himself, "What the heck is

Scientists say it most certainly was a large meteor, a piece of
an asteroid or a comet that falls through the earth's atmosphere.

This latest meteor, one scientist says, was probably the size of a car
and from its trajectory likely landed somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean.

Professor Jon Friedrich says while meteors fall to earth on a daily
basis, "It is unusual to see one so bright in the middle of the day."

Blast from the Past: Did mystery object cause Morpeth, UK rumble?

© Unknown

Morpeth Station

was just after 7pm on Tuesday, January 18, 1977, when houses were
shaken over a wide area of Northumberland by a mystery object. The
effect was felt as far apart as Stakeford, North Seaton, Morpeth, Ulgham
and Whalton.

People described how their homes were shaken violently, with
doors banging and windows rattling. The noise was compared to thunder by
some, while others said it sounded like snow falling off the roof, but
there was no snow on the roof.

Others said the noise sounded like bricks being dumped outside the
house. A policeman who lived near Morpeth Railway Station thought there
had been a train crash when he heard the noise.

However, a group of youngsters playing in the street at the police
houses at the Kylins, Morpeth, saw a mystery flying object glowing in
the sky. It was said to be a bright yellow ball and when it went bang,
it went over the area quite quickly.

As it sped off there a bright trail was seen behind it, but it
was not like an aircraft condensation trail. The children in the area
were so frightened, they ran into their homes to let their parents know
of the sighting.

Adults and children from other areas also saw the mystery object. One
man went out to look and saw what he thought was a large helicopter
south west of Morpeth.

The object was lit up by a yellow light and from where he was watching it appeared to be hovering.

The authorities looked into the matter and contacted the RAF, at its
early warning station at Boulmer, and Newcastle Airport, but neither had
picked up anything to account for the mystery object.

In June 1974 three Morpeth boys saw a mysterious light in the sky and also heard a strange noise.

They heard a high-pitched noise from the direction of Morpeth
Common as they walked up Swansfield, on the Kirkhill Estate. Then they
saw a bright light which started to move. On that occasion the light
moved over the Whalton Road and then south.

From time to time people in different parts of Northumberland have seen
unexplained lights in the sky. Astronomer Patrick Moore went on record
to say that mysterious objects could be meteorites. He said they are
heavenly bodies which burn away as they pass through the upper layers of
the earth's atmosphere.

Canada: Streaking Asteroid Fireball Sets Morning Skyline Alight Over Calgary

Canadian Fireball
© University of Calgary, Calgary Herald

frame of video of a streaking asteroid captured by the University of
Calgary's all sky camera. The fireball as recorded lasted for
approximately three seconds occurring from 6:55:20 to 6:55:23 AM MST on
Monday February 14th.

Space gave Canada a Valentine's Day rock on Monday when a piece of asteroid lit up the Calgary morning skyline.

Niel Beckie was travelling westbound on Glenmore Trail just under Crowchild Trail around 6: 55 a.m. when he saw a flash.

Beckie said he witnessed a very large blue-green fireball that broke into pieces before fading out.

"It lasted about five or six seconds," noted Beckie.

"It was unique and doesn't look like a fireworks. I was curious if anyone else had seen it."

Alan Hildebrand, Canadian Fireball Reporting Centre
co-ordinator and University of Calgary department of Geoscience
associate professor, said one person managed to catch the falling
asteroid on video.

"Unfortunately you need multiple camera recordings to triangulate where
it fell and lots of witnesses," explained Alan Hildebrand.

"It was so cloudy though, especially to the west of us."

Because of the cloud cover, Hildebrand said the space junk probably won't be found.

However, he added the rock probably landed about 300 or 400 kilometres
west of the city, either in Revelstoke or Kamloops, and was about 100

"Now how big is a 100 kilogram rock?" asked Hildebrand. "It would be the size of a pillow."

Hildebrand added if researchers could find the rock that hurtled through
the atmosphere at about 20 kilometres a second, they would be able to
figure out the orbit of the asteroid.

"When you're trying to sort out the asteroid zoo, it's a lot cheaper to
have a piece than going to an asteroid," said Hildebrand.

"It's certainly fun when we have enough information to proceed with an investigation."

A Thermal Airburst Impact Structure

Mark Boslough's super computer generated, comet airburst simulation is a must see.

In it we see the exploding comet detonating high in the atmosphere, and
becoming a supersonic down draft of thermal impact plasma hotter than
the surface of the sun. But watch the sequence closely. And pay
particular attention to the post impact updraft at the center of the
flow. And to the directions of flow of the airburst vortex at the
surface, as the impact plume develops at the center of the vortex. You
might want to replay it a few times.

The old way of imagining of those things was to think of it as a point
explosion high in the atmosphere. And it's still popular in the press to
pretend the atmosphere dissipates the blast. As you can see, it
doesn't. Using super computers has allowed them to retain the downward
momentum. So we can see the impact vortex hit the ground as a supersonic
blast hotter than the surface of the sun. It would be naive to a fault
to think such energies can be dissipated without significant planetary
scarring, or ablative geomorphology.

