Revolutionizing Awareness

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Posts Tagged ‘Oort cloud’

Disaster Predictions

Posted by Admin on November 16, 2011

Disaster Predictions
by Owen Waters

I’ve been watching a long litany of disaster predictions come and go for many years.

The amazing thing is: None of them ever came true.

Not one of them, ever!

Last June, for example, I was forwarded an email that contained a particularly dire prediction. It stated that, on September 26th, 2011, Comet ELE would swing by, causing massive 9-point-plus earthquakes here on Earth.

This was no run-of-the-mill comet, by the way. This one was supposed to be more than 300 times the size of the Earth! It was also supposed to bring us three days of darkness while it passed between us and the Sun.

Pretty scary, huh? I thought so, anyway.

Naturally, September the 26th came and went with no sign of Comet Whopper. The only whopper in sight was the big lie behind yet another nonsensical disaster prediction.

Who are these people who make up such horror stories? Are their lives so filled with utter boredom that they have to run around trying to scare people?

The next big upcoming Disaster-Fest will be the Mayan ‘End Time’ in December 2012. The closer we get to that date, the more you’ll hear these people yelling messages like, “The End is Nigh!”

Will the world come to an end in 2012? Is the Mayan End Time the end of all time and life as we know it? Are we about to be smitten by an angry God?

Now is a great time to review our online 2012 article and find out the facts for yourself:

http://www.infinitebeing.com/2012.htm

*If you enjoyed today’s article, forward it to a friend! They will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Owen Waters is the author of Spirituality Made Simple, which is available both as a paperback and a downloadable e-book, at:

http://www.infinitebeing.com/ebooks/simple.htm

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Solar System Surprise: A New View of What’s Out There

Posted by Admin on August 12, 2011

http://www.space.com/544-solar-system-surprise-view.html

by Robert Roy Britt, Senior Science Writer
Date: 22 November 2004 Time: 06:24 AM ET
Size comparison between Sedna and other bodies in the Solar System. Image
CREDIT: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt

A fabled tenth planet out beyond Neptune, often referred to as Planet X, hasn’t been found despite years of searching. But astronomers involved in the hunt are beginning to speculate that something like Planet X will be discovered, along with Y and Z.

In fact, the entire alphabet may not suffice to denote the many worlds circling the Sun.

In an emerging new theoretical view of our corner of the galaxy, several worlds larger than Pluto — a few perhaps as big as Mars — lurk in the outskirts of the solar system. Some are so far away that it would take more than a year, traveling at the speed of light, to reach them.

Wrapping up one search

For years, astronomers have been scouring the Kuiper Belt, a region past Neptune that’s loaded with comet-like objects. The Kuiper Belt extends out to some 5 billion miles (8 billion kilometers) from the Sun. That’s a little more than 50 times the distance between Earth and the Sun, or 50 astronomical units (AU).

Since 1992, more than 800 Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs) have been found. A handful look to be roughly half the size of Pluto. Until recently, the larger KBOs had fueled speculation that one or more Pluto-sized bodies would eventually be found.

“Given that our survey has covered almost the entire region of the Kuiper Belt, I’m willing to bet these days that nothing larger than Pluto will be found in the Kuiper Belt,” says Caltech astronomer Mike Brown.

As hope fades, a study released earlier this month shows that some KBOs are smaller than had been assumed.

The size of a distant object is often based on an estimate of its reflectivity, a measure called albedo. For years astronomers had assumed KBOs were pretty dark, reflecting just 4 percent of the sunlight that hit them.

University of Arizona astronomer John Stansberry used NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to obtain actual albedos for some of these icy objects.

“Our results have albedos ranging from 6 percent to 18 percent for the eight objects I’ve analyzed,” Stansberry said. If a KBO is brighter than thought, then less surface area is required to reflect the amount of sunlight that was measured — so the object’s size must be revised downward.

One object, catalogued as 2002 AW197, was thought to be two-thirds the diameter of Pluto. Stansberry has now shrunk that estimate to about one-third.

Looking into a new realm

Some of the larger objects out there have not shrunk, however, because their actual albedos were already fairly well known. One of these is way, way out there, and it is seen as a missing link to the space beyond the Kuiper Belt.

Last November, Mike Brown’s team found a world at least half as large as Pluto. They named it Sedna, after the Inuit sea goddess. Sedna’s elongated orbit is outside the Kuiper Belt, ranging from 76 to 1,000 AU.

Sedna was found only because it is currently near the innermost stretch of its travels.

Well past Sedna is another reservoir of material left over from the formation of the solar system, theorists believe. The Oort Cloud is a hypothesized sphere of frozen objects thought to start at about 10,000 AU and extend to 100,000 AU, or 1.5 light-years from the Sun.

Nobody expected to find an object like Sedna in the largely empty space between the Kuiper Belt and the Oort Cloud. Theorists are now scrambling to explain Sedna’s presence and what it means to the composition of the outer solar system.

“Sedna could be a member of a substantial population of bodies trapped between the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud,” says the University of Hawaii’s David Jewitt, who made the first accurate estimate of a KBO albedo in 2001.

