|Nostradamus C6 - 6
It will appear towards the North,
Not far from the bearded star in Cancer.
Susa, Siena, Boethia, Eretria,
The great man of Rome will die, the night over.
>>You can draw a straight line on a globe that runs from Susa, through Siena and Boethia, right to Eretria (on the Island of Evia off of Greece in the Aegean Sea) >>
|Nostradamus C5 - 98
At the 48th degree of the climacteric,
The end of Cancer, there is a very great drought.
Fish in the sea, river and lake hectically boiled,
Bearn and Bigorre in distress from fire in the sky.
>>Bearn and Bigorre are in Southwest France (and only slightly off of the main path described above) >>
|Nostradamus C2 - 3
Because of heat like that of the sun on the sea,
The fish around Negrepont will be half-cooked.
The local people will eat them,
When in Rhodes and Genoa there is lack of food.
>>Negrepont is in the Aegean Sea >>
|Nostradamus C1 - 69
The great mountain will measure seven stadia around,
After peace, war, famine, flooding.
It will spread far drowning great countries,
Even antiquities and their mighty foundations
>>The antiquities, could well mean the ancient structures in Greece and Italy. Seven stadia, by the way is a little over a Kilometer...bigger than the current estimate for 1998 OX4. >>
Another strike in the same area would be C2 Q81, Nostradamus does call for a solar strike somewhere in this area (again).
Getting Ready for Impact with 1998 OX4?
I am probably going to get myself into a lot of trouble with the following monologue, but...something smells very fishy to me.
What you are about to read is in no way similar to the 76P fantasy (once it got away from science) - or like any of the other "chicken little" scare campaigns you may have read recently on various Boards. I am quoting from official Government sources of information (American, French and British)!
Here we go...
For some months now, Asteroid 1998 OX4 has been quietly identified on the NEODys system as having some real statistical possibility/probability of impacting the Earth this century. But, hey, so have three others (as was another one that was on, then off, the list).
You know, I found it more than a little strange that here we have a 300 to 400 meter wide Asteroid...predicted by NASA and other authorities to be on a COLLISION COURSE with Earth - and not a word in the media about it! After a while I just assumed, after the 1997XF11 fiasco (where some astronomer predicted a collision only to have to take it back a few days later), that the media wasn't going to jump on every prediction.
I mentioned here a few days ago that Great Britain had appointed a special Task Force and that they were about to identify Asteroid/Comet collisions as the number one natural hazard facing their nation today. Well, I have now read their entire report very carefully, and I believe that it might be a stepping stone communique designed to inch a little closer to making a public announcement...that a major asteroid impact is in our immediate future.
I won't get into ALL of the reasons I think this is a possibility in this post, as it would get too lengthy, but let me summarize as follows:
1) The report goes to great lengths describing impact damage and death
tolls for various size and composition asteroids/comets.
2) It spends some considerable time talking about how, with enough advance warning, we could move large population segments away from the impact zone, thus saving some lives (but having to live with property destruction, fire storms, envirnomental impacts, etc., etc.)
3) It states more than once, that once it is known that an Asteroid will impact that we will know exactly where and when the impact will occur.
4) At about page 50 of the report, it then identifies three Asteroids whose collision with Earth cannot be ruled out - two of which are small enough to cause little or no damage on the ground. It leaves 1998 OX4 as being a PROJECTED IMPACT that "has not been ruled out", and then gives a series of possible impact dates.
According to their estimates, found elsewhere in the Report, this Asteroid...if it impacts...could:
1) be anywhere from a "Large sub-global event" to a "Low Global Effect
2) leave an impact crater 6 to 8 Kilometers wide
3) be expected to kill "on average" somewhere between 500 thousand and 1.5 BILLION people.
4) totally destroy an area the size of Delaware
5) release energy equivalent to up to 1,000 Hydrogen bombs.
They give dates of 2014, 2038, 2044 and 2046 as possbile "impact years".
NEODys, by the way, lists these same years (with the exception of 2014). But NEODys also lists 2078 as being a year where this Asteroid's "Minimum Possible Distance" from the Earth could be .0000568AU. That's only 5,270 miles...from the CENTER of the Earth...which would plant it firmly INTO the planet!
Okay, now, its gets a little weirder from here.
This Asteroid, a double Earth crosser by the way, comes around about every two years (every 723 days).
a) The British report was released on Sept. 18, 2000.
b) 1998 OX4 made this year's "close" pass to the Earth on Sept. 20, 2000.
c) It will be back around in 2002, 2004 and 2006.
d) For some VERY STRANGE reason the British report lists the release of the movies Armageddon and Deep Impact, in 1998, among the events over the last 300 years that have led to increases in our understanding of Comets and Asteroids (huh?).
Now get this, and stay with me if you can (or want to maybe)...
The report repeatedly refers to a NASA probe, due to be launched in 2004, called...Deep Impact...that will chase Comet 9P Tempel 1 (so they say) and launch a solid copper projectile into the Comet's nucleus to see how big a hole it makes - and to see how much it alters its orbit - in 2005!
Okay (I SAID it was going to get weirder), in April of 2005 Comet Tempel 1 and Asteroid 1998 OX4 will be in exactly the same region of the Solar System.
Could it be that the Deep Impact probe is actually meant to intercept 1998 OX4 - a KNOWN future EARTH IMPACTOR - instead of Tempel 1? It would be the ideal time to deflect it, still being 17 months away from its next Earth encounter in 2006.
That is, if the "powers that be" actually expect a 2006 impact, and the deflection does not work, then we will have 17 months to implement the civil defence plans the Brits go on at length about.
From all offical Government accounts:
1) Asteroid 1998 OX4 has a high probability of impacting the Earth this
century - and is openly projected to do so!
2) NASA is launching the Deep Impact probe in 2004 specifically to intercept and IMPACT (thus diverting) an NEO object in 2005. The official word now is that it will be Comet 9P Tempel 1...but 1998 OX4 WILL be in the same vicinity!
3) The British are publically calculating the economic costs of an Asteroid impact, making plans to deal with the resultant environmental, industrial and political issues, encouraging activities like the Deep Impact mission to "mitigate" the serious effects of an impact.
4) They (along with the other western powers) are engaging in a systematic program to "educate" the public about (desensitize?) the absolute certainty that an Asteroid/Comet will hit the Earth and cause significant damage and disruption. They enclose all kinds of merry little charts and figures to show that - "shucks folks we get hit every day", no big deal, its just the size of the incoming rocks that vary from year to year...and heck we've had some pretty big boomers over the last few years that most people didn't even notice (in other words, even when they finally make the formal announcement, there will be no need to panic or overreact...it's all perfectly normal and under control).
I apologize for this long post, but I think this may well be serious. If anyone wants additional info I will be glad to post it and discuss everybody's ideas and information.
As a "PS" something REALLY IS fishy here. Something is up for sure...but for all I know 1998 OX4 is just a bit more of the smokescreen, one more to be discarded maybe, before the real impactor is announced (if it isn't actually 1998 OX4).
PPS...I also do not think it was mere coincidence that NASA made a big deal about 2000 RD53 and 2000 QW7 - which were non-events. It is easy to speculate that they were a test of the media/internet "early warning system".
This scenario fits with the Biblical prophesy in Revelation, a 'star' called 'wormwood' i.e. chernobyl, nuclear fallout, falls to the earth, poisoning a third of the water.
If this project is unsuccessful, only part or none is deflected from earth's orbit, then we will be hit with 'nuclear' debris, as well as the impact of the collision.
This is another example of man's stubborn pride and inability to bow before God, asking for help. Instead 'we' proceed to 'fix' the problem, while, as usual making it worse. It says in Revelation that many on the earth will curse God and blame Him for their problems, why can't we just admit we need Him and do things HIs way?
Those who pray and live in Gods' ways, will be led to safe places, it is good to know God and communicate with Him. But blaming our Creator wont fix anything.
WHITLEY STREIBER ON COAST TO COAST 10-20-2000
|THIS ONE MUST HAVE MISSED US BECAUSE YOU AND I ARE
Saturday, Dec. 16, 2000.
Asteroid Could End World Monday
By Kevin O'Flynn
Staff Writer Russian scientists warned this week that life as we know it could end as early as Monday, if any one of the massive asteroids whizzing through the cosmos should happen to be making a beeline for Earth.
"There is a threat to humanity," said Vadim Simonenko, deputy head of the Institute of Technical Physics.
Simonenko was among the impressive array of experts attending a news conference with a title straight from a 1950s B-movie: "Asteroid Danger: How to Save the Earth From Cosmic Catastrophe."
The conference, held Thursday at the House of Journalists, brought together astronomers, physicists and nuclear experts to urge global cooperation in saving the world from a devastating asteroid collision that could leave millions dead or even wipe out civilization entirely.
With asteroids measuring up to 10 kilometers in diameter and traveling at speeds of up to 20,000 kilometers an hour, Earth would stand little chance if it was hit by a big one.
The Thursday gathering including Simonenko, whose institute is a part of the Russian Nuclear Center called for the organization of a world body to scour space for incoming objects and destroy any potentially dangerous flying objects with nuclear missiles.
In the case that preemptive measures fail, the citizens of the world should be prepared to relocate to the moon, the scientists added.
"After a collision with one of these asteroids, there'll be only fragments left of Earth," said Alexander Bagrov, senior scientist at the Institute of Astronomy.
Bagrov added that current technology allows experts to detect incoming objects no earlier than three days ahead of time hence the suggestion that the day of reckoning may come as early as Monday.
Bagrov, a tall, thin balding man with a moonlike face, led the rallying cry of the doom-mongers, telling grim tales of other planets done in by asteroids.
Five billion years ago, he said, the planet Phaeton located between Mars and Jupiter, the area where the orbit of most asteroids lie exploded into millions of bits after being hit by an asteroid 1,000 meters wide.
"And [Phaeton] was many times bigger than Earth," Bagrov warned. "After a collision with one of these asteroids there'd by only fragments left of Earth."
The asteroid that destroyed Phaeton also went on to cause the demise of life on Mars, when one of the fragments of the shattered planet whacked into Mars, causing it to sink into a grim nuclear winter that killed all life forms and turned it the bright red color it is today.
The only trace of life left on Mars is a "face with tears on its cheek" visible on the planet's surface, Bragov said.
Comets and asteroids have been slamming into Earth since time began. A huge asteroid that hit the planet 65 million years ago is believed to have killed off the dinosaurs.
But it has only been in the last 10 to 20 years that scientists have started to seriously consider the threat that asteroids, comets and other so-called NEOs, or Near Earth Objects, potentially pose to contemporary civilization.
"Ten years ago it was thought fantastic," Simonenko said of the concept that life on Earth could be wiped out by a NEO hit.
Everything changed, however, when an American scientist proved that a huge crater in the state of Arizona was caused by a meteorite and not, as previously thought, by volcanic activity.
Scientists now agree that there are millions of asteroids out there that have a chance of hitting the Earth.
If an object of more than 10 kilometers in diameter hits the Earth then there's not much chance of anyone surviving, according to a British task force that earlier this year published research on NEOs. Luckily, the chance of that happening is about once every hundred million years, the research said.
More dangerous are smaller objects of one kilometer or more which could destroy cities, change the climate and cause huge tidal waves all over the Earth.
There are roughly 1,000 such asteroids, roughly half of which have been identified as unlikely to strike the Earth.
An ongoing project at NASA hopes to identify an additional 40 percent of the asteroids within the next decade.
Even smaller objects those under a kilometer would still cause devastation equivalent to a number of nuclear bombs, but few of these have been detected.
Russia has already been hit by two large asteroids in the last 100 years.
In 1908 an asteroid crashed into Tunguska, a remote area of Siberia, causing devastation across an area the size of London.
Nearly 40 years later another asteroid hit Sikote-Alin, also in Siberia, smashing more than a hundred craters into the land.
If one of these asteroids had hit a city then millions of people would have died.
Alone, Russia has little funding to devote to NEO studies.
According to Anatoly Zaitsev, the head engineer at the Scientific Production Association, a manufacturer of satellites, an international body is needed to track all flying objects and act quickly with nuclear missiles if needed.
Zaitsev said that there is also a need to discuss the practical and moral problems associated with NEO vigilance.
Do you really want to tell the citizens of Perm that a meteorite is headed for their town square, he wondered, pointing to the rash of suicides and general panic caused two years ago in the United States when the Haley-Bop comet came unusually close to Earth.
If the big one does come, Zaitsev added, people should be prepared to evacuate the planet potentially relocating to the moon.
But how will we choose who goes, someone asked.
"Ah, that's the problem," Zaitsev said.
Article from the Moscow Times:
|Asteroid Discovered Last Week, Much Closer Than
by Mitch Battros (ECTV)
This latest article by NASA could not stress my concern more pointedly.
