COMET'S COURSE HINTS AT MYSTERY
The giant comet, known as 2000 CR105, measures some 400 kilometers across.
Current wisdom holds that they have been scattered into their eccentric
trajectories by the gravitational pull of a giant planet, probably Neptune. If
so, basic orbital mechanics dictates that these "scattered disk objects" should
swing nearest the sun at perihelion points close to Neptune's orbit, some 4.5
billion kilometers from the sun. But comet 2000 CR105, first discovered in
February 2000, doesn't follow this script.
The most exciting possibility is that a planet-sized body still hides in the
outer solar system. "A Mars-sized body [at an average distance of some 15
billion kilometers] could scatter a body like 2000 CR105 to its present orbit,"
Gladman and his colleagues write in their Icarus paper. Unlike Mars, the
would consist mainly of ice. Because its high mass would protect it from orbital
disruptions, the astronomers say, it could still be around.
Vulcan is about 150 earth masses, but currently about 41 billion miles away,
and comet swarms passing through the
inner solar system with some hitting the earth indicate that it is still
"Large or small, astronomers agree that whatever nudged 2000 CR105 into its
large, distant orbit is bound to have done the same to other TNOs. "Finding more
would give us a better idea of how they got there," Levison says.
A COMET'S ODD ORBIT HINTS AT HIDDEN
Such an oblong orbit is usually a sign that an object has come under the
gravitational influence of a massive body.
IS THERE A LARGE PLANET ORBITING BEYOND NEPTUNE?
The team also suggests that the perturbation of 2000 CR105 could be caused by a
"resident planet" of a size somewhere between our Moon and Mars that formed in
these outer regions well beyond the orbit of Pluto a distance of 10 billion
kilometers from the sun.
WHEN COMETS BREAK APART
The unexpected breakup of comets, some at considerable distances from the Sun,
has long baffled comet researchers. Marsden wrote: "Although most of the comets
observed to split have done so for no obvious reason, one really does require an
explanation when the velocity of separation is some 20% of the velocity of the
comet itself! A collision with some asteroidal object at 200 A.U. from the sun,
and 100 A.U. above the ecliptic plane, even though it would only have to happen
once, is scarcely worthy of serious consideration".
Vulcan's semi-major axis is about 200 A.U. and is inclined about 48 degrees
to the ecliptic.
SCENARIOS FOR THE ORIGIN OF THE ORBITS OF THE TRANS-NEPTUNIAN OBJECTS 2000 CR105
AND 2003 VB12 - 15 Mar 2004
In this paper we explore four seemingly promising mechanisms for explaining the
origin of the orbit of this peculiar object: (i) the passage of Neptune through
a high-eccentricity phase, (ii) the past existence of massive planetary embryos
in the Kuiper belt or the scattered disk, (iii) the presence of a massive trans-
Neptunian disk at early epochs which exerted tides on scattered disk objects,
and (iv) encounters with other stars. Of all these mechanisms, the only one
giving satisfactory results is the passage of a star. Indeed, our simulations
show that the passage of a solar mass star at about 800 AU only perturbs objects
with semi-major axes larger than roughly 200 AU to large perihelion distances.
2000 CR105 Comet Like Orbit
The comet known as 2000 CR105 is the second most distant known object in the
solar system and circles the sun in a highly eccentric orbit every 3175
years at an average distance of 224 AU.
One theory states that they were pulled from their original
positions by a passing star or a very distant and undiscovered giant
This comet tends to verify Vulcan's existence. Vulcan's aphelion is
close to 448 AU, and the comet swarms are believed to form at a nominal aphelion
444 AU with a therotical 3314.7 +/- 18.3 -year period (from impact data
3332.6 +/- 119 -year period).
PERIHELION 76 AU, APHELION 990 AU, PERIOD 12300 YEARS: THE FIRST BODY RESIDING
IN THE OORT CLOUD?
