PREVIOUS                  NEXT
 
THE NATURE AND ORIGIN OF COMETS AND THE EVOLUTION OF CELESTIA.IL BODIES (PART II)
J. M. MC CANNEY
PREFACE TO PART II

Part I (KRONOS IX: 1, Fall 1983, pp. 17-39) presented critiques of the ice ball comet model (IBCM) and nebular collapse theory of the origin of the solar system (OSS) and argued that these "accepted" theories fall short of explaining numerous observed phenomena. Part I also introduced a new theory for comet behavior and solar system evolution based on the capture of comets. Comets were postulated to be discharges of a solar capacitor, the capacitor forming with the negatively charged Sun surrounded by a doughnut shaped nebular cloud of ionized dust and gases lying past the orbit of Pluto. Cometary discharges could also occur between the Sun and ionized matter of the zodiacal disc which rings the Sun. The major theoretical result was that charged comet nuclei are attracting the dust and gases in the comet tail and are not melting away as proposed in the IBCM. That is, comets are evolving into the planets, moons, and asteroids of our solar system.

Part I further extended concepts introduced in an earlier paper(l) that Saturn and its ring system (and Jupiter to a lesser extent) exhibit star-like properties including electrical discharges between its rings and in its atmosphere. The star-fike properties are necessarily a result of localized fusion reactions in the gas planets' atmospheres which are ignited by energetic lightning bolts (which have been detected by Voyagers I and II). The analogy was made between the Saturn-ring and Sun-zodiacal disc systems. Part I should be read with its footnotes and references to put Parts II and III (in press) into proper perspective.

Part II further develops the new comet capture theory for the origin of the solar system (OSS) and proposes mechanisms for observed phenomena which must be accounted for in any self consistent theory. Appendix I provides a sample calculation, showing that the "tail drag" on a comet can explain two phenomena: 1) the Oort effect and 2) the rapid orbital circularization of comets with extensive tails. Appendix II details the experimental results of upcoming comet probes to Halley's Comet which can confirm this theory.

III. EXPLANATIONS OF OBSERVED PHENOMENA

Any alternate theory concerning comet behavior and the origin of the solar system (OSS) must reexplain many observed phenomena in a self-consistent context. These include the origin of comet nuclei and the reason for the observed "families" of comets arriving from many specific directions in space, comet wandering, sunward spikes, sunward fan tails, occasional separation of the tail from the nucleus, comet splitting, the cause of Type I, II, and III tails, the spiralling of tail material, the stratification in some tails, multiple tails, the shrinking of the coma as the comet approaches the Sun, and the maintenance of meteoroid streams.

In relating the above to the formation of planets, moons and asteroids, the theory must also explain the internal heat and radioactivity of the planets, the orientation of the rotational axes of the planets, the spacing of planetary and lunar orbits, the asteroid belt, the source of planetary atmospheres, the size distribution of celestial bodies, the cause of retrograde orbits of selected moons, and last, but not least, the magnetic fields of the planets. This must all be done in a context consistent with data (although not necessarily with uniformitarian theory) in other fields such as geology, biology, archaeology, anthropology, etc.

III a) Sources of Comet Nuclei
One source of comet nuclei has been identified as the dispersive spray of small conglomerates being ejected from the newly forming twin star systems at the base of the galactic arm. (2) Another possible source, which explains the existence of families of comets arriving from the same directions in space,(3) is the stellar nova. This is also the logical place to look for asteroidal type bodies which are ejected into interstellar space at high velocity.

The detectable remnants of a nova (identified as numerous point radio sources around the central nova star) indicate that large pieces of the solid stellar core remain in the vicinity of the explosion.(4) This strongly suggests that there must be many smaller fragments also. Two results of the new galaxy concept(2) are that the stellar core is not one of collapsed hydrogen, but is a solid planetary type core since all the celestial bodies are initially formed in the same way, and that the heavy isotopes - detected spectroscopically after a nova - come from this core; they are not generated in the explosion as previously thought.