Yesterday another asteroid named 2000 UG11 came 10 times closer than 'Toutatis', which zipped by a day earlier. NASA now admits this new asteroid (2000 UG 11) was just found last week. Yes, that's right just discovered last week and 10 times closer.
I hope some of you will better understand my sharp words and concern over NASA's attitude and Public Relations policy. If ancient texts hold true, there is no place for NASA's cutesy attitude, minimizing a certain and real danger.
As a Certified Trauma Resolution Therapist, I can tell you first hand, it will be the sudden shock of information or event, which will cause much more damage then disclosing true information allowing people to be better informed and prepared. The only acceptation might be what is known as a "planet buster". Obviously there is no way to prepare for such an event. However, some would make a good argument, it would help families come together for a final gathering and spiritual preparedness.
But this would never happen. All governments are trained to derail civil unrest and anarchy.
NASA is convinced the better way is to not tell the public what is happening in our universe. Their belief is based on an antiquated report released in 1960 better know as the "Brooking Report". The statistician team was ordered to gather demographics to find how people would act if information was released stating there is intelligent life outside of earth. Their findings was that of chaos, mass hysteria, anarchy.
Basically a collapse of our basic fundamental belief system.
As a result, our government (and perhaps that of the world), decided any such information would be deemed "National Security", therefore will remain undisclosed to the public. Although the Brookings Report was directed at intelligent life outside Earth's, I believe the same holds true for 'earth changing events'.
So the question will remain, would you rather be informed as to unfolding events that effect us all, or would you rather not know until after the fact. (total annihilation withstanding). Reminder, ancient text states "life will end as we know it". This does not mean all life will end. It will simply be part of a bigger plan I call "The
Transition". A moving into another place. Some may call it another dimension, or higher vibration, or the 5th world. Whatever the words, I believe the meaning to be the same. (mb)
(NASA) While the large asteroid 4179 Toutatis captured most of the fanfare on Halloween as it passed 29 lunar distances from Earth, another near-Earth object glided silently by almost ten times closer. 2000 UK11, a house-sized (25-60 meter) space rock discovered just last week, was only 4 lunar distances away from our planet on Nov. 1st.
On Nov. 7, 2000, a bright near-Earth asteroid will zip past our planet just 6.1 times farther away than the Moon. The 250 meter-wide space rock, called 2000 UG11, was discovered by MIT's LINEAR search program on Oct. 25th.
Amateur astronomers with 8 inch or larger telescopes can spot UG11 for themselves as it brightens to 13.5 magnitudes next Tuesday. Around the time of its closest approach, the asteroid will race through the constellations Orion and Taurus as fast as 1 degree per hour.
2000 UK11 is a rare "Aten" object; its orbit is almost entirely inside the orbit of Earth. Amateur astronomers with telescopes capable of tracking 18-20th magnitude objects can spot the asteroid for themselves as it races away from Earth in the days ahead.
|NASA Is Listening!!! by Mitch Battros (ECTV)
Thanks to you, NASA has decided to change their policy and has implemented a clearing house of sorts for newly discovered asteroids. I believe NASA's actions are a direct response to our very serious concerns and questioning of policy.
Here is NASA's official statement... November 3rd 2000 " Recognizing the public interest and concern over possible impacts from small Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs), the International Astronomical Union has established a process to provide international expert review of any discoveries or calculations that predict a close encounter with a non-neglibible chance of future impact." http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news114.html
Perhaps NASA is listening. It is now reported that over 400 asteroids of 1 kilometer or larger (0.62 miles) have been found in just the last year. It has been suggested there are thousands of other asteroids under 1 kilometer. For comparison and to grasp the importance of asteroids much smaller, the one that hit Arizona, known as Meteor Crater, was a mere 150 feet across. http://www.meteorcrater.com/Mcrater.htm
Once again, I wish to thank all of you who helped bring this recent action into play. Never forget...You Do Make A Difference!
Mitch Battros Producer - Earth Changes TV http://www.earthchangesTV.com
Estimate of Killer Asteroids Zooms
By Albuquerque Journal
October 25, 2000
More potential Earth-killing asteroids orbit our sun than recent estimates have suggested, according to new data collected with New Mexico telescopes.
About 1,100 large Earth-crossing asteroids are likely to be zinging through the solar system, according to an analysis by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Scott Stuart.
The risk of one colliding with Earth is still tiny, said Grant Stokes, head of the New Mexico asteroid-hunting project.
But a larger number increases the odds of a catastrophic crash.
"If there are twice as many, there are twice the odds, but the risks are really small," Stokes said.
Previous estimates, published earlier this year, put the number at 500 to 1,000.
Stuart used data from a pair of asteroid-hunting telescopes near Socorro to develop the estimate.
The telescopes are part of a project called LINEARthe Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research Program which has revolutionized the asteroid-hunting business in recent years.
Of the 190 potential killer asteroids discovered since 1995, 135 were found by LINEAR, 10 times more than its closest competitor.
LINEAR's two telescopes scan the sky each night, taking multiple images of each spot in the sky and then scanning them with a computer looking for objects that move.
Finding large numbers of asteroids allowed Stuart to attempt to estimate the overall population of the flying, village-sized rocks, Stokes said.
The study looks at the number of what are called Earth-crossing asteroids larger than 1 kilometer -- a little more than a half milein diameter.
Many large asteroids orbit the sun harmlessly beyond Mars, but occasionally one spirals out of that orbit on a path toward the inner solar system, setting up the possibility it could collide with Earth.
Any large asteroid could wreak havoc on Earth, but a collision with one above 1 kilometer is thought of as an extinction-causing event.
No asteroid that large has hit Earth in recorded history, but in the distant past, such a collision is believed to have killed off the dinosaurs.
NASA has set a goal of finding 90 percent of these large, threatening asteroids over the next 10 years, so their orbits can be tracked to see if any are on a collision course.
By finding so many asteroids, the scientists finally have enough data to begin doing a statistical census of the population of the killer rocks.
Scientists do not know how many potential killer asteroids there are. But they can estimate based on the amount of the sky they have searched and the number they have found there.
Previous estimates have been based on a far smaller number of asteroids, making them less accurate, Stokes said.
Four hundred of the dangerous asteroids have been discovered since scientists began trying to find them. None are in orbits that pose a threat for the foreseeable future.
Stokes said LINEAR's larger-than-expected census of large near-Earth asteroids is a result of the surprising number of such objects in orbits that take them high above the plane of our solar system.
The estimate of 1,100 is significantly larger than the previous best guess of 500 to 1,000, a number published in January based on a smaller number of discoveries with a telescope in Hawaii.
Stokes said LINEAR's estimate is more in line with calculations done by the late Eugene Shoemaker, who estimated the likely number of objects by counting craters on the moon.
(c) 2000 Albuquerque Journal
As Friday Football Fever raged on the fields across Kansas, lights were seen in sky.
Witnesses See Fire in the Sky
WICHITA, Kansas, October 13, 2000
Kansas watches as a strange sight lights up the night.
THERES ONE BIG WHITE LIGHT and around it was like five little balls, just lights, just following them. And then thru the sky there was just like vapors and vapors were like different colors blues and oranges. It was just odd, said eyewitness Anthony Davis of Valley Center.
Weve had reports of the fire in the sky from all over the Midwest. From McCook, Nebraska in the northwest, through Great Bend to El Dorado. In Wichita, hundreds saw the sight.
Gary Bishop of south Wichita said, So I looked over my shoulder and right across the sky from the southwest to the northwest, down a little bit. There was a meteor that left a trail of blue lights. It was beautiful.
As the object screamed across the sky, 911 couldnt keep up with all the calls that were coming in. 911 supervisors say they had more phones ringing than dispatchers to answer them. They say they had around 150 calls from witnesses saying they saw everything from space aliens to a plane crash.
While dispatchers were getting all those calls on the meteor shower, they did have a serious car accident to deal with as well.
Luckily, supervisors say that call got through without much of a wait and response time wasnt affected.
So what was it in the sky? We talked to the North American Air Defense Command to find out. Master Sergeant Larry Lincoln told us, It seems to be a very heavy meteor shower. Our weather people told us to expect something like this from the 10th to the 29th of October, with the heaviest coming down around the 15th. It seems to probably be coming down a little early. The mission of NORAD U.S. Space Command is tracking. Tracks man-made objects, satellites, things like that. Things that are in orbit. So in this case again, its a meteor shower. We would not necessarily see that heavy the I.R. signature, probably wouldnt be significant enough, so thats what people are witnessing.
Thats the official word from NORAD in Colorado Springs. Although no one at the U.S. Space Command there witnessed the event. Their response is based upon our accounts of the lights.
Subj: [earthchanges] It was a comet nucleus (10-13-2000)
After reviewing my Sony digital 8 mm videotape that I took yesterday morning (October 13, 2000) many times and examining many frames individually, I now believe that this object was a comet nucleus. The stubby, fuzzy "wings" are gas jets, and the cylindrical body was about 1.2 arcminutes in diameter and 2.8 arcminutes long at closest approach. I used the Moon to calibrate the image scale of my 20x telephoto zoom lens.
If anyone will volunteer to capture video snips and upload them to the web, I will send them a free copy of my tape. Specify either digital 8 mm or VHS format. The entire sequence is less than two minutes long, but most of that shows me searching for the image, so all you see are high thin clouds moving around the frame. After all the empty frames are edited out, I imagine there might be as much as 30 seconds of tape with the comet visible in the frame.
All others please send a self-addressed, stamped box with a blank tape in it or the cash equivalent.
There are a few brief intervals when the camera was still (between search sweeps when I was fumbling for the zooming control), and I can measure the angular velocity as a function of time. When I do this, I believe I can compute an approximate orbit for this object. The preliminary values range from 2.9 arcminutes/second to 17.5 arcminutes/second. This rules out an airplane. If we assign a velocity of 600 mph = 0.268 km/s to the airplane, and we give it an angular velocity of 0.00509 radians/second we find its altitude would have to be 53 km or 173,000 feet. That rules out a jet aircraft. If we assign a velocity of 100 mph, we get an altitude of 29,000 feet. I don't think that anything but a jet aircraft can fly that high, and I don't think they fly that slow at that altitude. We could postulate a hang-glider going 34 mph at 10,000 feet or 17 mph at 5,000 feet, but this was no hang glider.
This comet nucleus did not enter the atmosphere because there was no plasma trail. It was not the Space Shuttle because it appeared to have a polar orbit, and because I could resolve its shape, and it does not have delta wings. It is not an alien spacecraft because they don't use rocket jets to maneuver. We already ruled out an airplane because the angular velocity is too high, but we also note that it had no vapor trail, and there was no sound. (We didn't rule out a hang glider except visually). All you hear on the sound track is me talking and birds singing.
I hope that after I plot its angular velocity vs. time I will be able to prove that it is in a solar orbit. That would mean it is not a hang glider and it is not in Earth orbit. The fact that it had the same surface brightness as the Moon is consistent with it being illuminated by the Sun. The Sun had already risen, and this object was about 15º west of my meridian.
Isn't it curious that I observed this comet at 12:45:00 UT, exactly 1 hour after my predicted time of 11:45:00 UT? Isn't it curious that at 11:45:00 UT the comet was in the plane defined by my observing location and the Earth's polar axis? I needed that hour to be able to see the comet's illuminated surface in the daylight sky. Isn't it curious that the weather here in Plano, Texas had been cloudy all week, and the sky cleared that Friday morning. Then after I made the observation, the sky became completely overcast within an hour.
People in California would still have had a night sky, but they would also see the unilluminated side of the comet, which would therefore be invisible. People near my meridian or East of it should have been able to observe this comet, but they had to know when and where to look.
It is likely that some other people did observe this comet visually. But would they know where to report their observations? I wonder. My wife observed with me during the 11:45 UT interval, but then she had to go to work, so she missed seeing it.
More later after I do some calculations.
Glen W. Deen, BSEE
Dayton C. Miller observed the ether wind: "The Ether-Drift Experiment" Reviews
of Modern Physics, 5, 202-242 (1933).
|Wednesday September 27, 2000
Square Craters Found On Eros
By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer, SPACE.com
WASHINGTON -- Space scientists are squaring off with asteroid Eros.
The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft has eyed unusual square craters on asteroid 433 Eros, about 109 million miles (176 million kilometers) from Earth.
The NEAR photo find suggests that the space rock is riddled with a system of faults, fractures, and cracks. Such craters, scientists say, offer new clues to the age and history of Eros.
"There are weird-shaped craters on Eros. It's turned out to be a very complex place," said Olivier Barnouin-Jha, a crater expert on the NEAR project at the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.