And, in fact, in central Mexico, the recent marks of thermal
airburst down blasts are terribly common. Forensically speaking there
are thousands of square miles of pristine blast effected materials in
central Mexico that describe the fall of a super cluster of too many air
bursting fragments like the one Dr Boslough's simulation shows, and
even larger, to count.

I've chosen an ordinary-typical example of what a geo-ablative airburst
does when the fragment is among the last to fall in a super cluster
hundreds of miles wide, lat 29.702168 lon - 105.686617:

The white line in the image is 5 miles long.

© Google

mountain, and others like it, are the central uplift of an airburst
impact structure that is different from anything ever described before.
As you can see, the radial, outwards flowing ejecta curtain is almost
perfectly pristine, exposed on the surface. There is no question but
that the mountain is the source location of the materials in the ejecta
curtain. But the mountain consists of uplifted meta sedimentary strata.
It's not a volcanic vent, or rift. There is no crater here either.

© Google

picture begins to make since when we realize that the mountain, and its
pristine ejecta curtain is only a few thousand years old.

© Google

ejecta curtain of geo-ablative melt was blown outwards by the impact
down-blast. These are the patterns of movement you see when a fluid is
driven across a surface by high velocity atmospheric pressure like the
froth on a stormy beach.

© Google

The indication of the speed of the materials in the emplacement of the ejecta curtain is the outwards pointing chevrons.

The shocker here, is that the mountain did not exist in any form at all
at the moment of impact. To really understand the process that formed
the uplift, we need to look closely at the ablative patterns in its
outer surface.

© Google

the simulation, note the supersonic upwards flow in the center of post
impact vortices. The mountain was born almost in an instant as the
surface rebounded up into the impact vortex. So, at the same time the
material in the radial ejecta curtain was being ablated, and blown
outwards, the rebounding surface at the center was ablated, and pulled
up into the impact plume by the upwards flow at the center of the

© Google

the signature of that ablative upwards flow is in the deep V shaped
excavations that are wider at the top, and center of the flow.

© Google

are well over 50,000 square miles of geo-ablative terrains like this in
central Mexico alone. And the region is unique on the surface of the
Earth. The Arid climate has preserved the blast effected materials in
context, and in perfect condition. Most of it is in almost the same
condition as it was the first year after the impact storm.

These kind of strange, and surreal geo-ablative terrains can also be
found in other parts of the world. But everywhere else on Earth the
geo-ablative ejecta has decomposed to become soils. And the patterns of
movement, and flow, in the emplacement event are no longer legible. So
the melt has become indistinguishable from ordinary volcanic tuff.

This is where the fledgling science of Fluid Mechanics comes into its
own, and takes flight. The ability to read the fluid emplacement motions
of all of the blast effected materials of such an event with such
confidence, and in such detail, makes it a kind of written language, or
choreographic dance chart.

The blast effected materials of the Mexican impact zone can be thought
of as a kind of cipher key, or 'Rosetta Stone', for learning to read the
empirically true, geo-history of the world from the rocks themselves.
And those truths can be tested.

Second Bright Fireball In Ten Days Observed Over Italy

© Ferruccio Zanotti/Italian Meteor and TLE Network 2011

Fireball 2011.02.18_18.23.42 ± 1 U.T.

Just ten days previously another bright fireball was recorded on the night of February 8th:

Bright Fireball Seen Over Italy

Fireball 2011.02.18_18.23.42 ± 1 U.T.

From the station Ferrara TLE Tracker (provisional azimuth: 33 v 16 °)

Full track (J2000)

RA: 212,480

Decl i: 53,430

AR f: 227,357

F decl: 45,525

Transit Duration: 4.24

Duration wake: 0.00

No fragmentation

Flares Number: 1

Max apparent magnitude: -5 ± 0.5

Zenithal magnitude: -9.5 ± 0.5

Meteor shower: SPO

Note: height fireball initial point 15 ° FH 4 °

Spectrum to first order: NO

Color camera: Yes

© Ferruccio Zanotti/Italian Meteor and TLE Network 2011

Fireball 2011.02.18_18.23.42 ± 1 U.T.

FOV and projection of the fireball as if it were a starting point and end point 90 km to 30 km.

U.S. Must Take Space Storm Threat Seriously, Experts Warn

solar flare

An X2.2 flare erupted from the sun's active region 1158 (at lower right) at about 0150 UT or 8:50 pm ET on Feb. 14, 2011.

- Space weather could pose serious problems here on Earth in the
coming years, the chief of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) said Saturday (Feb. 19).

A severe solar storm
has the potential to take down telecommunications and power grids, and
the country needs to work on being better prepared, said NOAA
administrator Jane Lubchenco here at the annual meeting of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science. Lubchenco is also the U.S.
Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.

"This is not a matter of if, it's simply a matter of when and how big,"
Lubchenco said of the potential for a dangerous solar flare. "We have
every reason to expect we're going to be seeing more space weather in
the coming years, and it behooves us to be smart and be prepared."

Ramping Up

The space weather threat is becoming more dire as our sun ramps up
toward its period of solar maximum, predicted for around 2013. Activity
on the sun fluctuates on a roughly 11-year cycle, and our star has been
relatively dormant for a while.

That's clearly starting to change, though, as evidenced by a class X solar flare - the strongest kind - that erupted from the sun Feb. 14.