2003 VB12 stays way outside the Kuiper Belt at all times / Red color, high
albedo, diameter 1300 to 1800 km / Could be the first of many such objects at
the inner edge of the Oort cloud
OORT CLOUD & SOL b?
Although inclined by only around 11.9 degrees from the ecliptic where the eight
major planets orbit, Sedna's distant orbit is extremely elliptical indicating
that its formation and orbit may have been influenced by by a passing nearby
star during the early years of the Solar System, when Sol formed out of a
molecular cloud with many other close by stars around 4.6 billion years ago.
Like 2000 CR105, Sedna may have been perturbed by a Solar-mass star at around
800 AUs from Sol more than 100 million years after its birth, given today's
observed numbers of Oort Cloud comets. Hence, 2000 CR105 and Sedna are less
likely to be members of the scattered disk that had their perihelion distances
"increased by chaotic diffusion" or the result of other hypotheses
THE DARK STAR: Could the reason why we are
finding more and more evidence for its existence be that it really does
"The researchers thought up another improbable scenario that managed to explain
Sedna´s orbit remarkably well. Sedna could have been born around a brown dwarf
about 20 times less massive than the Sun and captured by our Solar System when
the brown dwarf approached. "What´s striking about this idea is how efficient it
is," says Levison, whose calculations suggest about half of the material
orbiting the dwarf would have gone into orbit around the Sun.
THE DEEP ECLIPTIC SURVEY
Exploring the outer solar system in search of trans-Neptunian objects
NATURAL CATASTROPHES DURING BRONZE AGE CIVILISATIONS
The final paper in the section on archaeology, geology and climatology
is by Euan MacKie, who begins by warning that astronomers will have to
produce clear evidence of comet swarms or the likelihood of large
impacts at specific dates before most archaeologists will be willing to
re-examine their data with this in mind.
NEW 'MOON' FOUND AROUND EARTH
It was soon realized, however, that far from passing us, it was in fact in a 50-
day orbit around the Earth. The American Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
California, says it must have just arrived or it would have been easily
detected long ago.
MAJOR NEWS ABOUT MINOR OBJECTS
LIST OF TRANSNEPTUNIAN OBJECTS
HUGE ROCK-ICE BODY CIRCLES SUN
It is in a so-called resonance orbit with Neptune. This means that it
completes two orbits of the Sun for every three completed by the eighth
planet. Such orbits are stable as they allow the object to approach
Neptune's orbit without any possibility of collision. Pluto, currently the most
distant true planet, is in such an orbit. Since the first Kuiper Belt Object was
discovered in 1992, several hundred have been found, and many of them are in the
Neptune resonance condition, too.
A surprising fraction - 40 % - of Kuiper Belt objects have orbital periods close
to Pluto's. 246 years is 3/2 of Neptune's period of 164 years and is a stable
resonance that allows the object to avoid being perturbed by Neptune. In the
asteroid belt, similarly, there are gaps where Jupiter would have 2, 5/2, or 3
times the asteroid's period but a cluster of asteroids where Jupiter has 3/2 the
CASSINI PICTURES SPONGY HYPERION
Much of the interior of Hyperion is empty space, suggesting it is little more
than a pile of space rubble. Like a Kuiper Belt object.
THE KUIPER BELT AND THE OORT CLOUD
Several Kuiper Belt objects have been discovered recently including 1992 QB1 and
1993 SC (above). They appear to be small icy bodies similar to Pluto and Triton
(but smaller). There are more than 300 known trans-Neptunian objects (as of mid
2000); see the MPC's list. Many orbit in 3:2 resonance with Neptune (as does
Pluto). Color measurements of some of the brightest have shown that they are
LIST OF CENTAURS AND SCATTERED-DISK OBJECTS
RECENT RESEARCH - Kuiper Belt Objects
SCIENTISTS FIND NEW PLANET BEYOND ORBIT OF NEPTUNE - 5 June 1997
Astronomers have discovered a mini-planet at the edge of the solar
system which may change our thinking on how the planets evolved.
