Kerr Watch

Elapsed time since Richard Kerr failed to inform his Science readers of the confirmation of nanodiamonds at the YDB: 6 years, 2 months, and 1 day

NASA impact frequency experts speechless facing Centaur


Bill Napier on the Tusk

Royal Astronomical Society Press Release

Google News

Bonus PDF: Fred Hoyle’s 100th honored

Known severe upsets of the terrestrial environment and interruptions in the progress of ancient civilizations, together with our growing knowledge of interplanetary matter in near-Earth space, indicate the arrival of a Centaur around 30,000 years ago. This giant comet would have strewn the inner planetary system with debris ranging in size from dust all the way up to lumps several kilometers across.

Specific episodes of environmental upheaval around 10,800 BCE and 2,300 BCE, identified by geologists and paleontologists, are also consistent with this new understanding of cometary populations. Some of the greatest mass extinctions in the distant past, for example the death of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, may similarly be associated with this giant comet hypothesis.

RAS Press Release, December 22, 2015

Download (PDF, 630KB)

  • Paul Repstock

    Hugely interesting! I can’t have been the first to notice the wave pattern, almost like a spectrograph. Mars being too small, and Earth to far Sunward to exert gravitational control over significant numbers of fragments.

    And therein may lie an acceptable “Accretion Theory”: If fragments end up at appropriate distances between large gravitational forces, the might be gathered into bands like magnetic force bands between magnets???? These fragments could then colesce by weak forces with little relative motion.

  • Jonny

    Paul, the gaps are caused by orbital resonances with Jupiter which eject objects with orbital periods (and conversely semi major axis) that fall within that resonance. See more here

  • Paul Repstock

    Thank you Jonny.
    I see the weakness of my idea. The planetary tidal forces which seem to organize the fragments might also break them up and “eject” any which nolonger conform to grade. Are there any clues to suggest that fragments might be sorted by mass or density?

  • Steve Garcia

    One thing I noted in that is that Mars and Earth apparently have no collection of asteroids, evidently even at their Trojan points.

    Swept clean?

    Actually, aren’t the NEOs considered asteroids? I can look it up, but the void there has my attention and I am working on something else. I will come back to it…

  • Jonny

    Paul the gaps do not arise due to tidal forces. A Tidal force is a differential force across an object. The gaps arise because orbital resonance pumps up the momentum if the asteroids.

    Regarding the structure of the asteroid belt and sorting. There is some sorting that occurs within the asteroid belt with most s type asteroids on the inner part and c type asteroids on the outer part. This spacial distribution is likely to originate with differentiation of the primordial circumsolar disc. It is difficult to explain in the context of an exploded planet hypothesis one would expect to create a homogenous mixture of spectral types.

  • Jonny

    Steve Mars dies have trojans

    Earth has one confirmed trojan as discovered by WISE. The trouble with earth trojans (if I recall correctly) is that the earth Trojan geometry makes them very hard to observe from here.

  • Steve Garcia

    Jonny – Yeah, that only makes sense. I should have looked it up; I just went off that asteroid cross-section. There were seriously not many shown at the orbit of either. THANKS!

    And it is pretty obvious that the Earth trojans are hard to see. Some big bright star makes it a bit difficult.

  • Steve Garcia

    Jonny –

    “It is difficult to explain in the context of an exploded planet hypothesis one would expect to create a homogenous mixture of spectral types.”

    Homogeneity would depend on how long ago – if there was enough time to homogenize the population, no?

    Isn’t it odd how in the accretion model the accretion was selective based on materials? – sending carbon to c types and stone to s types and iron and nickle together? All at many km per second which should be demolishing? Yes, we would expect homogeneity of each packet – if such impacts were constructive instead of destructive and each impact were of random elemental dust particles. Homogeneity at the accretion level? Not.