"I think the events of this week certainly underscore how important it
is for us to be paying attention to space weather and to be prepared to
respond to, and mitigate, potential impacts," Lubchenco said. "As we
enter into a period of enhanced solar activity it seems pretty clear
that we are going to be looking at the possibility of not only more
solar events but also the possibility of some very strong events."

The Feb. 14 flare unleashed a wave of charged particles that streamed
immediately toward Earth, as well as coronal mass ejections, or blobs of
plasma, that took days to arrive here. When they did, they interacted
with Earth's magnetic field to cause geomagnetic storms that wiped out
radio communications in the Western Pacific Ocean and parts of Asia, and
caused airlines to reroute some polar flights to avoid radio outages.

Next Time Could Be Worse

However, experts say we got off fairly lucky with this recent solar storm,
and that future eruptions could cause worse damage, particularly to the
sensitive transformers and capacitors in power grids. If some of these
were harmed, there could be power outages for days, weeks, months, or
even, in the case of severe damage, years, experts warned.

"It turned out that we were quite well protected this time, so not much
happened," said European Space Agency scientist Juha-Pekka Luntama. "In
another case things might have been different."

Space weather hasn't posed quite such a threat before, because during
the last solar maximum, around 10 years ago, the world wasn't as
dependent on satellite telecommunications, cell phones and global
positioning system (GPS) - all technologies that could be disrupted by
solar flares.

"Many things we take for granted today are so much more prone to the
effects of space weather than was the case during the last maximum,"
Lubchenco said. The problem is likely to get even worse as the world
could likely become more technologically dependent by the time the next
solar maximum rolls around, and the next.

Slightly Scary

Other experts agree that the risk must be addressed.

"It is slightly scary, and I think properly so," said John Beddington,
the U.K. government's chief scientific adviser. "We've got to be scared
by these events otherwise we will not take them seriously."

He and other European officials said the world needs greater international cooperation to meet the threat of dangerous space weather.

"There are few emergency scenarios today that require such close
cooperation across the Atlantic as a geomagnetic storm," said Helena
Lindberg, director general for the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency

We have an "urgent need to start sharing expertise and connecting our
systems for warning and for response," Lindberg said. "This cooperation
has to be put in place before a disaster hits."

Despite the risk, though, some experts stressed that there's reason to be optimistic. There is work being done to improve our ability to forecast solar storms in advance, equip more satellites with radiation shielding and fortify power grids with resilient transformers and capacitors.

"Please don't panic," said Stephan Lechner of the Institute for the
Protection and Security of the Citizen at the European Commission's
Joint Research Centre. "Please don't leave the room and tell everybody
that space weather will kill us tomorrow."

US: Astronomers Investigating Meteor-Like Object Over Colorado

Denver - No one is exactly sure what it was, but many people saw it on Tuesday.

9NEWS started receiving reports of a bright light in the sky over
Colorado around 6 p.m. Tuesday. The description of what people saw and
the location in the sky varies, but it was seen be numerous people along
the Front Range.

Jenny Murphy described it on the 9NEWS Facebook page as "a meteor just
north of Lafayette! Reddish with a purple hue from my angle."

Kelly O'Hara Buccino said, "I saw it driving home, it looked like a fire
cracker... blue light with green sparkles... it was crazy!"

9NEWS has received reports that the object was possibly a
meteor or even a NASA rocket, but those reports cannot be confirmed at
this time.

Astronomers tell 9NEWS that a meteor shower was not expected Tuesday
evening. Stargazers are investigating, checking in with their networks
of telescopes in hopes of identifying the object.

If you have a picture of the object, you can send it to here.

Asteroid's Record-Breaking Brush with Earth Changed It Forever

asteroid 2011 CQ1

NASA graphic depicts the new flight path and trajectory of asteroid
2011 CQ1 after its Feb. 4, 2011 encounter with Earth. The tiny asteroid
flew within 3,400 miles (5,471 kilometers) of Earth – a new record.

A tiny asteroid that zipped by Earth this month made the
closest-ever approach to our planet without hitting it, an encounter
that changed its place in our solar system forever, NASA scientists say.

The asteroid, called 2011 CQ1, came within 3,400 miles (5,471
kilometers) of Earth on Feb. 4. Astronomers with NASA's Near-Earth
Object office now say the flyby set a record for a space rock.

"This object, only about 1 meter in diameter, is the closest
non-impacting object in our asteroid catalog to date," wrote astronomers
Don Yeomans and Paul Chodas in a post-flyby analysis. Both scientists
work in the NEO office, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena,

Asteroid 2011 CQ1
was discovered only 14 hours before its close approach, which occurred
over the mid-Pacific Ocean, but it never posed a threat to the planet
because of its small size: 4 feet (1.3 meters) wide. Had it entered
Earth's atmosphere, it would have broken apart before reaching the
ground, NASA scientists said.

Record-setting asteroid encounter

The asteroid's flyby of Earth has changed its orbit, according to Yeomans and Chodas.

Before its Earth encounter, asteroid 2011 CQ1 was one of the solar
system's so-called Apollo-class asteroids, whose orbits around the sun
are mostly outside the orbit of Earth.