More than 300 miles in diameter, the planetesimal is the brightest
object to be found beyond the orbit of Neptune since the discovery
of Pluto in 1930. Given the designation 1996TL66, the new object is probably
many, according to its discoverers.
ASTRONOMERS FIND DISTANT 'DOUBLE
PLANET' - 19 April 2001
In January, astronomers attempted to find a specific object among this ring
of comet-like objects. This body, designated 1998 WW 31, was first seen a
few years ago.
(5) PLUTO HAS BIG SHINY COLLEAGUE - 29 May 2001
Varuna has a diameter of 900 km, Jewitt's team also calculates. This makes
it the third largest known KBO, after Pluto (2,200 km) and Charon (1,200
TWO NEW MOONS FOUND AROUND PLUTO
If confirmed, it would bring Pluto's tally of satellites to three; Charon, the
only known moon of Pluto, was discovered by astronomers in 1978.
Confirmation of two new moons would shed light on the evolution of the Kuiper
Belt, the vast region containing icy objects beyond Neptune's orbit.
All the candidate moons seem to orbit Pluto in an anti-clockwise direction.
PLUTO GETS MORE COMPETITION- 28 August 2001
In this schematic diagram the relative sizes of the largest Kuiper Belt Objects
(KBO) are illustrated. The newly discovered object, 2001 KX76 (diameter about
1200 km), is the largest known KBO and is even larger than Pluto's moon, Charon.
For comparison Pluto's diameter is about 2300 km. (INCLUDES 1996TO66 which
could be) 1996 TL66
LARGE WORLD FOUND NEAR PLUTO - 30 July 2001
Only planets are larger than this new object, dubbed 2001 KX76.
The icy, reddish world is over a thousand kilometres across and astronomers say
there may be even larger objects, bigger than planet Pluto itself, awaiting
discovery. 2001 KX76 could be as large as 1,270 km (788 miles) across, bigger
than Ceres, the largest known asteroid (an object that orbits the Sun between
Mars and Jupiter). It is even larger than Pluto's moon Charon, which has an
estimated diameter of 1,200 km (744 miles).
(1) DID PLUTO TAKE A PUNCH? LARGE IMPACT ONLY 100 YEARS AGO?
(8) RE: DID PLUTO TAKE A PUNCH?
STRANGE EVENTS ON DISTANT PLUTO
Although it is receding from the Sun, its atmosphere is getting thicker,
puzzling astronomers who expect it to "freeze-out" and contract in about 10
years. Earth and the other planets are warming from the inside after Vulcan
ANOTHER CANDIDATE FOR "PLANET
X" SPOTTED - 4 December 2000
As of 2000 December 1, the MPC's orbit suggests that this object is 43 times
farther from the Sun than the Earth is, and is presently 42 times farther from
Earth than the Earth is from the Sun. With an apparent magnitude of 20 at those
distances, the object would be the brightest of all 346 known Trans-Neptunian
Objects other than Pluto.
If it has a reflectivity comparable to other minor planets, its
diameter would be between 330 and 750 miles. This can be compared to the
diameters of the largest known asteroid (1) Ceres of 570 miles or (4) Vesta of
320 miles. Pluto is at a distance comparable to that of 2000 WR106, and is 1,470
miles in diameter.
ASTRONOMERS DISCOVER 'NEW
Observations show it is about 2,000 km across and it may even be larger than
Pluto, which is 2,250 km across.
UNIVERSITY TEAM'S THEORY CAUSES STIR
"The answer I think is that it's blacker than black and the only object it could
be is a comet, which makes up some of the darkest objects in the solar system."
"And if Sedna has captured such an object, there must be hundreds of other large
comet objects in the vicinity."