From momentum considerations comes the result: the smaller the fragment , the greater the ejection velocity with the largest peices remaining in the vicinity of the explosion. From analysis of a solid core exploding into random assortment of pieces, a second resultshows that there will be great numbers of small fragments, with fewer fragments of increasingly larger size. The nova will spray neighboring twin star systems with these fragments which may then be captured to begin new lives as comet nuclei(5). Once again, it is a game of numbers. As with biological reproduction, of the multitude of seeds scattered by a plant, only a few will grow. The family groups of long period comets coming from the same direction in space and arriving in relatively closely packed groups,(3) therefore, are coming from the site of a nova which occurred millions of years ago.

A major result is that all the celestial bodies (stars, gas planets, terrestial planets, moons, asteroids, and comets) are catalogued in one common grouping which is conceptually satisfying (as opposed to the numerous special cases defined in the nebular theory of OSS). So the capture of a large comet nucleus by a solar system is possible but less likely than the capture of the small nuclei.

Our solar system bears this out with over 5,000 asteroids, 1,000 comets, 50 moons (of which only about 10 are large), 9 planets (ofwhich only 4 are large), and one star. Even within the asteroid belt, studies have shown that the number of asteroids increases as a geometric progression with decreasing size.(6) For this reason, the few close encounters of comets with planets that have been observed in the past 300 years show only comets with small masses. This is a very short time astronomically and cannot be extrapolated to the age of the solar system or to all comets as has been done by astronomers. If large comet nuclei pass through our solar system and, therefore, their masses would remain undetected.(7) It should be expected that the Jupiter-Galileo orbiter (presently scheduled for the spring of 1986) will see comet nuclei (e.g., small asteroidal bodies) as they enter Jupiter's radiation belts and detect the electromagnetic effects that must accompany such an encounter.

III b) Explaination of Observed Cometary Phenomena

There are three sources of planetary atmosperes. The primary source is the nebular ion cloud (explained in Part I, KRONOS IX:1) which contains the light elements up to approximately sulfur, as this is what is observed in comet tails of extreme length. That is, as the comet transforms into a hot young planet with a circulized orbit (to be discussed in detail), the original planetary atmosphere will already be present (Venus being a prime example).

Another source is the chance grazining of the Sun, as in the case of the comets of 1882 and 1887; some grazing comets are actually seen to flouresce after leaving the Sun, indicating the possible presence of a newly aquired atmosphere. Isaac Newton in his Pricipia includes a description of the Great Comet of 1680 as it plunged through the solar atmosphere. Ironically, in the next sentence he describes a nova explosion which, unknown to him, will provide comet nuclei for future solar systems.(8)

It is genearlly claimed in the nebular theory that the atmospheres of Earth and Venus were released from their cooling interiors during volcanic activity. Gases are certainly released by volcanic activity even today, but this article contends that much of the original atmosphere was formed as part of the comet phase of planetary evolution. If Venus joined the planets of our solar system only a few thousand years ago then it already had a huge CO2 atmosphere amassed from its comet stage of development.(9)

Spiralling of tail material is sometimes observed in comets. Before 1950 a number of comet theories invoked magnetic fields(10) as the cause of spiralling. All assumed a priori that the tail material moved away from the comet nucleus. The politics of science, however, supressed such notions of magnetic fields. This paper resurects those ideas and provides a theoretical bases for them, but with one major difference: the tail material does not move away from, but is drawn toward the comet nucleus. The reader should note that Nobel Laureate Hannes Alfven stands as one of the few investigators who has long recognized the influential nature of electro-magnetic fields in the phenomena observed in comet tails.

