Five Years Later
by gary d. goodwin
Some time has past since we were visited by "The Greatest Comet of The Millennium". Humans think in such black and white terms. Process seems alien to most... no that's not it - I believe The Process is familiar to all, we just suppress it. Hale Bopp didn't "come and go". And by that statement I don't mean that it's still around or that it's still in close orbit around the sun. So don't run and get your nasty-pen or fire up your computer to condemn me without reading a little more. Yes, because that's what we both know YOU do. You read a little, just enough to disagree with or to feel threatened and then you run off and make a fool of yourself by posting or saying something full of mistakes. TMG is not here to promote alien invasions or the end of the world, as you have previously accused us of. You'd love it if we turned out to be schizophrenics slobbering at the mouth with tin foil inside our baseball caps. Sorry to disappoint antagonists and other friends far and wide. We possess intelligence, manners and good taste contrary to what's been written about us.
When we ignore the process we refuse to see the truth. We want to control the outcome. Maybe on some deep psychological level we think that if we do not control things we risk our very existence - we risk annihilation. Psychobabble? My most recent career has been in psychology, and the one thing I've learned is that people don't want to face their fears, real or not. Fear of survival, fear of being wrong, fear of losing, and on and on. There's the threat of losing pride and a lot of money in accepting The Truth About Hale Bopp. Not to mention that the acceptance of the true nature of comets would have a domino effect in physics, mathematical models, and would surely even effect our daily lives. Not too many in science interested in that! So the men and women of science are holding on dearly with both hands, never to let go. Well... not until it slaps them in the face and tears their hands free, simply due to the truth. Does that mean that we are sure in our understanding? Not at all - who is it that has stood on a comet and knows its true nature? Who can today clainm a pure understanding of the nature of comets?
Truth is an interesting thing. I've seen many people look directly into the heart of truth and deny that it's truth. Look at black and swear it's white. Or just the opposite; see, touch and feel something and swear that it's not there. Science isn't a pawn for us to manipulate folks. Science isn't a money train that we all jump on to increase our increase. Science in it's original form was an attempt to understand. Not to even predict an outcome, or the future. It was originally an innocent attempt to simply understand. We are curious and interested creatures. Innocent because somewhere back in time we didn't even know if truth was obtainable. An innocent attempt to understand or seek truth. But we as humans are not innocent. It's not the process that's flawed, honestly it is ourselves. We were brought into this universe, a part of it, but in awe of all of it. Full of fear, yet full of hope of great and uncontrolled pleasures.
Unfortunately, since the day that Cain murdered his brother, man discovered that there's good money in the domination and control of other humans. You'll see examples of what I mean scattered throughout this posting. Scientists are generally not wealthy people. So their research is usually funded by wealthy corporations, individuals and countries (tax payors in our case!). The investor demands results for their investment. It's not customary to simply throw dollars at someone and expect nothing in return, in our present world. So there's the great temptation of scientists. If they are to keep working they must come up with results for their supporters. The results must of course be good enough to support further research, so it must titilate and bring about new returns for the investor. But more than that, the findings must reflect the hard work and superiority of the scientist over his colleagues. Science is business - period. Innocence is an archeological throw away.
Summer of '95 was not much different than other summers, except it changed my life forever. That summer I ran into a new friend, his name was Chuck Shramek. My good friend Ray Ward and I had started a number of months before getting serious about astronomy, mostly due to the incredible event of SL9. We had posted a preliminary web page on the subject and the newly announced comet - Hale Bopp(HB), and thus Chuck introduced himself to me. We had numerous calls with each other. He lived in Huston and I lived in Southern California, but even though the calls were costly we were excited about all of the goings on in astronomy and at NASA concerning this new and unique comet. We hit it off like we were old friends. In fact I have emerged from the many friendships over this stuff saying "there's no such thing as an accident!" In fact I feel like the new friends that I have acquired through The Millennium Group were sent to me. Some by God, and of course those very special few sent by... no doubt our friends at NASA.
When the announcement of a new comet called Hale Bopp came around the buzz was intense. Ray and I had been already talking about it and gathering every bit of info and every image we could get our hands on. We talked to any and every one that would talk to us, but even back then we were viewed suspiciously as weirdos! Every one was so afraid that HB was going to be another Kahoutek that they were afraid to say anything that would associate them with any hype about the comet. Later we were to find out another reason everyone was so tight lipped about this magnificant comet. Not so innocent as just self incrimination.
I remember today that one first call from Chuck about HB. He was so excited he couldn't keep from yelling over the phone. This was to be the first of many excited calls. He told me that he had downloaded and incredible image of HB from a NASA site that he just couldn't believe. The comet was just out past Jupiter and appeared to have been captured exploding. There were fragments going every which way and the tail was twisted and just plain didn't appear right. After we talked a few minutes I got off the phone so I could download a copy of the image myself. In those days I only had a very slow modem and a very limited hard drive. I'm embarrassed to say how limited we were when we first got started! Sometimes it took literally hours to download the right image!
Within minutes I was on the site, but there wasn't any such image. I spent a few moments going back and forth through the site looking for the image. It wasn't there! Where did it go? I got off line and got back on the phone to Chuck. He had a separate line for his computer and phone, so I stayed on the line with him. When he looked at the site again, the image had been removed. Chuck was pissed! To say the least. If people thought Chuck was a paranoid individual, I can tell you he had a good right to be. Like they say, "If they're really after you, you ain't paranoid." He spewed forth a literagy of foul language directed at NASA rarely heard! "They've taken it off line those bastards!" "Gary they were listening to us!" We both knew it. Someone, somewhere had been tuned in to the conversation that we had had earlier. At first it may have been paranoia but later I was to find out the simplist answer is usually the right answer.