DISTANT SEDNA RAISES POSSIBILITY OF ANOTHER EARTH-SIZED
PLANET IN OUR SOLAR
Marsden favors an object closer in, a "planetary object," he told SPACE.com ,
perhaps at between 400 and 1,000 AU. Vulcan's aphelion is at about 448
Semi-major axis 502.040 AU
Perihelion 76.032 AU
Aphelion 928.048 AU
Orbital period 11249.05 years
Longitude of the ascending node 144.544o
Argument of Perihelion 311.468o
Mean anomaly 357.713o
SEDNA (2003 VB12)
The coldest most distant place known in the solar system; possibly the first
object in the long-hypothesized Oort cloud
WEIRD OBJECT BEYOND PLUTO GETS STRANGER
DISTANT PLANETOID SEDNA GIVES UP MORE SECRETS or
DISTANT PLANETOID SEDNA GIVES UP MORE SECRETS
The distant planetoid Sedna appears to be covered in a tar-like sludge that
gives it a distinctly red hue, a new study reveals. The findings suggests the
dark crust was baked-on by the Sun and has been untouched by other objects for
millions of years. A similar "space weathering" process occurs on a 200-
kilometre-wide object called Pholus, which lies near Saturn and is also very
Astronomers have struggled to explain such an extreme orbit, but many believe a
star passing by the Sun about 4 billion years ago yanked the planetoid off its
original, circular course.
This is typical of Kuiper Belt objects and Vulcan may also be covered with
the same material making it hard to see.
MPEC 2004-E45 : 2003 VB12
IT'S ANOTHER WORLD . . . BUT IS IT OUR 10TH
The discovery of Sedna – 10 billion kilometres from Earth – is a testament to
the new generation of high-powered telescopes.
'NEW PLANET' MAY HAVE A MOON
At its most distant, Sedna is 130 billion km (84 billion miles) from the Sun,
which is 900 times Earth's solar distance (149 million km or 93 million miles).
NEW SOLAR SYSTEM WORLD HAS A MOON
More importantly, observations of the satellite's 49-day orbit allowed Brown to
precisely calculate the masses of both 2003 EL61 and its moon.
Pluto and 2003 EL61 both have satellites
The elliptical orbit of Sedna is unlike anything previously seen by astronomers.
It resembles the orbits of objects predicted to lie in the hypothetical Oort
cloud - a distant reservoir of comets. But Sedna is 10 times closer than the
predicted distance of the Oort cloud. Brown speculated that this "inner Oort
cloud" might have been formed billions of years ago when a rogue star passed by
the sun, nudging some of the comet-like bodies inward. Other notable features of
Sedna include its size and reddish color. After Mars, it is the second reddest
object in the solar system.
SEDNA: A CLUE TO NIBIRU
LARGE WORLD (QUAOAR) FOUND BEYOND PLUTO
The object is about one-tenth the diameter of Earth and circles the Sun every
COMETS AND ASTEROIDS
COMET PARTICLES CONFOUND SCIENTISTS
Particles from any icy comet that were collected and returned to Earth aboard a
Nasa science satellite show dozens of minerals that form only in extreme heat -
a finding that complicates theories about how the solar system formed,
Prevailing theories about the solar system's formation cannot explain how this
high-temperature material ended up in the frigid regions beyond Neptune's orbit,
the so-called Kuiper Belt where comets formed.
COMETS 'ARE BORN OF FIRE AND ICE'
Comets are born of fire as well as ice, the first results from the US space
agency's (Nasa) Stardust mission show.
The high-temperature minerals found in the Stardust samples may have formed in
the inner part, where temperatures exceeded 1,000C.
"When these grains formed, they were incandescent - they were red or white hot."
One of these minerals known as forsterite, which melts at 2,000C and condenses
at 1,127C, has been detected in a comet before.
NASA SCIENTISTS HAVE NEW MYSTERY TO SOLVE
Some of the material brought back by Stardust probe 'kind of a shock'
The samples include minerals such as anorthite, which is made up of calcium,
sodium, aluminum and silicate; and diopside, made of calcium magnesium and
silicate. Such minerals only form in very high temperatures.
"That's a big surprise. People thought comets would just be cold stuff that
formed out ... where things are very cold," said NASA curator Michael Zolensky.