From just observing the spiralling motion, it is impossible to tell whether the cometary magnetic filed is caused by circulating charge on the comet nucleus or the current flow of the Sun's capacitor discharge, since the resultant magnetic force will be central in both cases for electrons in the spike and ions in the tail. Here the reader is referred to the american Indian rock paintings and a similar drawing of the great comet of 1861 and the spiked Comet Arend-Roland. These comets are not easily explained in the ice ball comet model (IBCM). (The topic of spiked comets will be discussed again.)

Comet wandering was first noticed in Encke's comet in the 19th century, and it was Encke's original idea to account for this by the "secular action of a resisting medium". George H. Darwin and T. J. J. See used this to develop the first capture theory of OSS (in the late 1800s)(8) showing two effects over very long time spans, on the order of millions of years for planet-sized objects: 1) elliptical orbits would be circularized and 2) circular orbits would slowly spiral sunwards. These are also known as eccentricity damping and energy disposal. A complete treatment of the celestial mechanics involved is also given by Smart.(11) The same effect occurs in the Poynting-Robertson effect for micron-sized particles acted on by solar radiation.

Encke's assumption was that the cross sectional area of the comet nucleus would drag through the resisting medium with the density increasing near the Sun. But this concept was incomplete because it is now known that the solar wind effectively clears the inner solar system of this resisting medium (except for the zodiacal disk and newly discovered rings between Mars and Jupiter(12)) and, even if it existed, it would have to be quite dense to cause the observed perturbations of cometary orbits.(8,11,12) The new comet theory shows the same effect, but with the tail drag being millions of times greater than Encke's original suggestion since vast quantities of matter are drawn into the comet nucleus from the rotating zodiacal disk and/or stationary nebular ion cloud which lies past the orbit of Pluto. So a comet with a large tail can have its orbit circularized or may seem to lose a great deal of energy in a very short time astronomically (ie., within 1,000 years). A sample calculation is provided in Appendix I to illustrate the effect of tail drag in circularizing the orbit of a comet as is suspected to have been the case with Venus only a few thousand years ago. Comet wandering is also caused by the variable tail drag as discussed previously. This is important in the development of the statistics governing orbital spacing and solar system formation (to be discussed).

The current theoretical efforts in the nebular theory of OSS explain the orientation of rotational axes of the planets and moons as effect of localized magnetohydrodynamic phenomena early in the collapsing solar nebula.

The new comet theory explains this to be due to the non-symmetric vortex motion of infalling tail matter. Since the comet normally begins with a relatively small nucleus compared to the final planet or moon,(5) the final spin rate and orientation of the spin axis can take on random values which are governed by chance. Another factor that may cause the nucleus to rotate is an encounter with the solar atmosphere at high velocity during Sun grazing, but this must be rare compared to the primary cause of axial spin. Planetary precession is a very long term effect (to be discussed), but possibly tidal effects causing crustal shifting during comet capture can cause alterations in rotation rates and axis of spin.(13)

The maintenance of meteoroid streams is explained in the present paper by the short range induced electric dipole force which acts on electrical conductors (i.e., meteoroids containing metals). The importance of this force has been discussed in an earlier paper(1) and was observed when Pioneer-Saturn passed a short distance under the small charged moon 1979-S2. At short range, this force becomes much greater than gravitational forces. So a highly charged comet nucleus will give a very strong impulse to meteoroids in its vicinity, allowing them to remain gravitationally bound to the Sun when farther away from the comet nucleus, with the meteoroids assuming the same orbit as the comet. As meteoroid size decreases, the mass decreases as the cube of the radius. Therefore, smaller objects are affected more by the induced dipole force.(1) Also, since the force is proportional to the square of the net charge on the comet nucleus, the forces on a meteoroid would be much greater than the impulse experienced by Pioneer when near Saturn's small moon. The net effect is the gathering and maintenance of meteoroid streams which will then follow the same orbit as the comet. If, at a later date, the comet nucleus is perturbed into a new orbit, the meteoroid stream will remain in the original orbit of the comet nucleus. This accounts for the numerous meteroid streams which are observed to orbit the Sun. Spacecraft design must take the induced electric dipole force into account, as mentioned previously, when these craft are expected to approach highly charged celestial objects.