APL built the NEAR, which was launched in February 1996, and serves as mission control for the asteroid-surveying spacecraft.
Barnouin-Jha told SPACE.com that the odd-shaped craters appear to have been formed within pre-existing faults on Eros. As the craters were being created, those faults served to contain the shock wave resulting from the explosive smacks into Eros' surface, he said.
Square pegs and round holes
Eros is not the only solar system body to have square holes amid round craters.
"We've actually seem them before. They are usually seen with smaller craters. They've been observed on the moon, although for different reasons. We're seeing a lot more of these with the new Mars Global Surveyor data as well, Barnouin-Jha said.
Here on Earth, stamped into the desert near Winslow, Arizona, is the Barringer Meteor Crater. Created some 50,000 years ago, its rim takes on a square-shaped look due to fractured terrain around the impact site.
On Eros, sightings of squared-off craters are on the rise.
"There are numbers of these craters. Once you start looking you see more and more of them," Barnouin-Jha said.
The NEAR probe now orbiting Eros has pegged the asteroid to be a consolidated body, but with a ubiquitous fabric of ridges and grooves. That suggests that Eros might have an extensively fractured interior.
Playing the cratering record
Barnouin-Jha said that studies of Eros' craters show that the asteroid is quite strong. "Gravity is not playing a very large role at all in controlling cratering on Eros," he said.
That is consistent with the bigger picture, that the asteroid is peppered with loads of faults, through and through. Yet Eros is not a broken rubble pile, Barnouin-Jha said.
"I think we're going to learn about cratering history, the evolution of Eros, and I think of asteroids in general," he said.
The NEAR spacecraft has been circuiting Eros since February. It is now flying in a 62-mile (100 kilometer) circular orbit above the asteroid's surface.
A low-altitude flight -- down to within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of the surface -- is slated for NEAR on October 25.
Louise Prockter, member of the NEAR imaging team at APL, said "we're overwhelmed with images" of Eros.
About 105,000 pictures have been relayed to Earth.
Given all those Eros pictures of the "hard body" asteroid, there never is a dull moment, Prockter said.
"I can definitely say that's never the case. There's something every day that comes in that we haven't seen before that is really cool," she said.
|Friday September 22, 2000
Eros Unveiled: New Clues to Solar System's Birth
By Lee Siegel
Science Writer, SPACE.com
The first known landslides on an asteroid have been spotted on Eros, a 20-mile-long, potato-shaped space rock that is providing new clues about the formation of the solar system and the birth of planets. The NEAR-Shoemaker spacecraft, which has orbited Eros since Valentines Day, has also determined the asteroid is not a huge rubble pile, but is solid rock with a surface layer of rubble created by numerous collisions early in its 4.6-billion-year history.
The collisions pocked Eros with craters, cracked it to produce ridges and grooves, and made landslides tumble down steep slopes.
The bland-yellowish asteroids mass is one-billionth that of Earths, and its gravity thousands of times less powerful. Nevertheless, the gravity is strong enough to pull landslides downhill and keep the rubble from flying into space as Eros rotates once every 5.27 hours.
Those are among findings of the first published studies from the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) Shoemaker spacecrafts $224 million mission to Eros. The studies, conducted by dozens of scientists using NEARs camera and instruments, were printed September 22 in the journal Science. NEAR-Shoemaker, named for late planetary geologist Gene Shoemaker, is the first spacecraft to rendezvous with an asteroid instead of flying past.
Primitive hard rock
NEARs discoveries at Eros are "helping us define the record of how the solar system and the planets formed," said Maria Zuber, a planetary scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The spacecraft determined Eros is a mostly solid sample of rock left over from the solar systems birth almost 4.6 billion years ago, when solid objects theoretically condensed from a swirling disk of gas and dust, then clumped together to form planets.
The asteroids solidity and primordial composition suggest Eros did not form when smaller pieces clumped together, but instead broke off an even bigger object during a huge collision as the solar system was born.
That means scientists are closer to showing that gas and dust in the earliest solar system were able to condense into objects large enough about 60 miles (100 kilometers) wide to gravitate toward each other to form planets, Zuber said. Eros is 20 miles (32 kilometers) long, so its parent body must have been almost big enough to have planet-forming potential, she said.
NEAR-Shoemaker confirmed that Eros a member of the S-class or most common type of asteroid has the same mineral makeup as the most common meteorites, ordinary chondrites, which are believed to have been blasted off asteroids during collisions.
Meteorites "give us the most detailed chemistry and chronology of the early solar system so we can tell how it all came together, how quickly the stuff that made the planets cool and condense," said MIT scientist Richard Binzel.
Researchers long suspected chondrites came from S-class asteroids, located mostly in the inner part of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. NEAR has helped astronomers definitively tie the meteorites chronology of solar system formation to their "return address" in the inner asteroid belt, Binzel said.
"We are getting an idea of what was likely there, just beyond the orbit of Mars, just before the solar system formed," said Don Yeomans, a planetary scientist at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "These are the same chunks that formed that Earth."
A groovy mystery
NEAR-Shoemakers X-ray spectrometer revealed the asteroid contains low levels of aluminum relative to silicon and magnesium, indicating it never re-melted or formed layers like Earth, and thus is unchanged since the solar systems birth. Nevertheless, a spiral pattern of grooves encircling the asteroid resembles layering a mystery not yet solved, Zuber said.
Zuber led a study in which NEAR-Shoemaker bounced a laser beam off Eros 8 million times to precisely measure distances, producing a three-dimensional topographic map of Eros, named for the Greek god of love.
The method determined the asteroid is 20.318 miles (32.697 kilometers) long a bit different than earlier estimates. It is almost 7 miles (11 kilometers) tall and deep.
The map and some of NEARs 103,300 photos showed Eros has a 3.4-mile-wide (5.5-kilometer-wide) impact crater provisionally named Psyche, for Eros beloved, and 6-mile-wide (10-kilometer-wide) saddle-shaped depression named Himeros, after Eros primary attendant. The saddle is a low ridge connecting two peaks.
Himeros, which is less cratered than the rest of Eros, may be the surface where Eros broke off a larger object that was struck by yet another space rock, Zuber said. Or Himeros may just be the place where part of Eros was knocked off during a collision with a similar-size object.
Once thought to be a rubble pile held together only by gravity, Eros topography shows the asteroid was shaped both by gravity and by the material strength of its solid bedrock.
Evidence of gravity at work includes lighter-colored areas where rubble landslides moved down crater walls or other slopes; places where impacts pulverized rock, which fell to form crater rims; and bowl-shaped impact craters typical of planets and moons with gravity fields.
Landslides indicate the asteroid is "not just a stagnant body sitting out there," said Zuber, who knew of no previous observations of landslides on an asteroid. She said the slides likely were triggered when other objects hit Eros.
Evidence that Eros is mostly consolidated rock comes from steep slopes. Four percent of the slopes exceed 30 degrees the angle of repose needed for loose rock to slide so they must be solid rock.
Some impact craters on Eros have angular rather than circular shapes and have subdued rims signs that incoming objects, moving slowly in low gravity, dented hard rock rather than rubble, Zuber said.
Long ridges and grooves on Eros surface may be surface signs of fractures that extend through Eros and were caused by impacts, said Zuber and imaging team leader Joseph Veverka of Cornell University. Other signs of impacts on Eros include blocks of rock, up to 330 feet (100 meters) wide, that were ejected when other objects hit Eros.
Tracking the spacecraft as it was tugged by Eros gravity, the NEAR radio science team calculated the asteroids mass as 14,742 trillion pounds (6,687 trillion kilograms).
"Its about one-billionth the mass of the Earth," said Yeomans, the team leader. "A 200-pound (90-kilogram) person on Earth would weigh about an ounce (28 grams) on Eros. It wouldnt take an Olympian to leap completely off this thing."
The measurements were used to calculate that Eros has a density 2.67 times greater than water, a bit lower than Earths crust. That suggests Eros is not completely solid rock, but has surface rubble up to 330 feet (100 meters) thick, Zuber said.
Yeomans calculations reinforce the existence of surface rubble. He found rotational forces on Eros are inadequate to overcome gravity and fling rock and dust into space. Learning Eros is mostly solid is important in case it or a similar asteroid ever gets on a collision course with Earth and nuclear bombs are used to deflect it, Zuber said.
"Knowing what its made of and how tightly it is held together would aid significantly in planning how best to deflect it," she said. "You dont want to break the thing into more pieces that would hit Earth."
Soft landing approved
NASA has approved ending NEARs mission next February by attempting a slow landing on Eros, said Mike Buckley, spokesman for John Hopkins Universitys Applied Physics Laboratory, which runs the mission. The effort is a test for future spacecraft that would scoop samples from asteroids.
The spacecraft was launched Feb. 17, 1996, flew past asteroid 253 Mathilde a big rubble pile in June 1997, then made an aborted effort to rendezvous with Eros in December 1998 before finally orbiting the asteroid last February 14.
|Monday September 18, 2000
Scientists Eye Dangerous Asteroids
By IAN PHILLIPS, Associated Press Writer
LONDON (AP) - They may only strike every 100,000 years on average, but life-threatening asteroids could be heading Earth's way, and scientists said Monday they want a closer look.
A panel set up this year by the British government to assess the risk of asteroids slamming into the planet called for an international program to build a powerful $22.5 million telescope in the southern hemisphere.
``The risk is very real - and very tiny - but with awful consequences, and we ought to be doing something about it,'' said Sir Crispin Tickell, Britain's former ambassador to the United Nations (news - web sites) and a member of the panel, which published its report on Monday.
Although millions are already being spent trying to track Near Earth Objects, or NEOs, scientists acknowledge they're very much in the dark. Asteroids near Earth travel at between 10 and 20 miles per second, making them hard to detect. As a result, scientists watch their orbits to predict their expected course.
According to the U.S. space agency NASA (news - web sites), at the beginning of 2000, only about half the estimated 500-to-1,000 near-Earth asteroids measuring half a mile across or larger - big enough to cause a global catastrophe - had been detected.
The proposed 10-foot telescope would see further and wider and be able to pick up the faintest of glows, the panel said. Operated robotically, it would supplement the coverage of other telescopes in operation in the northern hemisphere.
``It's a question of giving ourselves a chance,'' said Robert Massey, an astronomer at Britain's Royal Observatory in Greenwich. ``We would be able to spot trouble 10 to 100 years away and could take steps accordingly.''
``On the other hand, if it were a year away, probably the best we could do would be to duck,'' Massey said.
Objects hitting the Earth have caused devastating damage over millions of years. One impact off the coast of what is now Mexico 65 million years ago is thought to have led to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Another impact in 1908 in Siberia knocked down trees with its shock waves over hundreds of square miles.
The report listed nine objects that have come within two lunar distances of the Earth - about 497,120 miles - since 1991. In May 1996, an object 984 feet wide, called JA1, came as close as about 298,000 miles to the planet.
It also called for further study into how to destroy a sizable object on a collision course with the planet. One possibility is a nuclear explosion by the side of an asteroid to divert it from its course.
Recent Hollywood blockbusters ``Armageddon'' and ``Deep Impact'' have heightened public awareness about asteroid disasters.
NASA has already earmarked more than $1 billion to gain a better scientific understanding of asteroids, which are rocky or metallic bodies hurtling through space mostly in a band between Jupiter and Mars.
One British lawmaker, whose grandfather had an asteroid named after him to acknowledge his lifelong campaign to warn of impending disaster, welcomed Monday's proposal.
``We are playing Russian roulette with the future of the planet if we do nothing about it,'' said Lembit Opik. ``It would be a bit like Armageddon, but probably we would not want to send Bruce Willis.''
The panel is chaired by Dr. Harry Atkinson, formerly of the Science and Engineering Research Council and a past chairman of the European Space Agency's council.
|Monday September 18, 2000
Report Calls for More Asteroid Protection
By Patricia Reaney
LONDON (Reuters) - It wiped out the dinosaurs 65 millions years ago and only happens every 100,000 years, but British scientists said Monday it is now time to take steps to protect Earth from a major asteroid strike.
``These impacts are of low frequency but high consequences,'' said Professor David Williams, a former president of the Royal Astronomical Society.
``The risk is very real, very tiny and we need to do something about it,'' he told a news conference.
Williams and other members of the Task Force on Near-Earth Objects have urged Britain to spearhead an international effort to monitor comets and asteroids to reduce the risk of a devastating collision.
In a report released Monday, the task force appointed by Science Minister Lord Sainsbury in January listed a series of recommendations to reduce the odds of a collision that could kill millions of people.
``No known asteroid or comet is likely to hit Earth in the next 50 years but there are many we do not know about,'' said Dr Harry Atkinson, who led the task force.