I asked Chuck to email the image. He started sending it before I finished the sentence. It seemed to take forever to download when I got on my PC. Then I clicked open and there it was. I gasped - I really did! I knew what I was seeing. This was an incoming body, out by Jupiter, burning bright and coming apart! I stayed up all night, working up the HTML for the new webpage - "What Is The Truth About Hale Bopp?" The highlight of the new page was this new fantastic image. As soon as possible I got together with Ray Ward to go over the image. Ray has an incredible grasp of numbers. We were huddled together around the computer screen and then to my delight he gave out the same gasp that I had given the night before. He said, "Gary that thing is huge!" I hadn't even thought about how big it was. All I saw was what Chuck had told me - the fragmenting, and the fact that it was obviously bright. I couldn't help thinking about the recent fragmenting of SL9 and the possibilities for the future with this behemoth.
As Ray and I talked, Ray grabbed the small note book out of his shirt pocket and a well used pencil and went to work. He scribbled numbers and equations that I just didn't understand. When I asked what he was doing. He said, "This thing is out by Jupiter, that's over five A.U.'s and this image is such and such..." He quickly lost me and I had to ask him to slow down. He was excited, I was excited and when we finally came to an understanding we just sat back in our chairs focusing on the computer screen image, exasperated without words to describe it. I have dreamed of science fiction stories, books and movies - the unreal, all of my life. And now here it was - in front of me. I felt like I was in a "B" rated movie.
Ray was right. This thing was huge! Planet sized. And this picture gave evidence of it. But it wasn't only big, it was at the least reflecting light, and it was fragmenting. Two days later the image was reposted on the same site that they took it off of. But it didn't last long. It was taken off a week later, never to resurface on an official NASA site ever again. Paranoid? Maybe. Maybe not.
We realized that HB was passing through the ecliptic and close to Jupiter when it was rocked. We postulated that this must be the reason for the explosion. Another interesting thing that occurred was that the official ephemeris was modified as the days went by. Not simply due to further observations, but drastically as the come passed Jupiter. The ephemeris was posted by Brian Marsden at Harvard and his colleagues. Marsden is the fellow that wrote about "Non gravitational forces on comets".
There were a few photos of the comet avaliable at the time - very few. The Hubble Space Telescope team posted an image of the comet taken September 26th of '95 that was also quite earth shattering - so to speak. Maybe it was our posting of an analysis of this image that kept NASA/JPL from posting further HST images. If that's true, it's unfortunate. To this day there are no more than two or three high resolution images of the comet available to the public. The abilities of the HST are beyond incredible. Just take a look at some of the images of galaxies and star clusters and such they have shared with the public. The cameras on the HST can snap literally thousands of images a minute of pretty much what ever they desire. A prominent astronomer in this whole debacle told me that HST has video capability on top of single image ability. That's obviously very believable as the camera used doesn't utilize film or any physical recording of images, it uses a computer chip to record the image and then the image is beamed down to the earth. This fellow also said to me, "I don't know what you're so upset about, the government has a telescope up there with a mirror twice the size of the HST!" Wow. What do they need that for? Pretty remarkable stuff when you start realizing the scope and the costs of these projects. We had even heard rumors that the Vatican had a direct video feed from the HST! Sounds crazy, but after the things that we have discovered in the last few years, I don't poopoo anything anymore before I take a good look at it.
The photo that really got it all started was an image we later called "The Pinwheel". On the photo, the HST folks put references to direciton and arc second size. At the time the image was taken the comet was at a whopping 6 A.U.'s away from the sun. That's a month before the comet exploded and out past Jupiter. Traditional theory says that comets do not begon sublimation until they are within about 2 A.U.'s of the sun. What they are bascially saying is that as the comet gets closer to the heat of the sun, the heat begins to melt the ice of the comet. The ice is turned immediately from ice to a gasseous tail. If that sounds a little rediculous to anyone, imagine a comet being 6 A.U.'s out, glowing and with a tail. It doesn't take a NASA rocket scientist to figure out that there's something wrong with their ideas.
The "Pinwheel Image" was taken on September 6th of 1995. In the HST photo, the comet appears to be spinning in an apparent clockwise direction and has two point of white bright areas. The two points of brightness at this point were thought to be outbursts on one body by Ray and myself. This is where we obtained the large size of the comet that we posted. But even if you believe that the two points are separate bodies, the bodies are very very large. But the question and the challenge has never been answered to the question that if comets don't begin sublimation within two to three A.U.'s from the sun then why did HB have a tail and a so-called coma. If you accept that this is true, that comet sublimate at two to three A.U.'s then what is going here. You either have to accept one theory or the other. Either comets sublimate at any distance or HB was huge. They can't have it both ways.
So for a moment let's talk about what causes a comet to have a tail when it comes in close to the sun. As I stated in the previous paragraphs, a comet tail is believed to be, by mainstream astronomy, primarily gaseous hydrogen and oxygen. This gas is created by a process they call sublimation. That simply means that the ice turns directly into a gas without stopping to be a liquid.