    Also, Saturn’s rings are thin because the higher inclination/higher energy particles impact and lose energy and “fall” to the ring plane and are only tens of meters thick. But the asteroids are not subject to this? Why such high inclination asteroids – both main belt and otherwise?? If the same orbital resonance process governs both there either should be no high inclination asteroids or many high inclination Saturn ring particles, yes? Something is different.

  • Paul Repstock

    Speaking of higher inclinations, I found this interesting:
    Apparently, Pluto and out are higher angle?

    Homogenous bands: not anything I would expect. The destruction of a planet and the attendant collapse of its gravity, should suggest that the higher density fragments would have more energy and travel further (in or out) so the bands should be sorted.
    Thanks for the information on “Earth Trogans”. I’m with Steve; one would expect more??

  • Steve Garcia

    From here —

    “Scientists estimate that thousands of bodies more than 62 miles (100 km) in diameter travel around the sun within this belt, along with trillions of smaller objects, many of which are short-period comets. The region also contains several dwarf planets, round worlds too large to be considered asteroids and yet not qualifying as planets because they’re too small, on an odd orbit, and don’t clear out the space around them the way the 8 planets do.”

    “When the solar system formed, much of the gas, dust and rocks pulled together to form the sun and planets. The planets then swept most of the remaining debris into the sun or out of the solar system. But bodies farther out remained safe from gravitational tugs of planets like Jupiter, and so managed to stay safe as they slowly orbited the sun.

    Planet 9 data from Wiki (hoping they have the data straight):

    Orbital characteristics
    Aphelion – – – – – 1200 AU (est.)[1]
    Perihelion – – – – 200 AU (est.)[2]
    Semi-major axis – 700 AU (est.)[3]
    Eccentricity – – – 0.6 (est.)[2]
    Orbital period – – 10,000 to 20,000 Earth years[2]
    Inclination – – – – 30° to ecliptic (est.)[2]
    Mean radius – – – – 13,000 km to 26,000 km (est.)[2] – two—four Earth radii
    Mass – – – – – – – 6×1025 kg (est.)[2] – ≥10 Earths (est)
    Apparent magnitude – >22 (est.)[1]***

    And according to Brown, they don’t know where on its orbit it is. (WHY NOT?????) I don’t know how the math could have led them to anything without pointing at it, more or less – at LEAST the quadrant RA and quadrant inclination-wise. And if the numbers are too vague at this point, I would caution everyone to not get their knickers in a twist.

    The Mirror is not at all good journalism, but they have an article throwing cold water on this. It’s not much of an article, but here it is, in full

    Stargazers and conspiracy theorists were delighted when scientists claimed there was an undiscovered planet slowly orbiting our sun .
    But NASA has said there is simply not enough evidence to unequivocally prove that it’s really there.
    Jim Green, NASA director of planetary science, said a paper predicting the existence of “Planet X” was only “the start of a process that could lead to an exciting result”.
    “It is not, however, the detection of a new planet,” he warned.
    “It’s too early to say with certainty if there’s a so-called Planet X out there.
    “What we are seeing is an early prediction.”

    For the moment that is my take on it… with caveats:

    Planet 9 is based on only SIX bodies which are – based on that graphic – on the opposite side of the solar system. SIX bodies? That’s it? And they are way on the other side of the solar system? What kind of gravitational attraction at 200-1200 AU could there be for a body only 10 Earth masses? What is the gravitational pull on bodies traveling at probably 10-30 km/sec? The force of a feather falling on the ground?

    Jonny was just telling us about orbital resonance, which adds energy when an inner and outer planet line up with the Sun and creates the Kirkwood gaps. Jupiter does that from 1 or 2 AU, and Saturn does it on its rings at 0.2 AU or less. Well, 10-Earths pulling on something the size of Pluto or less at 200 to 1200 AU? Where is the energy kick? And what value? Maybe TWO feathers? Hey, inverse square of the distance! 100 to 600 times farther is 10,000 to 360,000 times less attraction.