The heart of the proposed early warning system is a new telescope to be built in the southern hemisphere to survey smaller objects than those usually observed by other telescopes.
The telescope would cost an estimated $21 million and the entire project, which involves the use of other telescopes, space missions, monitoring and an asteroid defense center, could run into billions.
Lord Sainsbury said: ``This is such an obviously international situation that it very much one where the international community should work together.''
The Bigger The Object The Smaller The Risk
Near-Earth objects can range from pebble size to a something resembling a mountain. The bigger the object the smaller the risk there is of it colliding with Earth.
Hollywood blockbusters ``Deep Impact'' and ``Armageddon'' have raised public awareness of the dangers of near-miss encounters. The British proposal wants to make sure it never happens.
A collision with a large asteroid 0.6 miles in diameter could kill a quarter of the world's population.
The warning system would allow scientists to monitor asteroids and if a collision is likely populations could be evacuated or the object could be deflected with a missile.
The U.S. space agency NASA (news - web sites) is already monitoring the skies for objects greater than one kilometer in diameter. Congress wants NASA to detect at least 90 percent of all near-Earth objects that size within 10 years.
The British proposal will search the skies for smaller but potentially dangerous objects.
Scientific evidence suggests a huge asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs. Experts believe that up to 10,000 football-sized asteroids hit Earth every year but most go unnoticed.
|Monday September 11, 2000
Protecting the Earth
By Paul Hoversten
Washington Bureau Chief, SPACE.com
WASHINGTON -- It sounds like the stuff of science fiction.
A robot spacecraft flies off to another planet, scoops up some soil and brings it back to Earth. Inside that scoop of dirt are living things that somehow escape, run amok and threaten our world.
The scenario might sound outlandish until you consider this: For the first time since the 1960's Apollo moon landings, the federal government is making plans to protect Earth from any extraterrestrial life forms brought back -- on purpose -- by scientific space missions.
The stakes could not be higher. Anything, from otherworldly contaminants to virulent microbes, are possible as NASA plans for missions that would retrieve bits of Mars and other cosmic bodies in the years ahead. The concern is that a harmful visitor from space might wind up endangering Earth's environment or its inhabitants.
The first such sample-return mission is already on its way. Stardust, which was launched early last year, is chasing icy Comet Wild 2, which is half a billion miles (805 million kilometers) from Earth. The probe is designed to gather particles from the comet's tail and bring them to Earth in 2006. The particles will be microscopic -- all of them could easily fit inside the period at the end of this sentence -- and probably won't contain any traces of life.
But other missions could fetch pieces of Mars or Jupiter's moon Europa, where life is more likely to be found. Other possible pickup points include Venus and the nucleus of a comet. In late 2002, the United States and Japan plan to launch a probe called Muses C to bring a chunk of an asteroid to Earth in 2007.
Contain a strain
As elated as scientists might be to find evidence of life in any of those places, they plan to be careful to keep it contained. No one, after all, wants an "Andromeda Strain" on their hands.
"If there is a living organism in a sample returned from Mars, you don't want to let it out," said Margaret Race, a biologist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.
"You don't have to look very far to come up with examples on Earth like the medfly, killer bee or gypsy moth to see that when you move a species from one place to another you can cause unintended problems, sometimes with significant impacts," she said.
No longer do space scientists have to worry just about "forward" contamination, that is, exporting Earthly bacteria into the solar system. Now, there's the danger of "back" contamination -- importing space bacteria to us. A 1967 international agreement, to which the United States is a signatory, establishes a requirement that spacefaring nations avoid contamination in either direction.
To that end, NASA is forming an internal "planetary-protection" committee of about 15 people to determine the care and handling of extraterrestrial samples. Assisting it will be another group with representatives from other federal agencies, including the departments of Health and Human Services; Agriculture; Interior; and Energy, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institutes of Health.
"Unconstrained experiments is not what we're about so we're going to be conservative," said John Rummel, NASA's chief planetary protection officer.
The National Research Council (NRC) two years ago ranked various objects in the solar system on their potential for life and issued recommendations on how to handle material from them. That July 1998 report followed a study by the NRC a year early on recommendations for NASA's proposed Mars sample-return mission, which has since been put on hold.
"The central concern is the possibility that samples returned to Earth from small solar bodies might harbor living entities that could harm terrestrial living organisms or disrupt their ecosystems," the report said.
Where life may live
At the top of the NRC list -- where the chances for life are greatest and thus "strict containment and handling are warranted" -- are Mars, Jupiter's moons Europa and Ganymede and certain types of asteroids.
Scientists doubt that meat-munching bugs or anything harmful to humans might exist in those places since there would be no such food source there.
"Being a human pathogen on Mars right now is not a very good business to be in," Rummel said. "You might find something that gobbles hydrogen but it wouldn't pose a threat to humans."
At the bottom of the NRC list, where there is little or no chance for life and only basic containment would be needed, are places like the moon and interplanetary dust particles. Still, no one is taking chances.
"Nobody is proposing that cometary samples be brought back willy-nilly or handed around to kids in the neighborhood," Rummel said. "These samples are going to be handled very carefully."
Space dust and Martian fossils
The Earth, in fact, is bombarded with dust and rocks from comets and other bodies. Each year about 40,000 tons of space material falls onto land or in the ocean, scientists estimate. At least some of it is believed to have survived atmospheric entry without severe heating.
Already, there are bits of Mars on Earth in the form of 15 confirmed meteorites, most of them found in remote places like the Sahara Desert or Antarctica. Perhaps the most famous of the Martian meteorites -- known as ALH 84001 -- set off a stir worldwide when a team of NASA scientists announced in August 1996 that the potato-shaped rock appeared to contain the fossilized remains of ancient Martian bacteria.
But that and other meteorites got to Earth the hard way -- on their own, blazing through the atmosphere. Some are displayed in museums, others are in the hands of private collectors and a few are being studied in laboratories around the world.
By contrast, samples brought back by NASA's probes will arrive in their own sealed container at the end of a parachute to cushion the fall. Drop zones likely will be places like the Australian outback or Utah's Dugway Proving Ground, a military base where the U.S. Army tests biological and chemical defense systems.
There, NASA scientists can retrieve and examine the space samples under secure conditions before carting them off to a special "receiving laboratory." No facility yet exists to handle extraterrestrial material. The closest thing to it -- a biological containment lab set up at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston for the Apollo moon missions -- was dismantled after the program ended in 1972.
Locked down in a lab
Most of the 843 pounds (382 kilograms) of moon rocks remain locked down in a special lab at the center, bathed in nitrogen gas to prevent contamination by Earth bacteria. The new lab could be at any of three NASA centers -- JSC, Ames Research Center in Mountain View and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California -- that are involved in the planning for missions to return space samples. Or NASA might decide to locate it elsewhere.
Wherever the laboratory winds up, it probably will be modeled after lab standards at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, which has four protection levels for scientists studying infectious Earth organisms.
Samples from Mars or Europa would be handled under strict conditions similar to the highest protection protocol -- Level 4. At that level, researchers wear pressurized spacesuits and handle samples of fatal viruses such as Ebola in special safety cabinets.
"We have the technology for containment so that's not the issue," said Noreen Noonan, the EPA's assistant administrator for research and development who headed an advisory panel on planetary protection. "If you look at places like some government labs or military bases, they work with organisms that would scare the living daylights out of you if they ever got away."
The bigger question, Noonan said, is "looking at risk from the standpoint of what are the likely scenarios? We have no evidence to suggest that things will actually come back on these missions But the whole idea of how to manage risk is very poorly understood, and the scientific community has not covered itself in glory in trying to explain it."
So far, NASA is trying to adhere to the guidelines set by the National Research Council. The agency's planetary-protection committee is to meet next month to adopt a charter and set the framework for decisions governing future missions.
"This is one of those cases where the government's doing something right," said SETI's Race, who is not connected with NASA but is working with the agency on the issue.
"They've been taking it very seriously," she said. "I'm comfortable in that if there were any reasons why we should not be [retrieving samples], then credible scientists should have stood up and said 'Hey, don't do this.' And they have not."
|Friday September 8, 2000
Big Extinction Wiped Out Plants, Too, Study Finds
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The greatest mass extinction on Earth, which wiped out up to 85 percent of all animal life 250 million years ago, also killed off most of the plants, scientists said Friday.
Evidence from South Africa's Karoo region suggests strongly that many species of plants disappeared at the end of the Permian period, along with oceans teeming with creatures.
So many plants were lost that once-meandering rivers turned into straight-flowing steams laden with sediment stripped from land no longer held in place by roots, the team at the University of Washington and the South African Museum found.
Dave Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington who worked on the study, said the finding did not explain what caused the huge extinction.
``Maybe the same thing killed both (animals and plants) at the same time,'' he said in a telephone interview. ``With what we have we can't say. But it does suggest that it was global and it was big.''
Before the Permian extinction, the Earth's seas were filled with odd and fantastic life, from the first fish to nautilus-like mollusks called ammonites.
Trilobites, once found almost everywhere, disappeared. There were 10,000 different species of the arthropods, which could roll up like pill bugs.
Fossil evidence suggests at least 85 percent of all marine species and 70 percent of the land animal species, mostly reptiles and amphibians, perished in less than 1 million years -- very quickly by geological standards.
So many creatures died that fungi dominated the land for a short time, according to some studies.
Theories as to what could cause such devastation include an asteroid impact -- now accepted as the probable cause of the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
Scientists also believe radiation from a supernova, excessive volcanic activity, a huge ``burp'' of trapped gases from beneath the ocean or perhaps global warming may have caused the extinctions.
Montgomery and colleagues were looking for physical evidence of what may have happened in the Karoo Basin, a relatively untouched wasteland that is prized as a kind of living laboratory for paleontologists.
They found evidence of ancient riverbeds dating to the time of the extinction 250 million years ago. These riverbeds took a form known as braided streams, which run straight and fast and branch out for short distances before merging back to the primary stream.
These are rarely found today. Most rivers meander, making long, swooping curves. And meandering rivers had developed before the Permian extinction, as well.
Writing in Friday's issue of the journal Science, the researchers said the conclusion is clear. Whatever caused the Permian extinction was major.
``That change triggered changes in vegetation that were catastrophic and global and those may have triggered basic and catastrophic changes in the basic morphology of rivers,'' Montgomery said.
``It is very hard to get a meandering river to go into a braided river. It really suggests that it was biggie.''
Such changes are seen today in places where volcanoes have killed all the vegetation on land. ``It is the kind of change that we are seeing at Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines, in response to the eruption there,'' Montgomery said.
``A massive amount of sediment is being dumped into the rivers there. Narrow, steeper mountain rivers are being turned into braided channels.''
The finding could also help explain what other scientists have found -- that huge amounts of carbon showed up at the bottom of the seas at the time of the extinction. Carbon is found in all life forms.
``All that dead stuff had to go somewhere,'' Montgomery said.
|NOTE: I picked up this paper from a stack I was saving
because it said we were going to get hit by a comet NASA was hiding from
us in October. I didn't realize this paper was two years old. Guess what!
Here we are again! Again being threatened by comets in October! What is
is about October?
Here are two pics from the other day.
Excerpted from Weekly World News by George Smith
NASA ON TOP SECRET RED ALERT - DOOMSDAY COMET SPEEDING TOWARD EARTH: ESTIMATED COLLISION DATE: OCT. 29, 1998
PARIS: A massive comet as big as Europe is speeding toward earth and unless we can find some way to stop it, 3 billion people will die when the giant space rock hits - possibly as early as October!
That's the word from a team of frantic scientists who've secretly met wtih leaders of the world's major powers at least six times since America's Hubble space Telescope first photographed the run-away comet in April (1998)
In their emotion charged and often grim meetings here, scientists have urged leaders of the United States, Russia, England, France, Germany, Japan and China to find the use of nuclear weapons to attempt to vaporize the comet while it is safely out in space - though most experts concede that this plan has little, if any chance of success.
"The chilling fact is, most scientists now agree that any attempt to shot a comet or an asteroid out of the sky, or even to alter its course, with nuclear weapons is a virtual impossibility" insisted famed astronomer Dr. Robert Cremson, one of nine scientists who've been busy spurring the world's political leaders to action.
"But it's also a fact that at this point, the use of nuclear weapons is the only plan anyone has come up with that has any chance at all of ending this threat to life as we know it."
Dr. Cremson said President Clinton, who has slipped out of Washington to attend at least three of the secret Paris conferences, is so concerned about the impending disaster that he has authorized the expenditure of the more than $4 billion that NASA and the Pentagon say they'll need to modify land-based missiles for an assault on the killer comet.