"It was kind of a shock to not just find one but several of these, which implies
they are pretty common in the comet."
The discovery raises questions about where the materials in comets form, he
Comets may be debris left over from Vulcan's tiny exploded planets, according
to the ASTRO-METRIC concept of how our
OUR SOLAR SYSTEM was formed. Posted 03/16/2006.
Distant planets, seeded by PBHs ejected from Vulcan's PBH, may have experienced
detonations of these tiny PBHs because they were so very small. These
detonations may have produced many fragments of primordial heavy element matter
which became hydrogenated as the Sun grew to its present size. These primordial
fragments are the likely source of cometary bodies found in both the inner and
outer Oort cloud. Thus, cometary material constitute the remains of the crust or
mantels of these primordial planets. Such material may often show evidence of
prior melting such as that found in the Murchison meteorite Therefore, comets
are representative of the early universe, especially as far as the originally
formed prototype solar system is concerned. This concept is consistent with many
of the current theories concerning comets, which describes their genesis as
WHAT IS A COMET MADE OF?
FLOATING PILE OF RUBBLE A PRISTINE RECORD OF SOLAR SYSTEM'S HISTORY
A small, near-Earth asteroid named Itokawa is just a pile of floating rubble,
probably created from the breakup of an ancient planet, according to a
University of Michigan researcher was part of the Japanese space mission
The existence of very large boulders and pillars suggests that an earlier
"parent" asteroid was shattered by a collision and then re-formed into a rubble
pile, the researchers conclude in the paper.
It's likely that most asteroids have a similar past, Scheeres said. "Analysis of
the asteroid samples will give us a snapshot of the early solar system, and
provide valuable clues on how the planets were formed."
Also, knowing if an asteroid is a single, big rock or a pile of rubble will have
a major influence on how to nudge it off course, Scheeres said, should its orbit
be aimed at Earth. An asteroid collision with Earth, while unlikely, could have
disastrous consequences. It's widely thought that an asteroid collision caused
the mass extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, so some have discussed
ways to demolish or steer an approaching asteroid, should we see one coming.
Another striking finding, Scheeres said, is that regions of Itokawa's surface
are smooth, "almost like a sea of desert sand" and others are very rugged. This
indicates that the surfaces of asteroids are, in some sense, active, with
material being moved from one region to another. Gravity holds the mass of
LARGEST ASTEROID MIGHT CONTAIN MORE FRESH WATER THAN EARTH
Ceres has long been considered one of the tens of thousands of asteroids that
make up the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. At 580 miles (930 km) in
diameter – about the size of Texas – it's the largest asteroid in the belt,
accounting for about 25 percent of the belt's total mass.
"The most likely scenario from the knowledge we have on how other objects form,
it probably has a rocky core and a mantle. That mantle is probably some watery,
icy mix, with other dirt and constituents. That mantle could be as much as ¼ of
the whole object," study coauthor Joel Parker of the Southwest Research
Institute told SPACE.com. "Even though it's a small object compared to Earth,
there could be a lot of water."
ASTEROID PROBE ON CLOSE APPROACH
THREE TROJAN ASTEROIDS SHARE NEPTUNE ORBIT
COMET COLLISION 'ARMAGEDDON' UNLIKELY
THEY SING THE COMET ELECTRIC
'ELECTRIC COMET' COULD BURN THE HOUSE OF SCIENCE
COMETS, GRAVITY, AND ELECTRICITY
DEEP IMPACT SPACE COLLISION REVEALS COMETS TO BE FLUFFY BALLS OF POWDER
Most striking is that the comet is not made up of very much at all. "It's mostly
empty," said Prof A'Hearn. The fine particles of dust and ice are held together
extremely loosely, with pores thought to run throughout. "We have deduced that
around 75% to 80% of the nucleus is empty and that tells me there is probably no
solid nucleus. That is a significant advance in our understanding," said Prof
Comment from Signs Of The Times 09/08/2005: There are two problems with this
report. The first is that one cannot immediately assume that all comets have the
same composition. Certainly the new data is interesting, but shouldn't the new
theory be verified? The second problem is that scientists involved in Deep
Impact previously claimed that there was little chance the comet would disrupt
the orbit of Tempel 1. Now they say there were quite interested in learning if
the impact would disrupt the orbit so that a similar experiment could
intentionally alter the orbit of a comet headed for Earth in the future.