Brown, who now bets against finding Planet X in the Kuiper Belt, thinks his group’s discovery of Sedna portends an even more compelling scenario.

“I’d also be willing to bet that there are many objects larger than Pluto out in the region of space where Sedna lives,” Brown said last week. Out to about 1,000 AU, he speculates that there could be 10 or 20 Pluto-sized objects, “and a handful of larger things, too.” Some of these suspected worlds could be as big as Mercury or even Mars, he said.

I asked Brown if there might be worlds larger than Pluto clear out at the edge of the Oort Cloud, 1.5 light-years away and nearly half the distance to the Alpha Centauri star system.

“Absolutely,” he said. “Probably even likely.”

Waiting on technology

New telescopes will be needed to connect the dots of the outer solar system.

“Pluto-sized planets in distant near-circular orbits are beyond the reach of current searches,” said Lowell Observatory astronomer Bob Millis, who leads a team that has found more than 400 KBOs. “Future searches tuned to more distant objects and using large telescopes … can begin to probe this region.”

And while Mike Brown has his mental sights set beyond Sedna, Millis thinks there could still be a surprise lurking in the Kuiper Belt.

“It is certainly possible that one or more objects as large as Pluto remain to be found inside about 70 AU,” Millis told me. “No searches performed to date are complete in this region,” although he added that the survey by Brown and his colleagues, Chad Trujillo and David Rabinowitz, “has substantially reduced the likelihood” that such objects exist.

“Beyond about 70 AU,” Millis said, “it is anybody’s guess.”

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Giant Stealth Planet May Explain Rain of Comets from Solar System’s Edge

Posted by Admin on August 12, 2011

http://www.space.com/9612-giant-stealth-planet-explain-rain-comets-solar-system-edge.html

by Charles Q. Choi, SPACE.com Contributor
Date: 01 December 2010 Time: 06:56 AM ET
 

Our sun may have a companion that disturbs comets from the edge of the solar system — a giant planet with up to four times the mass of Jupiter, researchers suggest.

A NASA space telescope launched last year may soon detect such a stealthcompanion to our sun, if it actually exists, in the distant icy realm of the comet-birthing Oort cloud, which surrounds our solar system with billions of icy objects.

The potential jumbo Jupiter would likely be a world so frigid it is difficult to spot, researchers said. It could be found up to 30,000 astronomical units from the sun. One AU is the distance between the Earth and the sun, about 93 million miles (150 million km).

Most systems with stars like our sun — so-called class G stars — possess companions. Only one-third are single-star systems like our solar system.

Not a nemesis

Scientists have already proposed that a hidden star, which they call “Nemesis,” might lurk a light-year or so away from our sun. They suggest that during its orbit, this red dwarf or brown dwarf star would regularly enter the Oort cloud, jostling the orbits of many comets there and causing some to fall toward Earth. That would provide an explanation for what seems to be a cycle of mass extinctions here.

Still, other astronomers recently found that if Nemesis did exist, its orbit could not be nearly as stable as claimed.

Now researchers point to evidence that our sun might have a different sort of companion.

To avoid confusion with the Nemesis model, astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette dub their conjectured object “Tyche” — the good sister of the goddess Nemesis in Greek mythology, and a name proposed by scientists working on NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope.

It is the WISE observatory that, using its all-seeing infrared eye, stands the best chance of having spotted Tyche, if this companion to the sun exists at all, the researchers said. [WISE telescope’s amazing images]

Matese and Whitmire detailed their research Nov. 17 online edition of the journal Icarus.

Comet-flinging sun companion

The researchers noted that most comets that fly into the inner solar system seem to come from the outer region of the Oort cloud. Their calculations suggest the gravitational influence of a planet one to four times the mass of Jupiter in this area might be responsible.

Two centuries of observations have indicated an anomaly that suggests the existence of Tyche, Matese said. “The probability that it could be caused by a statistical fluke has remained very small,” he added.

The pull of Tyche might also explain why the dwarf planet Sedna has such an unusually elongated orbit, the researchers added.

If Tyche existed, it would probably be very cold, roughly minus 100 degrees F (-73 degrees C), they said, which could explain why it has escaped detection for so long — its coldness means that it would not radiate any heat scientists could easily spot, and its distance from any star means it would not reflect much light.

“Most planetary scientists would not be surprised if the largest undiscovered companion was Neptune-sized or smaller, but a Jupiter-mass object would be a surprise,” Matese told SPACE.com. “If the conjecture is indeed true, the important implications would relate to how it got there — touching on the early solar environment — and how it might have affected the subsequent distributions of comets and, to a lesser extent, the known planets.”

Is Tyche really out there?

The fact of Tyche’s existence is questionable, since the pattern seen in the outer Oort cloud is not seen in the inner Oort.

“Conventional wisdom says that the patterns should tend to correlate, and they don’t,” Matese said.

If the WISE team was lucky, it caught evidence for the Tyche solar companion twice before thespace observatory’s original mission ended in October. That could be enough to corroborate the object’s existence within a few months as researchers analyze WISE’s data.

But if WISE detected signs of Tyche only once (or not at all), researchers would have to wait years for other telescopes to confirm or deny the potential solar companion’s existence, Matese said.

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