"Mr. Clinton is gravely concerned, as are all the leaders who met in Paris." the scientists said. "We may have our political and ideological differences among nations here on Earth, but now that the human race is threatened with extinction, the worlds leaders seem willing to set aside these differences in an attempt to save the lives of every man, woman, and child on the planet.
"The trouble is, right now we simply don't have a clue what do do next."
But experts say unless we find some way to stop it, there is a 93 percent chance that the gigantic chunk of ice, rock and space debris will slam into Earth at a mind-boggling 141,000 m.p.h. on or around October 29.
"At that point, one of two things could happen," Dr. Cremson said. "In the first scenario, the impact would smash earth to bits, sending fragments hurtling into space and killing us all, Or it's possible Earth would remain intact. But in that case, the collision would no doubt kick millions of tons of dirt and debris into the atmosphere, veiling the sun and plunging us into a temporary but devastating deep-freeze - much like the one believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs after a comet collided with earth 65 million years ago.
"Its likely, that to us as human beings, it won't much matter which scenario takes place, however - because it's very likely that either way, the human race will cease to exist."
It was Dr. Cremson, a world -renowned astronomer with close ties to NASA, who first discovered the so-called Cremson Comet while examining Hubble photographs last spring.
After identifying a tiny point of light appearing on one of the photos as a comet, the scientist began to monitor its speed and trajectory with an earthbound telescope and determined that it was on a collision course with earth.
Dr. cremson immediately alerted NASA and fellow astronomers around the world, who persuaded world leaders to gather for the series of "red-alert" meetings that began here in May. "Were really struggling because no one knows what we can do to ward off this comet," Dr. Cremson said, "But we will do something, that's for certain. "We will do something because we must do something."
- impactor table
[ 2001PM9 home page
Object: 2001PM9 date MJD sigma sigimp dist +/- width stretch p_RE YYYY/MM (RE) (RE) AU/sig -------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2005/06 53525.558 -0.9900 2.4080 51.81 +/-21.100 0.1051 0.0000016776 2007/06 54255.522 -2.5200 0.8779 18.42 +/-19.847 0.1465 0.0000012792 2009/06 54985.871 -2.5600 0.5237 11.33 +/-19.730 3.2268 0.0000000584 2032/05 63386.800 -2.5000 1.2742 27.13 +/-20.511 142.6049 0.0000000013 2038/05 65578.297 -2.5300 1.3716 28.78 +/-20.256 373.4345 0.0000000005 2038/06 65578.322 -2.4900 1.4884 31.44 +/-20.450 87.7267 0.0000000021 2040/05 66308.922 -2.4850 1.8155 38.22 +/-20.500 74.5984 0.0000000024 2042/05 67039.454 -2.4800 1.9329 40.53 +/-20.453 63.4053 0.0000000029 2044/05 67769.889 -2.4750 1.6987 35.71 +/-20.432 50.2606 0.0000000036 2046/06 68500.414 -2.4700 1.7801 37.68 +/-20.604 40.2054 0.0000000045 2048/05 69231.031 -2.4600 2.3309 48.28 +/-20.283 32.0935 0.0000000057 2050/06 69961.395 -2.4550 1.8379 38.58 +/-20.447 25.1484 0.0000000072 2051/05 70326.580 -2.5050 1.6885 36.16 +/-20.825 328.6767 0.0000000005 2052/06 70691.876 -2.5350 1.8821 38.05 +/-19.685 451.9460 0.0000000004 2052/05 70692.001 -2.4399 2.2503 46.94 +/-20.416 20.5569 0.0000000089 2054/06 71422.546 -2.4300 2.3884 49.80 +/-20.432 16.4697 0.0000000111 2056/06 72152.979 -2.4150 2.1059 44.08 +/-20.458 11.9561 0.0000000152 2058/06 72883.528 -2.3900 2.2948 48.30 +/-20.612 8.2800 0.0000000218 2060/06 73614.114 -2.3600 2.7454 56.85 +/-20.344 5.1553 0.0000000355 2062/04 74344.405 -2.5100 2.0571 44.76 +/-21.272 514.4338 0.0000000003 2062/06 74344.530 -2.3050 2.3846 50.27 +/-20.660 2.6494 0.0000000680 2063/05 74709.701 -2.5200 2.2797 44.28 +/-18.986 4326.032 0.0000000000 2063/04 74709.643 -2.4950 2.0247 42.82 +/-20.656 198.0037 0.0000000009 2064/06 75075.047 -2.3050 2.6405 54.70 +/-20.338 56.6579 0.0000000032 2067/05 76170.796 -2.5250 2.5060 50.33 +/-19.684 1074.343 0.0000000002 2074/06 78727.437 -2.5050 2.3284 49.67 +/-20.903 452.7894 0.0000000004 2075/06 79092.726 -2.4850 2.3653 49.99 +/-20.710 142.3082 0.0000000013 2076/05 79457.902 -2.5400 2.1117 43.54 +/-20.144 340.8524 0.0000000005 2079/06 80553.750 -2.4800 2.4464 51.44 +/-20.619 98.4295 0.0000000018 Based on 31 optical observations (of which there are 1 rejected outliers) from 11/8/2001 to 16/8/2001. Asteroids/Comets New and VERY DANGEROUS Impactor Discovered Tom Canada -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sorry to be the one to break this news, but a new Earth Impactor Asteroid has just been announced by
NEODys, and this one... 1) Is very big 2) Is on the same order of magnitude of impact probability as 2001AV43 3) Will possibily impact the Earth in the very near future! Let me introduce you to Asteroid 2001PM9. a) Discovered on August 11, 2001 and observed up until August 16th. Its orbit was computer and posted (8-17-01) b) It's Absolute Magnitude suggests it is anywhere from 530m to 1.2km in diameter... that's up to nearly 3/4 of a mile in diameter! c) It will make a relatively close pass to within .089AU on May 10, 2003. The first possible impact date calculated and the one with the highest probability of occurring is set for June 17, 2005. If it misses Earth on that pass there are another 28 possible impact dates calculated between 2005 and 2079. Dear Readers, following are some facts that ought to set you right back in your chair, grow you some some grey hairs - or cause a certain amount of lost sleep. If 2001PM9 impacts the Earth... 1. It will be the kind of impact event that only happens once every 25,000 to 500,000 years. 2. It will impact with a force of somewhere between 100,000 to 800,000 Megatons 3. It will be somewhere between a "Large Sub-Global Event" to a "Nominal Global Effect Threshold" Event. 4. It is estimated that an impact of this order would result in the loss of anywhere between 500,000 and 1.5 Billion lives (depending on exactly where it hit). Ladies and Gentlemen, if and when 2001PM9 impacts the Earth... a) If it hits in the Ocean tsunamis could reach "global scale". b) If it hits land it could completely destroy an area the size of California c) Could raise enough dust to affect the climate and freeze crops. d) Create a crater up to 30 km in diameter (18 miles around). e) Cause ozone layer destruction on a global scale. If you worried a little about 1998OX4 and 2001AV43...be very concerned about this one. We really need to push the button on this one (get the word out and get a lot more information). (Will be updated when available)
|Date: 8/24/2001 6:40:12 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: email@example.com (Bill Hamilton)
A newly discovered asteroid whose orbit around the Sun had only been tentatively investigated was rumored last weekend to be on a collision course with Earth.
As with similar cases in recent years, further scientific observations showed the asteroid, called 2001 PM9, poses no threat.
But before these additional observations could be made, the initial data collected on the space rock was released on a public Web site called NEODyS, which is run by scientists who hunt for and study potentially hazardous asteroids. The site is intended to inform other astronomers of newly found asteroids, in part so that additional observations can be made.
However, when 2001 PM9 was announced on NEODyS (Near Earth Objects Dynamic Site) on Friday, Aug. 17, it included odds of a possible impact in 2005 and 2007 that were better than 1-in-a-million. Slim, but not none.
By early this week, the odds had been revised to none. Yet over the weekend, a handful of other Web sites disseminated the earlier information, some adding personal fears to their reports.
On a Web site called The Hot Sheets, a visitor posted details of the asteroid that included this warning: "Dear Readers, following are some facts that ought to set you right back in your chair, grow you some grey hairs -- or cause a certain amount of lost sleep."
Not the first time
While not widely published in the popular press, the case of 2001 PM9 mirrors other instances in which the public was warned of possible Earth impacts that later turned out to be no threat at all. The first and most infamous was asteroid 1997 XF11, which in 1998 was said to be on a course that might hit the planet in 2040. Most major news organizations reported the threat, which scientists later withdrew.
The scenario was repeated in 1999, when asteroid 1999 AN10 was said to have a small chance to hit Earth in 2039. The release of that data, and subsequent publication by some media outlets, was criticized by researchers who still had a 1997 XF11 hangover and worried that their credibility was being eroded.
NEODyS was created by a group of researchers at the University of Pisa in Italy -- the same researchers who published the initial data about 1999 AN10. One goal was to provide better communication between scientists regarding asteroids, so that asteroid scares could be avoided.
But anyone can access the information, and other NEO (Near Earth Object) organizations also reported the initial 2001 PM9 data. The first reports of 2001 PM9 were disseminated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and another research group called Spaceguard Foundation.
However, Donald Yeomans at JPL said his organization did nothing wrong. Though data on 2001 PM9 first appeared on JPL's Potentially Hazardous Asteroid list on Aug. 13, Yeomans said it was a "routine posting of orbital data and certainly not an announcement of any type of threat."
No impact probabilities were listed on the JPL site, he said.
"At no time did JPL formally or informally release any announcement about asteroid 2001 PM9," Yeomans said. "Our activities were restricted to requesting new data, soliciting archival data and working to compute updated orbits so the results could show, as quickly as possible, that this object was not a threat. We were rather proud that these activities took place so rapidly that by last Friday, the computations showed no real threat. That is exactly how things are supposed to work."
Floundering community of researchers
Brian Marsden is director of the International Astronomical Union's Minor Planet Center, which serves as the ultimate clearinghouse for data and names of asteroids and other small objects in the solar system. Marsden said scientists' ability to properly deal with early asteroid data has not improved since 1998, and the problem stems from how information is communicated.
"This is not to say that NEODyS, or any other professionals working in the area, is doing bad science," Marsden said in comments today on a newsletter called CCNet, which provides a forum for discussing asteroid hazards. "It is very clear, however, that our community continues to flounder in the way such information is made public."
Marsden was particularly critical of the fact that after the risk was found to be nil, a "risk page" about the asteroid was removed from the NEODyS site, rather than being updated to reflect the change.
"Illogical though it may seem to us, some people tend to assume that such removal means that the object has in fact become more dangerous, not less, and that the astronomers are involved in a cover-up," Marsden said. "A simple posting to confirm that the object is no longer dangerous would work wonders."
Benny Peiser, a researcher at Liverpool John Moores University and the moderator of CCNet, said, "I wonder how many more asteroid scares it will take before the NEO community will heed the recurring calls for adjustment and make a determined effort to resolve this thorny issue."
Efforts have been made.
In 1999, the NEO community developed the Torino scale, a hazard index structured something like the Richter Scale for earthquake magnitude. The Torino scale was intended to improve definitions and communications between scientists, as well as their ability to communicate potential threats to the press and the public.
But so far the Torino scale has been nearly nonexistent as far as the public is concerned.
According to scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, there are currently 315 known "potentially hazardous asteroids," or PHAs. Each appears to be on a course that will one day bring it close to Earth's orbit, but scientists stress that none of them are known to be on a collision course with the planet.
Many other asteroids that might be listed as PHAs are thought to be out there but not yet found.
An asteroid capable of global disaster would have to be more than a quarter-mile wide, researchers say. Asteroids that large strike Earth only once every 1,000 centuries on average, according to NASA officials. Other estimates range widely, reflecting the fact that researchers don't know how many asteroids are out there, let alone how many might eventually cross the path of Earth.
Smaller asteroids that are believed to strike Earth every 1,000 to 10,000 years could destroy a city or cause devastating tsunamis. Scientists have in recent years called on governments to begin making plans for how to defend the planet against such impacts.
|If the Asteroid Misses Earth, it could hit Mars|
DEEP IMPACT NEWS AND EVENTS
|Friday, July 9, 1999
NASA unveils Deep Impact plan
By MATTHEW FORDAHL -- The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- NASA insists it's a coincidence.
Six years from now, a spacecraft named Deep Impact will fire a 1,100-pound copper bullet at the nucleus of a comet, with the aim of blasting out a crater the size of a football field and as deep as a seven-story building.
The $240 million mission approved Wednesday by NASA administrators may sound more like fiction than science, but its primary purpose will be to study the makeup of comets.
It just happens to have the same name as last summer's disaster movie "Deep Impact," which was about a comet smacking Earth.
"The name was selected prior to the movie," said James Graf, Deep Impact's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "It wasn't inspired by it.