COMET SHAKES CONVENTIONAL WISDOM
Researchers analyzing the data were intrigued to find the comet is mostly made
up of loose powder-like particles, laced with carbon. Spectrometers, cameras and
other instruments revealed that the comet in fact has the consistency of a
snowdrift. "The comet is mostly empty, mostly porous," said Dr A'Hearne.
"Probably all the way in, there is no bulk of ice. The ice is all in the form of
tiny grains. "The material is unbelievably fragile."
Some experts say such molecules could have kick-started life on Earth.
Under the "pan-spermia" idea, comets pounded the early Earth billions of years
ago, bringing organic molecules that reacted with the Sun's light and heat,
creating a rich chemical soup within which life began. The theory, which was
initially slammed as "outlandish" by some scientists, is slowly gaining ground.
Comets were once believed to be of either the stony or metal core variety.
Perhaps there is a third kind, the 'snow drift' variety. These may explode
should they impact Earth's atmosphere, causing it to rain 'for forty days'.
ICE LAYERS RECORD COMET CREATION
As the cometesimals hit the surface of a growing comet nucleus, they "flowed" on
to the surface, researchers believe.
But temperature data from Tempel 1's nucleus suggests the material must be lost
from only a few centimetres below the surface.
MINI-COMETS APPROACHING EARTH - 03.24.2006
A cometary "string-of-pearls" will fly past Earth in May closer than any comet
has come in almost 80 years.
'STARDUST' SHATTERS COMET THEORY - Part 1
ALIEN PARTICLES FOUND IN 'COMET RAIN' PUT UNDER MICROSCOPE AT WELSH
WELSH scientists have been spearheading the hunt for alien life that may have
fallen to Earth in a shower of "red rain".
Astrobiologists will today continue to examine traces of matter that poured its
blood-red deluge over the Indian state of Kerala for two whole months in 2001.
Chandra Wickramasinghe, of Cardiff University, is investigating claims made by
one Indian researcher that the phenomenon may have been caused by a passing
comet depositing extraterrestrial organisms over our planet.
CELESTIAL FIREWORKS IN THE ANCIENT SKY
Plasma scientists are now comparing electrical discharge formations in the
laboratory to rock art images around the world. Results in 2005 should confirm
that immense and terrifying plasma configurations were seen in the sky of our
Add to this the results posted in "THE ULTIMATE TIME MACHINE"; Joseph
McMoneagle; pg. 216.
Sometime in the year 2016, an asteroid will bypass Earth, missing our
globe by less than 1.3 million miles. It will be large enough to cause a
measurable electromagnetic effect on the Earth's surface. This will be the first
of four that will visit our neighborhood over the next hundred years, The second
will pass around 2030, the third in 2044, and the fourth in
2071. none of these rocks will strike our planet."
These dates also appear in the analysis of the
CELESTIAL FIREWORKS IN THE ANCIENT SKY - Part 1
CELESTIAL FIREWORKS IN THE ANCIENT SKY - Part 2
MYSTERY OF THE COSMIC THUNDERBOLT(1)
How did the story of a heaven-altering contest find its way into so many
cultures? In the ritual of the Babylonian Akitu Festival, the enemy is the
dragon Tiamat, subdued by the god Marduk. For the Egyptians it was the dragon
Apep, defeated by Ra or his agent Horus. For the Greeks it was the fiery
serpents Typhon or Python, vanquished respectively by Zeus and Apollo. Hindu
accounts similarly recalled the attack of the sky-darkening serpent Vritra,
felled by Indra. But these are only a few of hundreds of such accounts preserved
around the world.