But during the Feb. 4 flyby, Earth's gravitational pull warped the
flight path of 2011 CQ1. Now the asteroid will spend "almost all of its
time inside the Earth's orbit" in what scientists call an Aten-class
orbit, explained Yeomans and Chodas.

The Earth's gravity pulled asteroid 2011 CQ1 about 60 degrees off its original flight path, they added.

February's asteroid flybys

Asteroid 2011 CQ1 was the first of two asteroids to zip past Earth within a span of six days. Another space rock - the car-size asteroid 2011 CA7 - came within 64,300 miles (103,480 km) of Earth when it passed by on Feb. 9.

Astronomer Richard A. Kowalski of the Catalina Sky Survey discovered
asteroid 2011 CQ1 just before its flyby, and scientists at Remanzacco
Observatory in Italy snapped a photo of the object ahead of the close

NASA and other scientists monitor the skies for asteroids or comets with
orbits that cross that of the Earth in order to track near-Earth
objects that could pose an impact threat to our planet. Tiny asteroids
like 2011 CQ1 are difficult to spot but pose no threat to Earth.

"There is likely to be nearly a billion objects of this size and larger
in near-Earth space, and one would expect one to strike Earth's
atmosphere every few weeks on average," Yeomans and Chodas wrote. "Upon
striking the atmosphere, small objects of this size create visually
impressive fireball events but only rarely do even a few small fragments
reach the ground."

US: Sightings of a Fireball Streaking Across Southern California

© Getty Image

you see it? (We didn't. The photo is from the Getty archives. We were
at the Encino Neighborhood Council meeting when this happened.)

Local residents have been reporting a bright, white streak in the sky
that lasted no more than five seconds. Here are a few of the described
sightings sent to our e-mail and posted to the American Meteor Society's Fireball Sighting Log:

"I was driving south on the 405 Freeway around 8:10 p.m. I saw a white
streak of light and then a reddish-orange flameout of some sort of
meteor. This all lasted about 3 seconds. It was traveling north to south
and was on the right (West Side) of the freeway. When I saw it the
light, it was just visible over the hill where the homes are on the top
of the hill at Mountain Gate. Checking the Internet, see here, other people had seen this streak of light and reported it." - Michael Martin, Sherman Oaks, to Encino Patch.

"I was driving southbound on I-110 at approximately 60-65 mph. I
first saw it in the sky above the trees just south of the I-110 I-105
interchange. It then descended into the trees straight down. It's was a
bright white, slightly tinted ball of light. I was tracking it while
driving. I noted that it was before the El Segundo exit and west of the
freeway. It wasn't descending really fast." - Rex Tjoa, Los Angeles, to
American Meteor Society

"It was moving much slower than a shooting star and going straight down,
it appeared to me. It was bigger than any planet or star in our galaxy
that I've seen. About two-thirds of the way through its "flight" (or at
least the portion I saw), it burst into flames. Serious yellow flames
trailing behind it. I can't be positive but I thought the flames burned
out and then I saw more of the meteor (just a white ball) afterward. Of
course, "it all happened so fast." But it was definitely the most
amazing astronomical event I've ever seen. And as a 52-year-old,
well-educated woman, I've seen enough to know this can't compare to
anything else. I was just 50 feet down the street from my house and I
came bursting in the door shouting, "Where do I report a meteor?" That's
how amazing it was." - Cherie Phoenix, Thousand Oaks, to AMS

Meteorites Illuminate Mystery of Chromium in Earth's Core

Earth's Interior
© Universe Today

It's generally assumed that the Earth's overall composition is
similar to that of chondritic meteorites, the primitive,
undifferentiated building blocks of the solar system. But a new study in
Science Express led by Frederic Moynier, of the University of California at Davis, seems to suggest that Earth is a bit of an oddball.

Moynier and his colleagues analyzed the isotope signature of chromium in
a variety of meteorites, and found that it differed from chromium's
signature in the mantle.

Chondritic Meteorite

Thin section of a chondritic meteorite.

"We show through high-precision measurements of Cr stable isotopes
in a range of meteorites, which deviate by up to ~0.4‰ from the bulk
silicate Earth, that Cr depletion resulted from its partitioning into
Earth's core with a preferential enrichment in light isotopes," the
authors write. "Ab-initio calculations suggest that the isotopic
signature was established at mid-mantle magma ocean depth as Earth
accreted planetary embryos and progressively became more oxidized."

Chromium’s origins
© Science/AAAS

origins. New evidence suggests that, in the early solar nebula (A),
chromium isotopes were divided into two components, one containing light
isotopes, the other heavy isotopes. In the early Earth (B), these
components formed a homogeneous mixture. During core partitioning (C),
the core became enriched with lighter chromium isotopes, and the mantle
with heavier isotopes.

The results point to a process known as "core partitioning," rather
than an alternative process involving the volatilization of certain
chromium isotopes so that they would have escaped from the Earth's
mantle. Core partitioning took place early on Earth at high
temperatures, when the core separated from the silicate earth, leaving
the core with a distinct composition that is enriched with lighter
chromium isotopes, notes William McDonough, from the University of
Maryland at College Park, in an accompanying Perspective piece.