The Earth's ionosphere will act as a conducting sphere in the nonuniform electric field of the Sun, the charged Moon, or a nearby comet nucleus. Ionospheric charge will adjust constantly to maintain an electric field of zero to the inside. What effect this has on weather or other phenomena should be investigated, since a well known fact of meteorology is that "jet streams" in the upper atmosphere move the surface level weather systems. This implies that what are normally termed magnetic storms in the Sun have electrical counterparts which escape detection (other than in disruption of radio broadcasts) for this reason.(14)

It appears that there are two causes of Type II comet tails, although data are sparse. These smooth curved tails, e.g., Donati's comet, result from orbiting particles in the Sun's zodiacal disk being drawn into the comet nucieus.(l5) If this is the case, then the curved tail may either lead or follow the comet depending on the relative angular velocity (prograde or retrograde) of the comet and zodiacal disk. A second type, such as seen in Comet West and Halley's Comet (1910),(15) shows striated structure which results from the movement of the comet nucleus and is most pronounced in comets near the Sun. It has been shown that this observed structure cannot be explained by gravitational or solar radiation pressure effects.(16)The present theory explains this as a result of the comet nucleus continually moving out from between the forming tail and the Sun, the tail material being first drawn inwards by strong electrical forces, then dispersed by the solar wind as the comet nucleus moves and is no longer properly aligned between the Sun and tail. Tail separation is also observed, occurring when the charge on the nucleus is suddenly neutralized, whereupon the tail, like the second Type II tail, is quickly dispersed by the solar wind.

IV. SOLAR SYSTEM FORMATION

IV a) Comet Capture Processes and the Formation of Solar Systems

Capture of long period comets by a twin star system is well documented and well understood. Energy transfers during close encounters with planets can either give energy to or take energy from the comet nucleus, so once a new comet nucleus is captured by the solar system, it will continue to encounter planets until it obtains a non-overlapping orbit or is expelled from the system. Lack of an exact solution to the N-body problem complicates the approach to understanding. Specific examples have been worked out,(17,18, 19) but more work is needed to catalogue lunar capture routes.

One "calculated" result which I find hard to accept is that entire planets would be vaporized during close planetary encounters due to tidal friction. This has been used as an argument against lunar capture (especially retrograde).(20,21) This paper argues that tidal friction has been greatly overestimated by investigators such as MacDonald, Wise, and by current theorists who claim that the great internal heat of Jupiter's moon Io is caused by tidal friction. (This will be discussed again.)

The radiation belts of the planets with magnetic fields play a fundamental role in planetary and lunar capture. Comets will be seen to brighten greatly when they pass through Jupiter's radiation belts, e.g., Comet Brooks II (1889) underwent brightening as did Biela's Comet (1846) and the nucleus divided while in Jupiter's realm.(22,23) The brightening is a result of the sudden charging and influx of tail material as the asteroidal comet nuclei encounter the Jovian radiation belts at high velocity, implying that velocity relative to the plasma is a factor in the charging process. With the charging process begun, the nucleus will be assured of inducing the discharge of the solar capacitor as it enters the inner solar system and therefore assures the proper development of the comet.(24) This same process helps slow comet nuclei during lunar capture and thus gives planets with large magnetic fields an advantage in lunar capture. It is apparent that, as the forming moon or planet achieves a circular orbit, it becomes "immune" to the charging process. What terminates the charging process is discussed in footnote No. 46 of Part I of this paper (see KRONOS IX:1). The moons of Jupiter and Saturn which lie in circular orbits move in plasma rings (25) which evidently is related to this immunity.