Deep Impact is scheduled to be launched in January 2004 and will arrive at comet Tempel 1 on July 4, 2005. The projectile will separate from the spacecraft and hit the comet at 22,300 mph.
Shortly after impact, the craft will come within 300 miles of the comet surface and send back data and pictures of the debris and crater. It will eventually zoom off into space.
Comets are believed to be remnants from the early days of the solar system, and several missions are planned to observe them close-up. Deep Impact's projectile, however, will be the first to crash into one.
Deep Impact will allow scientists to study the inside of a comet by observing the debris ejected from the crater.
"It can give us an understanding of what the solar system looked like during its formation, and what contributions comets may have made to our life here on Earth," Graf said Thursday.
The impact should be visible from Earth -- 83 million miles away -- with the aid of a telescope.
The mission poses no threat to Earth, Graf said. The impact crater will be small compared with the overall size of the comet's nucleus.
NASA's approval of Deep Impact was made less than two weeks after the space agency pulled the plug on another mission to the same comet. Space Technology 4/Champollion would have landed on Tempel 1 and drilled beneath the surface.
NASA administrators decided to favor Deep Impact because it was focused solely on science and fit into existing budget plans, said Doug Isbell, a NASA spokesman in Washington, D.C.
High Velocity Leadership: Faster, Better, Cheaper
As Project Manager with NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the Mars Pathfinder mission, Brian Muirhead assembled a team that would have to build a spacecraft and land it on Mars for one-twentieth the cost and in half the time of the previous Mars effort 20 years earlier. Experts who were sure the team could not succeed joined the worldwide celebration on July 4, 1997, when Pathfinder landed safely on Mars and, aided by its self-propelled, toy-wagon-size rover, Sojourner began sending back reams of scientific data and thousands of breathtaking color photographs.
The Mars challenge had come with nearly impossible constraints: go there at a fraction of the cost, do it in a fraction of the time, take risks but dont fail. We worked under a budget less than it would later cost to produce the movie Titanic, said Muirhead, but unlike the movie we would need to provide a happy ending. The effort has come to define the management approach of Faster, Better, Cheaper. His motto: If it doesnt look impossible were not interested.
In total, Muirhead was responsible for the design, development, test, and launch of the Mars Pathfinder flight system. For this achievement, he was awarded NASAs Outstanding Leadership Medal.
In his highly-praised book, High Velocity Leadership: The Mars Pathfinder Approach to Faster, Better, Cheaper (HarperBusiness 1999), Muirhead (with coauthor William L. Simon) explains how the Pathfinder team overcame the odds by discarding the familiar and replacing it with imaginative new technology, a people oriented management style, and a score of practical, broadly applicable business solutions.
In August, 1999, Muirhead was appointed Manager for the Deep Impact Project whose mission is to attempt the first ever impact of a comet surface to uncover the structure and composition of these 4.5 billion year old time capsules dating back to the beginning of our solar system.
Project Manager, Mars Pathfinder Mission
Manager, Deep Impact Project
Engineer of the Year for 1997 by Design News magazine
1997 Laureate for Space by Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine
Coauthor, High Velocity Leadership: The Mars Pathfinder Approach to Faster, Better, Cheaper (HarperBusiness, 1999)
Since joining JPL in 1978, he has worked on missions including Galileo to Jupiter and the Earth-orbiting Spaceborne Imaging Radar (SIR-C)
Masters degree in Aeronautical engineering, California Institute of Technology
Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering, University of New Mexico
|Six Flyby Asteroids Occurring This Week...07/09/01
It has just been disclosed, six NEO's (near earth orbit's) will occur this week. The six asteroid names are as follows...
1) '(398) Admete' 2) '(78) Diana' 3) '(54) Alexandra' 4) '268 Adorea' 5) '702 Alauda' 6) '558 Carmen'. Unfortunately none will be visible with the naked eye. However all will be visible with visual aids.
1) The 47-km asteroid '(398) Admete'; is expected to best be seen over Nicaragua and Guadalupe; but it could pass over adjacent countries instead, at 6:15-17 UT of July 9 UT. Near star constellation Ophiuchius.
2) The 120-km asteroid '(78) Diana'; near star constellation Pisces over Sonora (Hermosillo). The asteroid is expected to be best seen in the S.E. corner of Arizona, and S.W. New Mexico at 11:34 UT July 9 (5:34 am MDT).
3) The 165-km asteroid '(54) Alexandra'; near star constellation Pisces, will best be seen over Guatemala, Yucatan, & N.E. Florida (in brightening twilight) from 9:52-9:56 UT Wed. July 11 (5:55 am EDT in Fla.).
4) The 139-km asteroid '268 Adorea'; near star constellation Spica, will best be seen over Salt Lake City (in too bright twilight) to central Colo., Okla., Texarkana, N. LA & S. AR, S. Miss., S. Ala., and northern Florida. The date is Tues. night, July 10/11, around 3:25 UT of July 11 UT.
5) The 200-km asteroid '702 Alauda'; near star constellation Sagittarius, will be visible from most of North Carolina, northern South Carolina, Kentucky, parts of Va. and Tenn., s. Ind., central Illinois, N.E. Mo., Iowa, N.E. Nebr., the Dakotas, and eastern Montana. The date is Wed., July 11, 11:11 pm EDT (July 12, 3:11 UT).
6) Two hours after the above, the 59-km asteroid '558 Carmen' ; near star constellation beta Capricorn, will be visible from the eastern Carolinas, S. Georgia, Gulf coast area (including New Orleans), to Corpus Christi & Laredo, Texas; and across Mexico north of Monterrey and La Paz, Baja California. The date is July 12, 5:07 UT.
There are some in the science community who suggest there is an increase in NEO's. One theory suggest it has to do with the Sun. It is related to the process of charged particles hurling through space. This includes the noticeable Magnetic Shift of Earth and that of the Sun.
|Space: Study Lowers Likelihood of Asteroid Hit
Posted on Thursday, November 08, 2001
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Astronomers delivered a little piece of good news on Wednesday -- we are much less likely to get wiped out by a big asteroid than previously thought.
The odds are only about 1 in 5,000 that an asteroid big enough to wipe out civilization will hit the Earth in the next 100 years, a team at Princeton University reported -- far lower than previous estimates of 1 in 1,500.
Research on asteroids that have hit the Earth in the past -- like the one that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago -- shows that a collision with a large asteroid half a mile or 1 km in diameter could kill a quarter of the world's population.
Research has also shown that such enormous asteroids strike the planet regularly -- every 100 million years or so. Astronomers, understandably concerned, have been looking around to see how many of those asteroids might be out there.
Using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the Princeton team, headed by researcher Zeljko Ivezic, estimated the solar system contained about 700,000 asteroids that size -- about one-third the number in earlier estimates that put the number of big asteroids at about 2 million.
That in turn suggested there was a 1-in-1,500 chance one would hit Earth in the next century.
"Our estimate for the chance of a big impact contains some of the same uncertainties as previous estimates, but it is clear that we should feel somewhat safer than we did before we had the Sloan survey data," Ivezic said in a statement.
Several teams of astronomers are taking part in the Sloan survey, which is mapping one-quarter of the sky using the telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico.
Its main purpose is to look at objects outside Earth's galaxy, but it is also cataloging smaller and closer objects such as asteroids.
Writing in the November issue of the Astronomical Journal, Ivezic said they were able to assess more accurately the size of known asteroids.
Asteroids with a surface of carbon are dark, like lumps of coal, while rocky asteroids are much brighter. To a casual observer, a small, rocky asteroid looks as bright as -- and as big as -- a larger, rocky one.
"You don't know precisely the size of an object you are looking at unless you know what type it is," Ivezic said. He said the Sloan survey looks at the color of objects, so astronomers can distinguish between carbon and rock.
They looked at 10,000 asteroids, and based on those, the Princeton team was able to extrapolate and estimate that the asteroid belt contained about 700,000 that were bigger than 1 kilometer -- about half a mile -- in diameter.
IS THIS A CROP CIRCLE OF THE NIBIRU ORBIT?
Lurking Planet (Nibiru?)
Sitchin's thesis continues to be verified by new discoveries: http://www.sitchin.com/lurkingplanet.htm
THE CASE OF THE LURKING PLANET
"Far beyond the solar system's nine known planets, a body as massive as Mars may once have been part of our planetary system -- and it might still be there;
The lead paragraph in a science-fiction script? The lead paragraph from an article by Zecharia Sitchin about Nibiru?
No. It is the lead paragraph in a report in Science News of April 7, 2001 headlined "A Comets Odd Orbit Hints At Hidden Planet.
The article reports the conclusions of an international team of astronomers who have studied an unusual comet discovered last year, designated 2000 CR/105. It follows a vast elliptical orbit around our Sun an orbit that takes it way out to some 4.5 billion kilometers from the Sun, and brings it back at its closest to the Sun to the vicinity of Neptune; it is an orbit whose period takes roughly 3,300 years (according to Sky&Telescope News of April 5, 2001).
Such an oblong orbit is usually a sign that an object has come under the gravitational influence of a massive body," wrote R. Cowen in Science News. Was this the gravitational pull of Neptune? In a study to be published in the Journal Icarus, the team of astronomers (led by Brett Gladman of the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur in Nice, France), after analyzing all the possibilities, does not think so. An alternative solution, they say, is that the comet's orbit could be the handiwork of an as-yet unseen planet -- as massive as Mars -- "that would have to lie some 200 AU from the Sun," in the so-called Kuiper Belt of cometary and other planetary debris. This would also explain "why many members of the Belt have orbits that angle away from the plane in which the nine known planets orbit the Sun."
Undoubtedly, something massive knocked the hell out of the Belt," Harold F. Levison of the Southwest Research institute in Boulder, Colorado, told the magazine. The question is whether it is still there now."
Comets Course Hints at Mystery Planet, was how the journal Science headlined the discovery news in its issue of 6 April 2001. The special report, written by the Dutch astronomer Govert Schilling, summed up the findings in the following lead paragraph:
"A Supercomet following an unexpectedly far-flung path around the sun suggests that an unidentified planet once lurked in the outermost reaches of the solar system, an international team of astronomers reports. What's more, the mysterious object may still be there."
Now, As the Sumerians Said Readers of my books may well join me now in saying: So what else is new?
Ever since the publication of my first book (The 12th Planet) in 1976 I have asserted that Sumerian and other ancient Near Eastern texts and depictions showed familiarity with a complete Solar System that included, beside the Sun and the Moon, ten (not nine) planets -- the tenth planet (or twelfth member of the Solar System) having a vast elliptical orbit that lasts 3,600 years. Its Sumerian name was Nibiru.
I have-suggested that Sumerian/Akkadian texts such as Enuma Elish (also called the Babylonian Epic of Creation) were not mythological tales, but records of sophisticated advanced knowledge. Establishment scientists and scholars (see a previous article, The Case of the Misplaced Teapot, as an example) resist such an inevitable conclusion because it requires the acceptance of the ancient claim that Earth had been visited by Extraterrestrials, the ANUNNAKI ("Those Who From Heaven to Earth Came") of Sumerian lore.
According to the ancient texts as interpreted by me, Nibiru was a planet ejected from some other planetary system in outer space that was captured into our Solar System as it passed near Neptune. It became involved in a collision with a pre-existing planet where the debris of the Asteroid Belt are now. As a result of that collision, some 4 billion years ago, the Earth and the Moon came to be where they are now.
And, what do you know? In an article titled Neptune Attacks! In the 7 April 2001 issue of the magazine New Scientist, Ivan Semeniak wrote thus:
There is new evidence that a sudden barrage of deadly debris crashed against the Earth and the Moon 3.9 billion years ago What triggered this onslaught? Something in the structure of the Solar System must have changed.
The something, I am more certain than ever, was Nibiru.
May 2001 ZECHARIA SITCHIN
© Z. Sitchin 2001
Reprints must state:
© Z. Sitchin
Reprinted with permission
The largest known asteroid in the Kupier-Belt is 2001 KX76, with a diameter of more than 1000 km.
In July 2001, a larger object was found in the vast Kuiper belt of
They first said that object 2001KX76 was "a reddish chunk of something"
and now by magic it's color changed and they do not
By Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News
July 3, 2001 The discovery of a large reddish chunk of something orbiting in Pluto's neighborhood has re-ignited the idea that there may be more than nine planets in the solar system.
Then again, it could also mean there are only eight planets, depending on your point of view.
What the discoverers are calling 2001 KX76 might be one of the largest "Kuiper Belt Objects" or KBO's, found in the what is essentially a second asteroid belt beyond the orbit of Neptune. Initial reports give 2001 KX76 a diameter of 900 to 1200 kilometers roughly the size of Pluto's moon, Charon. Pluto itself, it should be noted, is smaller than our own moon.