ARMAGEDDON - Antimatter Comets Thesis - Will be a living rain of fire and terror
from the sky
ARMAGEDDON - Antimatter Comets Thesis - Billions of people will parish.
SUN APPROACHING COMETS
POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS ASTEROIDS
ASTEROID 3200 PHAETHON (1983 TB)
VULCAN FIRES UP
Vulcanoids would need to be in near-circular orbits, each avoiding the others,
if they were to have survived the billions of years since the solar system
formed. If they exist, how could they be found, perennially in the solar glare?
ASTEROID 4179 TOUTATIS (1989 AC)
The next predicted perihelion date is 2006 June 7 and the comet will pass 0.0735
AU from Earth on May 13
ASTRONOMERS TAKE SEARCH FOR EARTH-THREATENING SPACE ROCKS TO SOUTHERN SKIES
SEARCH TO FIND DANGEROUS ASTEROIDS NEARLY COMPLETE
WHAT IS A COMET?
NEAR EARTH OBJECTS - A pretty quiet topic on Asteroids, Comets, Meteorites
and Near-Earth Objects (NEOs)
COMETS AND ASTEROIDS
HUBBLE SPIES COMET TEMPEL 1 BELCHING DUST
COMETS IN ANCIENT CULTURES
COMET BORRELLY PUZZLE: DARKEST OBJECT IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM
Comet Borrelly reflects less than 3 percent of all the sunlight
that hits it.
It was assumed that Vulcan reflected about 10%. But if it is as dark as
comets, Vulcan's estimated to be a 21 magnitude object could be three times
The next predicted perihelion date is 2006 June 7 and the comet will pass 0.0735
AU from Earth on May 13, being only slightly farther away than during the
original discovery apparition of 1930.
COMET 'DIRTY SNOWBALL' THEORY IS DEAD Comet 'Wild 2' Looks Like An Asteroid
NASA SPACECRAFT REVEALS SURPRISING ANATOMY OF A COMET
Stardust gathered the images on Jan. 2, 2004, when it flew 236 kilometers (about
147 miles) from Wild 2. The flyby yielded the most detailed, high-resolution
comet images ever.
Another big surprise was the abundance and behavior of jets of particles
shooting up from the comet's surface. We expected a couple of jets, but saw more
than two dozen in the brief flyby,
The violent jets may form when the Sun shines on icy areas near or just below
the comet's surface. The solid ice becomes a gas without going through a liquid
phase. Escaping into the vacuum of space, the jets blast out at hundreds of
kilometers per hour.
COMET WILD 2 SURFACE NOT SATELLITE OR ASTEROID SURFACE
STARDUST MISSION PHOTOS
STARDUST TARGETS LIGHTNING RETURN
STRANGE COMET UNLIKE ANYTHING KNOWN
Among the bizarre features are two depressions with flat floors and nearly
vertical walls that resemble giant footprints. They aren't structured like
typical impact craters. The features have been named Left Foot and Right Foot in
a new map of the comet, which is roughly 3 miles (5 kilometers) wide.
Comet Wild 2 probably gathered itself together 4.5 billion years ago, just after
the Sun was born, in a region beyond Neptune known as the Kuiper Belt.
CICLOPS Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory Operatios Phoebe Pictures And
PHOEBE'S SURFACE REVEALS CLUES TO ITS ORIGIN
"Based on our images, some of us are leaning towards the view that has been
promoted recently, that Phoebe is probably ice-rich and may be an object
originating in the outer solar system, more related to comets and Kuiper Belt
objects than to asteroids."
PHOEBE'S SURPRISE (see crater images)
SATURN'S MYSTERY MOON (PHOEBE) SHOWS EXPOSED WATER ICE, SAYS CORNELL RESEARCHER
Phoebe is likely a primordial mixture of ice, rock and carbon-containing
compounds similar in to material seen on Pluto and Neptune's moon Triton.