McDonough writes that chromium, Earth's 10th most abundant element, is
named for the Greek word for color and "adds green to emeralds, red to
rubies, brilliance to plated metals, and corrosion-proof quality to
stainless steels." It is distributed roughly equally throughout the

He says the new result "adds another investigative tool for
understanding and documenting past and present planetary processes. For
the cosmochemistry and meteoritics communities, the findings further
bolster the view that the solar nebula was a heterogeneous mixture of
different components."

Source: Science. The McDonough paper will be published online today by the journal Science, at the Science Express website.

Major Impact Soon: British MP says, "We're living in a bowling alley"

hope you will excuse my cynicism but there is something quite
remarkable about this interview with Lembit Opik, the Liberal Democrat
Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire. You will not find one single
trace of political gobbledegook or point scoring.

What you will find are the thoughts and feelings of an individual who
passionately believes in what he is trying to achieve. This is a brave
man carrying a message that no one wants to hear and he is prepared to
take the brickbats and mocking that inevitably accompany such a message.

What other tribute could I possibly offer, aside from accusing him of
also being a very warm, approachable human being, other than to say that
I only wish he was my Lembit Opik MP...

Lembit is the leading voice in the UK on asteroids and the little matter
of one of them smacking into us, probably sooner rather than later. And
one of those bits of rock doesn't have to be particularly large in
order to cause immense devastation and loss of life. Or rather, let me
put it this way. If on Christmas day last year I had told you that a
giant wave would sweep across south East Asia, hit land and cause the
loss of 220,000 lives (so far), you would not have believed me. There's
no argument - you wouldn't have believed me. The next day it happened.

We need to wake up rapidly and do something.

SM: You are very well known for your interest in near earth objects. How long has it been a subject of interest to you?

LO: 33 years.

SM: Is this as a result of your grandfather?

LO: I would say that I started taking a
very significant interest in meteors, comets and so forth when I was
about 6 because, as you said, directly as a result of the influence of
my grandfather. So I was reading astronomy books when most people were
reading "Janet and John". That was probably the very early 1970s and I
actually converted that into a practical interest in the sense of doing
something about it in 1998 when I first raised it in the Houses of

SM: Was it that Horizon programme that triggered your interest?

LO: The practical trigger to action was a
chance meeting with a man called J. Tate who is Director of Spacegaurd
UK, at a meeting of the Shropshire Astronomical Society. He was making a
presentation about Spacegaurd's work and was explaining that the odds
were stacked in favour of an impact and he went on to describe the
colossal damage that these objects would do.

He explained furthermore that there was something we could do to prevent
them by tracking them and finding ways to divert or to prevent an
impact from occurring if we had enough notice.

That was in 1998 and at that point I spoke with J and since the science
was absolutely cast iron, we had the evidence to turn this into a
political matter of investment by the Government and I got my
adjournment debate in March 1999. But it was the meeting with J. Tate
that finally kicked me into political action.

Then I really decided to carry on in the political sphere, as my
grandfather had done in the astronomical sphere. He spoke about the
threat and danger of impact long before it was fashionable to do so,
even in the astronomical world in the 1950s for example.

The Horizon programme was about the Chicxulub impact which
wiped out the dinosaurs, probably, and it was fortuitous timing because
it came out at just about the time I was trying to get this issue on to
the political map. I like to think there are some other programmes that
have been prompted by the campaign that we have run because everyone now
knows about asteroid impacts and I'm not so sure that would have
happened had we not turned it into a political issue.

SM: I would imagine that you find the whole process of dealing with the UK government on this subject incredibly frustrating.

LO: It is, it's very difficult to get the
British Government to act on it and I can understand why. On the face of
it, this sounds like cranky science fiction. It sounds like a case of
an Ed Wood 1950s B movie. That's because the idea of a catastrophic impact by a celestial body has not got any bearing on recent Human experience. There
are maybe echoes of previous impacts in the cultural legends of the
Human race but there hasn't been a catastrophic impact leading to a
major loss of life in recent times.

So, since politics lives in the present and the future more than in the
past, it's not surprising that politicians have said, "Well, this seems
too small of a risk for us to take seriously."

SM: Do you think that one of the positive
benefits, if one can use such a phrase in relation to the tsunami in
south East Asia is that Mankind is vulnerable to major natural disasters
and do you think there is a chance that this might actually wake some
people up?

LO: Yes, I agree. I'm pretty sure that the
tsunami has been something of a geological wake up call to World
governments and until last Christmas, December 26th 2004, the word
"tsunami" sounded like a foreign phrase. Now it sounds like a
catastrophe. It's just reminded a lot of people about the power of
nature and crucially, it's caused people to make the calculation about
prevention versus cure. It's perfectly obvious that the benefit of
prevention of loss of life would have far exceeded the cost of having an
early warning system. Exactly the same applies to asteroids. What I
worry about is this; do we have to have a significant impact before
people think, "Oh, we need to have an early warning system after all"
which is exactly what has happened with the tsunami.