The slightly elliptical orbit of Io seems to be in agreement with this as well. The 5 million amp current flowing from Io to Jupiter(26) indicates that Io maintains a potential difference with respect to Jupiter, but this is much less than what would be expected for a highly charged comet. The tail drag will continue to circularize the orbit, becoming less effective as the circular orbit is achieved and the charging reduced. Io shows that electrical discharges do occur between celestial bodies.(27)

The ring patterns found on Callisto had been explained in a previous paper(l) as due to the approach and impact of a small highly charged asteroidal body in the ferromagnetic dust that covers Callisto's surface. I now believe that it was the result of a large discharge between Callisto and a charged asteroidal body, and that the "crater" in the center of these rings was formed as the discharge burned the planetary surface. (See Figures 4, 5, and 6.) If these rings were mechanical wave patterns on the lunar surface caused by an impacting object when Callisto was young and molten as suggested by NASA,(28) then many superimposed wave patterns should have occurred due to other nearby impact craters (there is no lack of impact basins on Callisto's surface). The nebular theory assumes that this cratering occurred early in the history of the solar system. If the rings resulted from the alignment of ferromagnetic dusts in the magnetic field of an electrical discharge (as proposed by the author), then all previous ring patterns in the vicinity would be destroyed,(29) leaving only one set of concentric rings, as is observed. This also gives support to the electrical discharge concept of the sunward spike of comets and the Venus to Earth discharges described by Velikovsky.

In the case of Callisto, if the passing comet nucleus was very large (as is rarely the case), then it would have also gravitationally perturbed the moons of Jupiter and these must have then re-circularized their orbits, since their new elliptical orbits would have allowed them to charge again within Jupiter's proton wind supported capacitor.

Explaining the retrograde motion of certain moons has been one of the great difficulties of the nebular theory of the origin of the solar system (OSS). Capture or encounter phenomena are usually assumed to account for these special cases. This, however, seems out of place in the theory whose main objective is to show the planets and moons evolving in already circularized orbits.(30) In the comet capture theory of OSS, retrograde motion is possible, but its chances of survival are small. The direction of spin of the solar system is governed by Jupiter. (Comets which evolve into moons with retrograde motion may gain energy during planetary encounters and, therefore, have a higher probability of being ejected from the system.) In summary, a moon can be captured by 1) energy loss due to sudden charging and mass accretion (i.e., tail drag) as it enters a planet's radiation belts, or 2) energy loss associated with the gravitational encounter with the Sunplanet system, or 3) capture involving an energy transfer between the comet and a planet-moon system (similar to capture by a twin star system).

The asteroid belt is explained in the nebular theory of OSS as a region in which a planet never formed. According to the present theory, however, the asteroid belt is an area in which a planet could reside. Since none has been captured, it is available for asteroids to accumulate.

In the context of the present theory, the asteroid belt provides a remarkable statistical experiment, as it contains a random sampling of celestial bodies which have been captured continually since the beginning of the solar system. The importance of studying the asteroids, some of which exhibit halos, is apparent. The asteroidal orbits indicate statistically the possible orbits which result from capture processes by Jupiter and to a lesser extent by the other planets. The two asteroidal moons of Mars, and those of Jupiter, Saturn, etc, are undoubtedly captured wanderers of the asteroid belt. This also corresponds with the observation of the groups of comets associated with Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune which are the results of many captures.

It is impossible to make a distinction between short period comet orbits and the orbits of many asteroids,(31) suggesting that the comet nuclei are indeed evolving into the asteroids. The Earth-Moon system is a likely candidate for capture of a new asteroidal moon and, if this occurred, would give an excellent chance to view lunar capture at close range.

Comet wandering is well documented and is explained in the IBCM as due to the ejection of vaporjets from the ice ball.(32) The present theory explains wandering to be the result of variable tail drag, the same effect which causes the circularization of orbit. The interaction of the charges of the Sun and comet nucleus may possibly be significant in highly charged comets with small nuclei, but Part I (KRONOS IX:1) shows by way of a calculation that electrical effects are noticeable only over very long periods of time compared to the dominant effect (e.g., tail drag).(33)
 

NEXT                  PREVIOUS