Because KBOs are believed to have very elongated orbits around the sun they spend a lot of time on dark, centuries-long excursions into deep space. That makes them very hard to find, said astronomer Robert Millis, director of the Lowell Observatory, which was involved in the discovery.
Astronomers at the Lowell Observatory have teamed up with colleagues from MIT and the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory to hunt for KBOs on the less remote parts of their orbits.
"There are certainly lots of (KBOs) in distant parts of their orbits now and we can't detect them," said Millis.
The possibility that 2001 KX76 has big brothers and sisters again raises the thorny question of what can be called a planet and what cannot. So far there is no good definition of exactly what is a planet, said astronomer Brian Marsden of Harvard University's Minor Planet Center. The matter only gets more confusing when you add KBOs and free-floating planets discovered outside our solar system.
Historically, Pluto was designated a planet when it was discovered in the 1930s because it was thought to be much larger than it is, Marsden said. The 900-kilometer-wide asteroid Ceres was also considered a planet when it was discovered, until its siblings were turned up and revealed the existence of the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
If 2001 KX76 is any indication of larger KBOs out there, it might also lead to the demotion of Pluto from puniest planet to king of KBOs, said Marsden.
Millis prefers a third alternative: "There may exist a new class of planets."
2001 KX76 is currently at a distance of just over 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) from the Sun. Its orbit is inclined by approximately 20 degrees with respect to the orbital plane of the major planets, but the detailed shape of its orbit remains uncertain. Available evidence suggests that the newly discovered KBO may be in an orbital resonance with Neptune, orbiting the Sun three times for each time that Neptune completes four orbits.
The brightness and colors of 2001 KX76 have been measured by Elliot, Susan Kern, and David Osip, all of MIT, with the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Magellan Instant Camera (MagIC) on the 6.5-meter Magellan Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The object has a distinctly reddish color typical of many primitive bodies in the outer Solar System.
"2001 KX76 is so exciting because it demonstrates that significant bodies remain to be discovered in the Kuiper Belt," Millis explains. "We have every reason to believe that objects ranging up to planets as large or larger than Pluto are out there waiting to be found. Until the Kuiper Belt has been thoroughly explored, we cannot pretend to know the extent or the content of the Solar System."
Preliminary observations of this mysterious object, whose discovery was first announced on July 2, 2001, suggested that 2001 KX76 could come close to Ceres' 950-kilometer (590-mile) size - or even surpass it. However, to be sure, many more observations were required. It was necessary to confirm 2001 KX76's orbital path, distance from the Sun and brightness before astronomers could calculate the object's size with any degree of certainty.
Now, with the help of modern technology, confirmation of 2001 KX76's large 1,200-1,400 kilometer (745-870 mile) size came much faster than expected. Using a new type of "virtual observatory" called Astrovirtel, astronomers were able to gather 18 years of data in just under two months.
Astrovirtel, which stands for Accessing Astronomical Archives as Virtual Telescopes, is an impressive archive of photographic plates from the European Southern Observatory and other observatories around the globe. Astrovirtel has been outfitted with a powerful search engine that allows astronomers to go back in time and search previous images of the sky.
And, in doing just that, astronomers found several faint images of 2001 KX76, including images from as far back as 1982. So, over the course a month and a half, they were able to access 18 years worth of observational data.
From this wealth of information, astronomers plotted 2001 KX76's position with respect to the background stars and determined its orbit. And, once the orbit was determined, they were able to calculate how far away it was. According to its orbit, which is similar to Pluto's, 2001 KX76 is now approximately 6.5 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) from Earth.
From the same photographic plates, they were also able to gathered important information about the object's brightness. However, the brightness of an object depends not only on the distance of that object, but also on the reflectivity of its surface, or its albedo. For example: a large piece of charcoal will reflect very little light and appear much fainter than light reflecting off a small snowball.
So, with the known distance and observed brightness, astronomers had to add in a reflectivity factor.
If 2001 KX76 has an albedo of four percent, it would reflect four percent of the Sun's light that hits its surface (a typical value for comet nuclei), making this KBO approximately 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) in size. If this is the case, 2001 KX76 would be larger than Pluto's moon, Charon, and over half as big as Pluto itself. [Charon is approximately 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) in size, while Pluto has a diameter of 2,300 kilometers (1,428 miles). For reference, our Moon is 3,476 kilometers (2,160 miles) in diameters.]
If, on the other hand, 2001 KX76 has an albedo of seven percent (a typical value for other Kuiper Belt Objects), it would be approximately 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) in size.
Whatever its albedo, it seems that 2001 KX76 is indeed larger than Ceres.
As the astronomical community grapples with all of the newly discovered objects beyond Neptune (over 400 since 1992) the classification of these objects has yet to be officially sorted out. Should they be called Kuiper Belt Objects or TransNeptunian Objects? Or, should they be called comets, asteroids, or small planetesimals? These questions will be answered in time, as more information is gathered and we better understand the nature and make-up of such objects.
Until then, 2001 KX76 is the biggest solar system object ever discovered - that hasn't officially been named a planet or moon.
(NOAO, July 2, 2001) (http://www.noao.edu/outreach/press/pr01/pr0110.html) Astronomers from Lowell Observatory, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory have discovered an icy planetary body orbiting the Sun beyond Neptune in the Kuiper Belt roughly equal in size to Pluto's moon Charon. "This object is intrinsically the brightest Kuiper Belt Object found so far," says Lowell Observatory Director Robert Millis, leader of the survey team. "The exact diameter of 2001 KX76 depends on assumptions that astronomers make about how its brightness relates to its size. Traditional assumptions make it the biggest by a significant amount, while others make it larger by at least 5 percent." Assuming a reflectivity (or albedo) of 4 percent, 2001 KX76 would have a diameter of approximately 1,270 kilometers (788 miles), bigger than Ceres, the largest known asteroid. For comparison, Pluto's moon Charon has an estimated diameter of 1,200 kilometers (744 miles). Earlier this year, a Kuiper Belt Object (KBO) called 20000 Varuna was announced with an estimated diameter of 900 kilometers, based on a calculated reflectivity of 7 percent. Applying this albedo to 2001 KX76 gives it a diameter of roughly 960 kilometers (595 miles). 2001 KX76 was discovered in the course of the Deep Ecliptic Survey, a NASA-funded search for KBOs being conducted by the Lowell-MIT-LBT team using the National Science Foundation's telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, AZ, and Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. The team spotted 2001 KX76 in deep digital images of the southern sky taken with the 4-meter Blanco Telescope at Cerro Tololo on May 22 by James L. Elliot of MIT and Lawrence H. Wasserman of Lowell Observatory. 2001 KX76 is currently at a distance of just over 6.4 billion kilometers (4 billion miles) from the Sun. Its orbit is inclined by approximately 20 degrees with respect to the orbital plane of the major planets, but the detailed shape of its orbit remains uncertain. Available evidence suggests that the newly discovered KBO may be in an orbital resonance with Neptune, orbiting the Sun three times for each time that Neptune completes four orbits. The brightness and colors of 2001 KX76 have been measured by Elliot, Susan Kern, and David Osip, all of MIT, with the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Magellan Instant Camera (MagIC) on the 6.5-meter Magellan Telescope at Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. The object has a distinctly reddish color typical of many primitive bodies in the outer Solar System. "2001 KX76 is so exciting because it demonstrates that significant bodies remain to be discovered in the Kuiper Belt," Millis explains. "We have every reason to believe that objects ranging up to planets as large or larger than Pluto are out there waiting to be found. Until the Kuiper Belt has been thoroughly explored, we cannot pretend to know the extent or the content of the Solar System."
Something out there beyond the farthest reaches of the known solar system seems to be tugging at Uranus and Neptune. Some gravitational force keeps perturbing the two giant planets, causing irregularities in their orbits. The force suggests a presence far away and unseen, a large object that may be the long- sought Planet X. The last time a serious search of the skies was made it led to the discovery in 1930 of Pluto, the ninth planet. But the story begins more than a century before that, after the discovery of Uranus in 1781 by the English astronomer and musician William Herschel. Until then, the planetary system seemed to end with Saturn.Today, scientists accept theories concerning plate tectonics. There are articles and studies showing that, at one time, all of Earth continents were on one side of the planet. What the stories don't explore is the question, if all the continents were on one side, what was on the other? The other side has been described as a tremendous gap, matching the Sumerian story of how the Earth came about. The Sumerians said Earth was really half a planet called Tiamat, which broke up in a collision with Nibiru, [or Planet X].
The discovery of new planets has, in the last two hundred years, owed more to the science of mathematics than it has to the design of bigger and better telescopes. The unaccounted-for mathematical irregularities in the orbits of the outer planets have prompted astronomers to speculate upon the existence of a further, undiscovered planet. Astronomers are so certain of this planet's existence that they have already named it 'Planet X' - the Tenth Planet.
In 1982, NASA themselves officially recognised the possibility of Planet X, with an announcement that 'some kind of mystery object is really there - far beyond the outermost planets'. One year later, the newly launched IRAS (Infrared Astronomical Satellite) spotted a large mysterious object in the depths of space. The Washington Post summarised an interview with the chief IRAS scientist from JPL, California, as follows:
"A heavenly body possibly as large as the giant planet Jupiter and possibly so close to Earth that it would be part of this solar system has been found in the direction of the constellation Orion by an orbiting telescope... 'All I can tell you is that we don't know what it is', said Gerry Neugebauer, chief IRAS scientist.
|Sent: Friday, August 31, 2001
Subject: New Largest Asteroid--cover story for Planet X
The media cryed wolf with Y2k and a planetary alignment. The wolf is now knocking at the door. There's no warning going to be given.
World Wide Bulletin--Largest Asteroid ever discovered announced in just this last week! That's all they are saying. It's the cover story for Planet X!
It's round, red and words are all the powers that be have to hide it now that it is so close. In July they disclosed the object "2001 KX76" as being red with a picture.
One month later the same object has increased in size and is being called the "Largest Asteriod in all history". The picture has changed to blue.
They changed the color and increased the estimated size when they drew all the attention to it announcing it was the Largest Asteriod.
Brown Dwarf stars are red. They did not want people even speculating that it was a brown dwarf and changed its color to blue. You people really have no clue whats going on here. Do you want to find out before it Blindsides you?
This disinformation campaign that insiders knew would be coming, is now in full swing. Are you going to fall for or ignore it like you've been pre-programmed to do?
Natural Calamities IN 2003
Did you know that PLANET X will pass by Earth again in 2003 after approximately 3660 years of absence on its regular orbit? Like most people you probably do not know this. The knowledge has been kept away from the public and made confusing for several reasons, one of which is to avoid causing panic among the world's population.
PLANET X is a brown dwarf star that orbits between BOTH suns (our sun and its dark twin sun), and not just around the one in our sky like the other 9 planets. A diagram from the 1987 New Science and Invention Encyclopedia includes our dead twin sun & the 10th planet.
X's mass, magnetism and density is such that it disrupts the surface of every planet it passes. In fact, history shows 7 years prior to its passage it begins to trigger volcanic and seismic activity, as well as changes in weather patterns, which are now falsely being blamed on global warming and solar flare activity. You have, no doubt, noticed how volcanic and seismic activity have increased worldwide since 1996. Traditional weather patterns have also been changing and breaking all time records regularly.
You will want to research the advent of PLANET X and the cataclysms it will trigger by simply passing EARTH. You will then be aware of what will happen, and you can make whatever preparations you desire.
In my work:
PLANET X Passes in 2003
I present the following:
* What is PLANET X
* When did it pass us before, and what happened then
* What is expected to happen this time in Spring 2003
* Why we are being deceived
* What can I do to get ready
* Where can I find out more (books, websites)
The time has come to face this pending event and follow your heart as to what to do. Preparing for you and your loved ones might be a good choice. Only a few months are left until the passage.
It's easy to scoff at or discount what you know very little to nothing about. More than likely what you have heard has been tainted with skepticism purposely. We are all naive in different areas.
There's nothing to lose by studying this most important subject more closely.
Free 1st section (put X in subject) to planetx2003@ yahoo.com or click http://www.planetx2003.f2s.com/
Don't let yourself get Blindsided. I plan to issue updates as more information becomes available.
|By combining data from the world's first operational "virtual telescope",
Astrovirtel, with that from a conventional telescope at the European Southern
Observatory (ESO) at La Silla (Chile), European astronomers  have determined
the size of the newly found, remote asteroid, 2001 KX76.
Their measurements indicate that this icy rock has a diameter of at least 1200 km and is therefore larger than any other known asteroid in the Solar System. The previous record-holder, the asteroid Ceres, was also the first object of its type to be discovered - by the Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1, 1801. Its diameter is about 950 km, relegating it to second place after holding the asteroid size record for two hundred years.