To the British Government's credit, they did take my advice and
commissioned a Near Earth Object task group to look into the danger and
to report back. The task group, not surprisingly, confirmed everything
I'd been claiming. For example, the statistic which has chilled many
people is that you are 750 times more likely to die as a result of an
asteroid impact than you are to win the National Lottery. Suddenly the
statistics have come into the grasp of the general public. Some people
do win the National Lottery! To use the National Lottery phrase, "It
could happen to you".

So we're winning the public debate but the government, having
commissioned a report and having received a list of 14 recommendations
for action, have only actually acted on a tiny number of them. I think
there's maybe one that's been completed, a couple are work in progress
and some haven't been touched at all.

SM: Obviously the 14 recommendations
involve expenditure. Is there this feeling that the government aren't
bothered because NASA has supposedly got it covered?

LO: To an extent I think the British would
like to leave it to the Americans but I think there's a bigger problem
here, and it's this. The government subconsciously make their
calculation that even if their own task group recommends 14 action
steps, they themselves don't need to carry them out because somehow,
psychologically, they still feel far away from the danger and the

But I also think there's a political fear here in that if they invest
money on a tracking programme they will get criticised by opposition
parties for wasting tax payer's money on a Mickey Mouse - Flash Gordon

SM: So there's still a problem about being taken seriously?

LO: I think there is because there are contradictions in how the government approaches risk. They're
willing to impose all kinds of incredibly strict regulations on farming
to try and eliminate miniscule health dangers but they stand by doing
very little about a potentially Armageddon type impact which in
actuarial terms stands to kill far more people than CJD, BSE, food
poisoning and phosphates put together.
Therefore it's not joined up thinking about risk management, which is causing the problem.

SM: Do you attach any responsibility or blame if I can use that word to Lord Sainsbury for this?

LO: I don't actually in the sense that
Lord Sainsbury has been more pro-active than just about anybody else in
government. He took the risk of commissioning the report, admittedly on
my advice but he was the guy in the front line. He also has met on a
number of occasions with me and others to consider the issue. And in
fairness, he has caused the release of significant amounts of money to
the British National Space Centre to provide an information service to
the general public about this issue.

So, while I would like Lord Sainsbury to pro-actively lobby the Prime
Minister to raise this as part of the next G8 agenda, I don't hold him
responsible for inaction because had it not been for his willingness to
take a risk personally, we wouldn't have got this far.

So actually I think he's one of the heroes of the piece. I think a fear
of falling is the greatest culprit. There's a mixed up risk management
strategy by this government. They are willing to
commit us to a questionable war in Iraq but they're resistant to making a
small investment with the other G8 countries on a dead certified Earth
threatening risk.

SM: It's weird logic.

LO: It is. We're off to fight a war in Iraq on the basis of imaginary weapons of mass destruction. They're
willing to do nothing in the face of a guaranteed weapon of mass
destruction which already has Earth's name written all over it and which
we haven't yet identified.

SM: Is there any consensus at the moment about the best way of dealing with an asteroid that's hurtling towards us?

LO: No. There are various options from a
nuclear detonation to using a rocket as a tug, to encasing the object in
a big cosmic bin bag and towing it out of harms way. There are two
problems. We don't know for sure what these things are made of and Deep
Impact will help us a lot in our understanding of what comets are like
and whether they are one single, solid object or whether they are like
an ashtray held together by very week gravity. We need to know the
answer to that before we can be sure what to do.

Secondly, there hasn't been enough work done on deflection processes but
ironically, one of the best lines of approach of investigation is the
American Star Wars programme, from which Deep Impact itself was spawned.

SM: That's a very weird programme. There are all sorts of theories that have been spawned about that.

LO: The principle is the same because in
both cases one is trying to intercept a small very fast moving object
from a great distance and one needs a very high degree of reliability in
achieving that kind of contact. Interestingly, although there
are many flaws in the "Armageddon" and "Deep Impact" films, at the very,
very most basic level the general idea was right. You have to intercept
and divert these objects.

SM: How deeply involved are you with Spaceguard?

LO: You're probably best to ask Spaceguard
that but I feel closely connected to the key players and I feel they
have helped me in this campaign more than I can say in words. Had it not
been for J. Tate, I would probably not have raised it in Parliament and
furthermore, had it not been for J. Tate's continuing, ceaseless
efforts to keep this on the political map, together with the likes of
Mark Bailey from Armagh Observatory, Bill Napier from there and a number
of other people from around the country, then this subject would go off
the radar. It's thanks to them it's on the radar and in many ways I
regard myself as their political servant to raise it in those circles
when I can, when they feel it's appropriate for me to do so or when the
opportunities arise.

In terms of my own commitment, I want to see this to a conclusion. I
define success as whenever I get the British Government to agree an
accord with the other seven G8 countries to invest perhaps a million
pounds a year each in a tracking programme, which should track nine
tenths of the objects that could potentially threaten the Earth.

As the campaign began, Spaceguard, by coincidence, moved to a location
about 12 miles from my constituency. They're based at the observatory at

SM: Have you ever been laughed at or mocked for your views?

LO: Oh yes. When I first started, an
unusually large number of people turned up for the original debate
because they thought I was writing a cosmic suicide note on my political
career. And there was sniggering and laughing, and I made it worse by
starting with the phrase, "Mr. Deputy Speaker, I've got a problem with
asteroids". Of course, every Smart Alec in Britain decided to send me
some kind of ointment.