    (And Brown stated in Jan 2015 that they thought they’d found all the big bright KBOs and were discontinuing their search for more.
    That is another issue: In the entire band of the KB (30-50 Au radius) which comes out to about 5,000 SQUARE AUs there are only the few that we’ve seen in HOW many/few years of looking? ~23 years. Why does that not strike me as good science? Quitting on it already?)

    With Neptune at 9.582 AU, that gives the distance at 20 times Neptune’s orbit up to 120 times Neptune’s orbit.

    I don’t understand how anything that low in mass could produce any effects at ALL at 200-1200 AU, when Jupiter at 5.46 AU is said to NOT have had any affect on objects only 30-50 AU away in the Kuiper Belt.

    Proportion, proportion, proportion….

    Something doesn’t add up. I am willing to be convinced, but they don’t give a crap what I think, I am sure – whether I approve or not. But there certainly isn’t enough here for anyone but a true optimist/believer.

    I usually give CalTech science high marks. This sounds to me like jumping the gun and grandstanding. Getting good press is a necessity in science, I know, and it has to happen often enough that people don’t forget astronomy and NASA and ESA.

    Maybe I will be proven to be simply a Bah Humbugger. We’ll see. There certainly isn’t enough to go with.

  • Paul Repstock

    I don’t like that orbital perid at all:
    “Orbital period – – 10,000 to 20,000 Earth years[2]”
    It is pretty much in the range of 12,000-24,000??

  • Paul Repstock

    Email your postal address so I can help pay for use of this interesting site.
    Not fair that you should have to do the maintainance and also pay rent, when you don’t profit from it.

  • Steve Garcia

    About the arkies being our interpreters of the past, it seems I wasn’t QUITE right about them. There was a moment in time in the 1950s when archaeologists changed how they did archaeology. It came with something called “New Archaeology”, centered a good deal around the Univ. of Arizona.

    [Wiki] Processual archaeology (formerly the New Archaeology) is a form of archaeological theory that had its genesis in 1958 with the work of Gordon Willey and Philip Phillips, Method and Theory in American Archeology, in which the pair stated that “American archaeology is anthropology or it is nothing” (Willey and Phillips, 1958:2), a rephrasing of Frederic William Maitland’s comment that “[m]y own belief is that by and by, anthropology will have the choice between being history and being nothing.”

    I’ve been saying for about 3 years now that archaeologists are not scientists, that they are historians. Here their own people not only admit it, but they insist upon it. Archaeology is anthropology, and anthropology is either NOTHING or it is history. BINGO!

    This idea implied that the goals of archaeology were, in fact, the goals of anthropology, which were to answer questions about humans and human society.

    This last phrasing dodges the actual statements and re-phrases “history” as “questions about humans and human society”. This specific re-phrasing was done by some anonymous Wikipedia editor. And it doesn’t change the reality. Even their own recognize that they are historians, not scientists. The difference is huge. In history, every historian has an opinion – and no one’s opinion is necessarily better than anyone else’s. I had that rubbed in my nose not too long ago, and I responded that it has nothing to do with SCIENCE.

    While every scientist does, indeed, have opinions, that never stops the search for the one actuality/reality, and it is based on quantification (putting numbers to it). In history they ACCEPT that the reality, AS INTERPRETED, will change over time and never stop changing. With history, there is no such thing as quantification of anything but TIME, and perhaps distance from one event/person to another.

    This was a critique of the former period in archaeology, the Culture-Historical phase in which archaeologists thought that any information which artifacts contained about past people and past ways of life was lost once the items became included in the archaeological record.

    HOW STUPID IS THAT? If true, this shows that arkies don’t have the mental capacity to even think logically in a scientific way. OF COURSE artifacts can still contain information after they are found and included in the record. What kind of stupid logic is that statement???? They couldn’t possibly have actually THOUGHT that.

    All they felt could be done was to catalogue, describe, and create timelines based on the artifacts.

    If only they had stopped there…

    Proponents of this new phase in archaeology claimed that with the rigorous use of the scientific method it was possible to get past the limits of the archaeological record and learn something about how the people who used the artifacts lived.