The first scientific results from Astrovirtel have allowed a substantial improvement of the accuracy of the computed orbit for 2001 KX76. It is now possible to confirm that this object is just outside that of the most remote known major planet Pluto. Further analysis carried out by the team seems to indicate that the orbit of 2001 KX76 is very similar to that of Pluto.
Asteroid 2001 KX76 is even larger than Pluto's moon Charon (diameter 1150 km), adding fuel to the discussions concerning Pluto's status as a "major" or "minor" planet. The new data show that 2001 KX76 is about half the size of Pluto (diameter about 2300 km) and this increases the likelihood that there are other bodies still to be discovered in the outer Solar System that are similar in size to Pluto.
|IS THIS PLANET X? NIBURU COMING
A Tenth Planet?
Disturbance of Comets Hints at Something Out There
|Ancient history, astronomy, folklore and prophecy record
many names for Planet X. The Sumerians called it the "12th planet" or "Nibiru"
(translation; planet of passing). Between the Babylonians and Mesopotamians
there were at least three names: "Marduk," "The King of The Heavens," and
The "Great Heavenly Body." The ancient Hebrews referred to it as the "Winged
Globe" because of its long orbit high among the stars. The Egyptians had
two names "Apep" or "Seth." The Greeks called it "Typhon" after a feared
leader and "Nemesis" (one of its most telling names). Other ancient peoples
have given it labels such as; "The Celestial Lord Shiva" and "God of
Destruction." To the ancient Chinese, it was known as "Gung-gung," "The Great
Black," or "Red Dragon." The
Phoenicians said it was "The Great Phoenix." The Hebrews called it "Yahweh." The Mayans called it "Celestial Quetzalcoatl." The celestial body was known to the Latins as "Lucifer."Revelation (8:10-12). The name of the star is "Wormwood."From works of prophecy, there are other names for X. The "Red or Blue Star" is of the Hopi Indian and Gordan Michael Scallion designation. The
"Fiery Messenger" is in the Ramala prophecy. The "Great Star" is from the Book Revelation. "His Star" is how it is referred to in Edgar Cayce Readings. The "Great Comet" and "The Comet of Doom" is right out of the Grail Message. From an early English prophet named "Mother Shipton," "The Fiery Dragon" was the name she gave, as seen from her second sight. Our solar system's
"10th Planet" is "X."There's also "The Intruder" and "The Perturber" from astronomy.
Genesis 6:4..."There were Nephilim in the earth in those days; and also
after that, when the sons of God came
According to the Sumerians, there was once a watery planet in the orbital plane between Mars and Jupiter, where the asteroid belt is today. This planet, which was covered in water, caused the other planets orbits to become unstable. Its name was Tiamat. ( In Hebrew it was referred to as Rahab) It had a large moon that was destined to become a planet. Science today has looked at the asteroid belt as being debris that failed to become a planet, because on insufficient mass. The Sumerians have a different explanation. Astronomers have been looking for years for another planet because the swing of the orbit of all the planets in the solar system show that there is another influence on them that can only be explained by another and yet undiscovered planet. This knowledge has come to us only in very recent times. It is worth examining the stories of Sumer, especially when you consider the unbelievable fact that they knew anything at all about the asteroid belt and another planet 6000 years ago. The planet they call Nibiru, the home of the gods.
As the story goes, the planet Nibiru, has a very long elliptical orbit, and passes through our solar system only once every 3600 years and travels in the same plane as Tiamat. ( This is why the holy number systems are based on a 12 . Twelve months in a year, 12 in a dozen, 360 degrees in a circle, 12 hours in the day ect. Think about this, why aren't all our number systems base 10, since we have ten fingers, ten toes ect.) On one of these early passes Niburus 3600 year orbit was perturbed by Neptune and there was a near miss between the two planets. One of the moons of Niburu, of which it has five, impacted Tiamat and split it in two. The smaller of the two pieces was pulverized and became the asteroid belt, and the fragments of Nibirus moon became the comets. The larger of the pieces of Tiamat and its large moon settled into a new orbit, which was more stable. This larger piece became known as Earth. This is the short version of the creation of the heavens ( a reference to the band of asteroids) and the Earth, as told by the Sumerians. This event in the creation of the heavens, they understood as a war between the gods. The planet Nibiru symbolizes there savior god Enki, who the Babylonians later named Mardak.
From the Sumerian Text:
The hammered canopy He stretched out in the place of Tehom,(Tiamat)
The story continues with the cooling of the earth. It says that the place
where Tiamat was torn apart healed over and is now the basin of the Pacific
ocean, which explains why the Pacific plate is so much thinner than the Atlantic
plate. According to the Sumerians this collision with the moon of Nibiru
caused a Seeding of the earth from bits of life that were on
The story is given in the Enuma Elish, that the Annunaki took an ape like
creature and genetically manipulated it by a process that seems to be invetro
fertilization. An egg was taken from the earth man (Adams) and the likeness
of the gods was strapped upon it and then it was placed in the wombs of 14
virgins, seven to bring forth males and seven to bring forth females. This
gestation was over 10 months and proved to be a hardship on the virgin goddess
mothers, so a change was made so that the Adams could reproduce
and carry their own hybrid children to full term. In the process of engineering
this change there were born to them some mixed animal that were half man,
half something else. But eventually they produced a race of Adams with
the likeness of the gods. And they were beautiful.
The story goes on and takes you to a time when the Annunaki began to
intermarry with the new enhanced Adams and later to the time of a world wide
flood, from which only a few survived. These Annunaki were considered gods
to the Sumerians. But who were they? Did they really come from Nibiru?
The Sumerians and the Babylonians believed these Nefilim to be gods and worshipped them as such. They believe that they were star travelers who had come from another planet, Mardak, in the "boat of heaven", a type of space craft. Mardak is to them the abode of the Gods. The tower of Babel was a ziggurat, an observatory, by which the people of the earth tried to view into this heavenly realm. But if this isnt true, then who are these Nefilim and what did they know and what was their involvement with mankind?
the nature of an ultracool object in Orion
An image of
the Sigma Orionis region. The multiple star Sigma Orionis, which is visible
with the naked eye, is at the center. A box indicates the position of the
planet candidate, which is only 8.7 arcminutes from the star. The image was
taken from the Digital Sky Survey and has a size of 23 x 22 square arcminutes.
The inset shows the infrared image obtained at the William Herschel Telescope
by Dr. Victor Bejar and Prof. Eduardo Martin.
A new substellar object, named SOri70, has been discovered near the young star Sigma Orionis. Is it a young planet, or a wandering old brown dwarf in the line of sight? This is a question to be discussed by the astronomers attending the International Astronomical Union Symposium on Brown Dwarfs this week on the Big Island of Hawaii.
Deep sky images and follow-up spectroscopy obtained by an international team of astronomers revealed this extremely cool and dim object close to the multiple stellar system Sigma Orionis. The astronomers made the observations with large telescopes in Hawaii and the Canary Islands.
Since the acute visual observations of Sir William Herschel in the eighteenth century, astronomers have noted a clustering of stars in a region of the sky of about the size of the full moon surrounding the hot star Sigma Orionis. Many X-ray emitting low-mass stars in this cluster were found by Scott Wolk and Fred Walter of SUNY at Stony Brook. Several brown dwarfs in this region were revealed by some of the members of the team that today reports on the discovery of the coolest and faintest object ever seen around Sigma Orionis
Object Might be First Extrasolar Planet Photographed
The coolest, faintest and possibly the smallest "substellar object" ever photographed was announced yesterday, but researchers don't know exactly what they have found.
Observations so far do not allow for a precise determination of the object's distance, which is needed to calculate its mass. If it 1,150 light-years away, as suspected, then it is likely less than 8 million years old and lives amid a cluster of similarly young stars known as the Sigma Orionis system, and its mass would be about that of Jupiter.
The object would qualify -- by some definitions -- as a planet.
No planet outside our solar system has ever been photographed. Other Jupiter-mass planets have been found around other stars, but they were detected by an indirect method that notes a gravitational wobble induced in the host star.
If the newly spotted object, called SOri70, is in fact a planet, it would be a strange one, sitting 36,000 times farther away from any its nearest stellar neighbor than Jupiter is from our Sun. There is an unresolved debate among experts as to whether an object so far from a star can be called a planet or not.
And no one is sure how it might have formed our how it could end up in such a location. Some models suggest that gaseous objects like Jupiter might form via the gravitational collapse of a cloud of material, similar to how a star forms. But if such an object forms alone in space, and not around a star, can it be called a planet?
Brown dwarfs are typically many times heavier than Jupiter, but they are not massive enough to trigger the thermonuclear fusion that powers a real star. Brown dwarfs have been found orbiting stars, and other free-floating brown dwarfs have also been detected in recent months.
Astronomers who had learned of the finding but had not seen the actual data were unwilling to comment on the results. But one astronomer did tell SPACE.com that if the object is in fact in the Sigma Orionis cluster, then because of its youth it would be brightly emitting infrared radiation as it contracts and cools down.
It is possible, the source said, to photograph in the infrared a Jupiter-mass object in this cluster.
Victor J. Bejar and Rafael Rebolo, of the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, Tenerife, Spain, both participated in the discovery of SOri70. They responded jointly to a SPACE.com e-mail query and said that if the object turns out to be of planetary mass, they would call it an "isolated planetary mass object." Other researches have suggested the name "free-floating planet."
Regardless of the outcome, the discovery shows the potential for imaging planets in young star systems.
"Definitely, very young 'Jupiters' can be directly imaged with current, very large telescopes," Bejar and Rebolo said.
"The detection of such objects is an indication that Jupiter-like objects could be populating the space between stars," the researchers said. "They would be extremely faint [when they are older] and therefore they could have been missed in all sky surveys."
Researchers say they might be able solve their puzzle by pointing the Hubble Space Telescope at SOri70, but a request for observing time was denied.
History of the discovery
The object was first studied in 1998 by Bejar and Eduardo Martin of the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy, using the 10-meter Keck I on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. They looked at it again with the William Herschel Telescope in La Palma (Canary Islands) in November 2000.
This second observation revealed that the object contained methane, which does not exist in full-blown stars because of their high temperatures. Further observations late last year with the Keck telescope, by Rosa Zapatero Osorio of the Laboratory for Fundamental Astrophysics in Madrid, Spain, confirmed the methane.
Several researchers involved in studying SOri70 are discussing their findings this week at the International Astronomical Union Symposium on Brown Dwarfs in Hawaii.
While a young object like SOri70 might be visible in the infrared, general astronomers have not been optimistic that a more mature planet outside our solar system could be photographed yet.
Though Hubble's new Advanced Camera for Survey's will spend some time next year attempting the task around another star, the effort is considered a longshot. It involves blocking the light from a bright star to provide an opportunity to see a much dimmer planetary companion.
If Hubble does not succeed, most researchers have said, such an image might have to wait a decade or so until a future space telescope is launched.
in astronomy, celestial body that is larger than a planet but does not have sufficient mass to convert hydrogen into helium via nuclear fusion as stars do. Also called "failed stars, brown dwarfs form in the same way as true stars (by the contraction of a swirling cloud of interstellar matter). True stars have enough mass (greater than 0.084 times that of the sun) to compress their core until the increasing temperature and pressure ignite the hydrogen fusion reaction, but brown dwarfs have only a relatively short period of deuterium (heavy hydrogen) burning before they cool and fade. Their coolness gives brown dwarfs two distinguishing characteristics: One is that most of the radiation they emit is in the infrared part of the spectrum; the other is that brown dwarfs can be distinguished by traces of lithium in their spectrum because, unlike true stars, brown dwarfs never get hot enough to burn the lithium that was in the interstellar cloud as it condensed.
Although they should exist in large numbers, brown dwarfs are difficult to find using conventional astronomical techniques because they are dim compared with true stars. A number of brown dwarfs have been identified, the first in the Pleiades star cluster in 1995. The first X-ray-emitting brown dwarf was detected in Chamaeleon dark cloud number I in 1998. A year later, several so-called methane dwarfs were discovered; these are thought to be older brown dwarfs that have cooled sufficiently over billions of years so that large amounts of methane could form in their atmospheres. Because brown dwarfs are typically 10-80 times the mass of Jupiter, some of the large extrasolar bodies discovered orbiting stars during the latter part of the 1990s may be brown dwarfs rather than giant Jupiterlike planets. Brown dwarfs are believed to play an important role in the process of stellar evolution and, along with dark matter, may account for as much as 90% of the mass of the universe.
NEAR EARTH ASTEROID
4179 Toutatis (1989 AC)