By the end of the speech, when I'd explained that the dinosaurs
were probably wiped out by an asteroid and that the earth had suffered
cataclysmic events many times in its past, that the Earth had indeed
been created by a series of bombardments from space in the early days of
the solar system and that the moon itself was the result of an earth
sterilising and melting event about 3,900 million years ago, when I told
them about the fact that the Earth is continually hit by fifty thousand
tons of space debris every year and that the most recent time an object
large enough to incinerate London hit the Earth on 30th June 1908, they
weren't laughing at the end of it.

I went into this knowing that it would be a hard sell and that people
would laugh, but so sure have I been of the science that I knew that the
facts would run out in the end, and that is exactly what has come to

SM: Given that the British government is
dragging its feet on this at the moment, what advice would you give to
members of the public who are concerned about this subject in terms of
what they can do?

LO: My request is always the same, and
it's this; please, please, please write to your member of parliament and
ask them in your own words to get the government to take action on
this, and request a reply to your letter. Sometimes they will ask me
about it, MPs from all parties come and ask me about it and that's fine
because I can provide them with the kind of information they need to see
that this is science fact, not science fiction.

But more than anything, if MPs are getting letters from their
constituents, then they'll understand this is an issue on the political
radar. And the more letters they get, the more likely it is that they
will act. That's all I ask. It would just help me so much, that people
who are concerned about this put pen to paper and send their letters of
concern to their MPs. I can do the rest then.

I'm absolutely sure there is going to be a significant impact at some point in the next few years. There just is.

SM: One frustrating thing is that NASA scientists are constantly being criticised for crying wolf.

LO: That's true but I must be honest and
say that it's in our interests to have these claims that objects are
coming close because it raises the ante. Sometimes these objects
are leaving the Earth's environment before we even spot them. There was
one 300 metre object that actually travelled between the moon and the
Now had that hit us that would have incinerated Asia or
Europe. And that's the problem. We're living in a ten pin bowling alley
where these things are the balls and we're one of the pins.

So I don't mind a little bit of sensationalism because frankly, no
measure of media sensationalism would really prepare people for the
calamity of an impact. J. Tate isn't so keen on that, he thinks the
sensationalism isn't so good but, from a political point of view, it
helps because it keeps the subject in front of the public. The politics
of fear sent men to the moon. It's a sad thing. I'd love there to be a positive dynamic here but frankly if it's fear we have too use, so be it.

Comment: Did you notice the politician's
surprise that an asteroid "actually travelled between the moon and the
Earth" early in the last decade?

That has happened multiple times since then. Just three weeks ago
a rock came as close to Earth as it could have done being pulled into
our atmosphere; the planet's gravity instead changed the rock's
direction by nearly 90 degrees.

It is highly unlikely that world leaders at the highest level are not
aware of the threat of a meteorite impact. We have been suggesting that
they ARE aware, and have been for a very long time. The reader might
wish to peruse Laura Knight-Jadczyk's Comets and Catastrophe series.
They are also aware that they cannot do anything to prevent impacts
such as those described in the above article. And so, they marginalize
the subject and feign disinterest all the while they are making their
own preparations to survive.

There is much evidence to strongly suggest that much of the landmass of Western Europe was destroyed in an meteorite impact
around 540 AD, ushering in what is known today as "the dark ages".
Further evidence from the study of fossilised tree rings and ice core
samples, not to mention historical records, suggests that this most
recent event was but one of many events that have happened in a cyclical
pattern throughout the course of human history.

As far as we know, no human has ever got out of this place "alive".
Perhaps now that the Universe, by posing a clear and present danger to
our very existence, is drawing attention to that existence, we might all
begin, even at this late hour, to ponder just what the real meaning of
our lives, individually and collectively, really is.

Comet Spiral Russia February 26, 2011

A recent sighting of another strange object over Severodvinsk Russia captured February 26, 2011.

comet,russia,feb, 26,2011

Top Ten Meteor Video Captures

Fires from beneath, and meteors from above,

Portentous, unexampled, unexplained,

Have kindled beacons in the skies; and the old

And crazy earth has had her shaking fits

More frequent, and foregone her usual rest.

Is it a time to wrangle, when the props

And pillars of our planet seem to fail,

And nature, with a dim and sickly eye,

To wait the close of all?

~ 'The Time-Piece,' Task, Book ii, lines 58-66. William Cowper

Just another asteroid hurtling toward Earth ...

Hollywood hype aside, close encounters of a rocky kind are fairly
common. But they're fascinating to local scientists who want to learn
how it all began, and maybe fend off armageddon.

© Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Francesca DeMeo, an MIT postdoctoral researcher, records asteroid movements from her lab in Cambridge.

4:33 a.m. on a recent Friday, Timothy Spahr was startled awake by a
beep from his cellphone: A text message alerted him that a rocky object
was hurtling toward Earth. He told his wife it was "some asteroid
thing'' and went to check his computer.

In Hollywood, this would be the opening scene to a doomsday movie. But
for Spahr, director of the Minor Planet Center at the
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, it is just another day.
About once a month, an object on a potential crash course with Earth
disturbs his slumber.

