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 included,
- the recognition of the charging process used by comets
- 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 matte
- a postulated electric dipole red-shift in photons leaving the central star
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 clarification.
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 Titan)?
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 1979.
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 Ganymede.
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 ball.
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 Saturn).
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 Sun.
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.
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 these.
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.