Buratti told today's press conference that both carbon dioxide and a simple
hydrocarbon have been detectred on Phoebe. The water ice, she said, seems to be
associated with a very bright material and there are bright craters and areas
that seem to be rich with ice. "There seem to be minerals found with the water,
and also an unidentified mystery material tied up with dark material,"
Phoebe's mass was determined from precise tracking of the spacecraft and optical
navigation, combined with an accurate volume estimate from images. The
measurements yield a density of about 1.6 grams per cubic centimeter (100
pounds per cubic foot), much lighter than most rocks, but heavier than pure ice
at approximately 0.93 grams per cubic centimeter (58 pounds per cubic foot).
Torrence Johnson, a Cassini imaging team member from JPL, said that this density
"tells us automatically this is not a pure iceball with a thin dark layer. You
would never get a density of 1.6 from something like that. Inside, Phoebe has to
be fairly complex and has to include some processes to produce these clean
layers underneath the surface, which is a deep carbonaceous and rock-rich
SATURN'S ODD MOON OUT
Many have long suspected that Phoebe originated in the outer solar system and
was somehow captured by Saturn's gravitational pull. But until recently, the
only evidence they had was the fact that the moon reflected less light than the
planet's other moons, and that it orbited Saturn in the opposite direction. The
new studies, which appear in the May 5 issue of Nature, show the link even more
In the density study, Lunine and Jet Propulsion Laboratory imaging specialist
Torrence Johnson reveal that Phoebe has more rocks and less ice than the rest of
Saturn's moons. In fact, its density matches that of Neptune's moon Triton and
the planet Pluto. The former is thought to have been captured from a region of
the outer solar system known as the Kuiper Belt, a disk of icy debris left over
from the formation of the planets. Pluto still orbits there.
In the second study, U.S. Geological Survey astrophysicist Roger Clark and a
dozen colleagues show how some of the materials detected on Phoebe's surface,
like various cyanide compounds, resemble those found on a comet -- again
pointing to an origin in the outer solar system. Perhaps more importantly, the
researchers found that Phoebe's surface is more diverse in composition than any
solar system body ever studied, with the exception of Earth. If Phoebe was
indeed formed in the Kuiper Belt, then this material could be some of the most
primitive in the solar system, according to Clark.
PHOEBE MOON MAY BE CAPTURED COMET
"Phoebe has a long journey behind it. It comes from the outer Solar System and
probably rounded the Sun a few times before it was captured by Saturn's orbit.
But we really don't know." Notice Phoebe's unusual craters. Wonder if they
were made by the impact of a small antimatter beam causing water explosions to
move Phoebe into its current orbit?
ASTEROIDS NEAR JUPITER ARE REALLY COMETS
Observations indicate two orbiting bodies are mostly water ice
UFO-CONTACT FROM PLANET IARGA
Q: "Why do they have to be so streamlined, since space is surely empty?"
A: "We wish that were true! For spaceships that travel at relative speeds,
space is not empty enough and not only streamlining but armor plating is also
necessary. You have seen our ship and can see that armor is not a useless
luxury. They have no windows; they are heavy, armored projectiles, whose
strength comes from the discus form. (
A: "When our radar warns us of dust or material, we make the banking
maneuver that you have just seen. This then presents the smallest possible
surface area to the danger. Nevertheless, each particle of dust makes burn marks
on the plating. For this reason we always fly in line formation. The command
consists of five ships and the lead ship is always unmanned, because this one
runs the greatest risk.
Q: "Yes, fine, thank you - ,but didn't you say something about a protective
weapon which you could use if material threatened to cross the path of the
A: "The antimatter ray, Stef, is a defense against larger blocks
of material which only rarely occur in space. The use of this ray demands
not only enormous quantities of energy, but it is controlled by strong
restrictions to prevent disturbing the natural balance. We are only justified in
its use when no other methods are possible. This weapon cannot replace the armor
plating of our ships."
ORBIT ANALYST COMMENT ONE