They almost always miss - and this time was no different. The asteroid
was just a few feet across and on track to miss by about 11,000 miles.
He sent a note to contacts at NASA and posted information about it

People have long been fascinated by the threat of apocalypse by asteroid, as depicted in movies such as the 1998 film Armageddon and 1979's Meteor, which was inspired by an MIT student project to create a plan to avoid a theoretical collision.

The screenplays are fictional, and the threat is improbable.

Comment: A gross understatement, we have to add.

Still, a small group of local scientists catalogs and tracks
"near-Earth objects'' - asteroids and comets - that could be
hazardous. Astronomers are intensely interested in these rocks and ice
flying by for basic scientific reasons, too - to learn about the
origins of our solar system.

Asteroids are essentially ancient chunks of scrap orbiting the sun -
un assembled building blocks that never mashed together to form planets.
(A meteor is the light created when a small object enters the
atmosphere.) They have become of such interest that President Obama
announced a plan last year to land astronauts on one by 2025 as a way of
pushing manned spaceflight to unexplored scientific targets that are
farther away than the moon.

"We can understand better what are the conditions . . . what were the
basic ingredients that built the planets,'' said Richard Binzel, a
professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who studies what
asteroids are made of - and which ones might be scientifically
interesting destinations. "But the even more exciting question is, what
were the raw ingredients that allowed life to come about on Earth

To answer those basic questions, scientists are learning as much as they
can from ground observations. On a Sunday morning earlier this month,
postdoctoral researcher Francesca DeMeo directed the movements of a
telescope atop Mauna Kea in Hawaii from an MIT lab hung with festive
foam meteorites. She talked with a telescope operator over a live video
link and took measurements that will help her better understand the
diverse makeup of asteroids, which can range from light chunks of carbon
to solid iron.

In a Cambridge office park about five miles away, Spahr called his team
the "nerve center'' for all observations of near-Earth objects,
collecting sightings from telescopes around the world that arrive by
e-mail. The Minor Planet Center, funded by NASA, receives up to 50,000
observations a day - some of nearby asteroids, but many that turn out
to be in the main asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars.

Often, these are repeated sightings of the same object - measurements
that allow scientists to more precisely calculate its projected path.
Those are shared with NASA, which calculates asteroid trajectories for
the next century.

Other researchers, at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, hunt
asteroids utilizing techniques initially developed to help the Air Force
detect satellites.

The Earth and the moon are pocked with the craters of long-ago
collisions, but Binzel, a member of the Ad Hoc Task Force on Planetary
Defense, a NASA advisory council, noted that asteroids were not always a
topic of much scientific interest. He wrote his first paper on
asteroids as a teenager in 1974, using a backyard telescope. Then, they
were the "vermin of the sky,'' he said - drawing astronomers'
annoyance because of the blurry streaks they left on long-exposure
pictures of the night sky.

Gradually, interest in the area grew. In the late 1980s, scientists
proposed that a giant asteroid or comet impact killed off the dinosaurs.
In 1994 fragments of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter.

"That was a wake-up call,'' said Grant Stokes, head of the aerospace
division at Lincoln Laboratory, which searches for asteroids and comets
through its LINEAR program. "It was kind of a reminder that in our
lifetime in our solar system, one of our neighbors does get hit by
things that are pretty big.''

Now, there are congressional mandates to catalog potentially dangerous
near-Earth asteroids, and there are committees that mull over what to do
if a threat is discovered.

Most asteroids sit in the main asteroid belt. But others are in orbits
that come close to Earth, and every day the planet's atmosphere is
pelted with small stuff, from 1,000 tons of dust a day to car-size
objects about once a year. Most vaporize in the atmosphere, but
occasionally one hits the ground. In October 2008, Spahr alerted NASA
that a very small object would strike Sudan within 21 hours. It exploded
in the atmosphere above the desert - where and when he predicted.

Congress has directed scientists to find 90 percent of the near-Earth
objects more than two-thirds of a mile in diameter, big enough to affect
the global climate if they hit. As of the end of January, 822 of the
estimated 1,000 nearby asteroids in that size range had been discovered.
Scientists have also been tasked with finding 90 percent of those that
are more than 460 feet in diameter, which could cause major regional

"If we find them 10 to 20 years in advance of a threatening encounter,
we can do something about them - run a spacecraft into them to slow
them down so in 10 to 20 years they miss the Earth,'' said Donald
Yeomans, head of NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office.

Such sci-fi ideas spark the imagination, but everyone who works in the
field says you are far more likely to die driving home from work than
from an asteroid impact.

Comment: We really hate to burst Yeomans'
unrealistically optimistic bubble, but the chances of experiencing
potentially harmful to human life impact increase with each passing day.
Unfortunately, we don't have 10 to 20 years of prior warning anymore.
Let's hope that we will have more than 4 seconds.

"We have one of these problems I call a zero times infinity problem,''
said Irwin Shapiro, a Harvard professor who chaired a National Research
Council committee on near-Earth objects and hazard mitigation
strategies. "Something is very unlikely to happen, but if it were to
happen it would be extraordinarily important.''

Carolyn Y. Johnson can be reached at cjohnson@globe.com.

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