    Seriously, that is like a stratigrapher logging all the geological layers under the ground as to age and type – and then telling us the religion of the dinosaurs and mammals.

    And WOAH! – – – “Past the limits of archaeological record”????? In other words, they PROJECT – project “past the limits”. They go BEYOND the actual discovered THINGS and claim to get into the HEADS of someone they have never met and never will. What IS past the limits? PAST FACTS and into imagination and interjection and injection of concepts in the heads of the researchers and NOT actually what is in the “archaeological record.” They are, then, MIND READERS. When you go past what is measured and documented and into the heads of the people of the past, it not possible without making sh*t up.

    …And thus it began that they started INJECTING their modern ideas (about the past) into the past. And they actually BELIEVE it.

    Colin Renfrew, a proponent of the new processual archaeology, observed in 1987 that it focuses attention on “the underlying historical processes which are at the root of change”. Archaeology, he noted “has learnt to speak with greater authority and accuracy about the ecology of past societies, their technology, their economic basis and their social organization.

    This is where they formalized the attitude that the earlier a society was, the more superstitious it was, and that all past societies were based upon religion and superstition – and ESPECIALLY they project that there was in each society a priest class that lorded it over the common members of the societies. This was injected enough formerly (in the 1700s and 1800s), and they upped the cartoon characterizations of the past to a new level.

    Now it is beginning to interest itself in the ideology of early communities: their religions, the way they expressed rank, status and group identity.”

    I stand corrected – in terms of WHEN this mentality in archaeology took off and ran with this. To some degree, anyway. Though this was certainly in archaeology earlier (I know, from Egyptology, specifically), THEY INTENTIONALLY AND ARTIFICIALLY DECIDED TO LAY ALL THIS MUMBO JUMBO CRAP ON THE PAST CULTURES. They intentionally CHANGED their own discipline in order to take on this role as “Interpreters of the past” on behalf of modern society and FOR modern society.

    While I was reading the book that led me to look up this “New Archaeology” phrase, I was actually thinking from the wordings in the book that I’d woken up to realize that the arkies AS DESCRIBED were only technicians – AT THE TIME JUST PRECEDING THE ADVENT OF NEW ARCHAEOLOGY. And right now I am certain that that assessment of mine is correct. They were – and are now, too – technicians who know how to organize a dig and log things. Which makes them science TYPES but not scientists. It’s like the difference between the shop personnel working in quality assurance who know how to measure carefully and document the measurements VERSUS someone who designs machines and equipment and is responsible for making sure the equipment WORKS, with all its subsystems and moving parts and producing a particular product or process in the end analysis. No one would consider the quality assurance technician a scientist. Archaeologists are ADJUNCTS to scientists, but not scientists per se.

    Having worked with all of these myself for years, I know exactly when functions are technician functions and when they are research functions and when they are engineering functions and when they are scientific functions. In terms of data collecting, arkies are, fundamentally TECHNICIANS. Nothing more. In terms of interpreting, they are historians – opinions are a dime a dozen and like rectums – everyone has one.

    It is when they inject their biases artificially into things that the understanding of the past goes all wrong. ALL of it is in their mind and they feed off each other.

    And the biggest single flaw as I have seen it so far is that THEY CANNOT ADMIT THAT THEY DO NOT KNOW SOMETHING. When they have an artifact in front of them that has an unknown function, they refuse to simply say, “We don’t yet know what it is for.” Instead, they always say, “It is a ceremonial object”. THAT, in their minds is its function. Sometimes – but not always – they then launch into a complete speculation about its function in rituals. Its not enough to simply guess that it is ceremonial; they have to then describe – BASED ON NOTHING – how the priest handles it and the commoners gawk. In this, when I say ALWAYS, I really DO mean always. So far I’ve never seen them NOT to do this. Even when they say they are not certain, they then launch into, “It is probably something ceremonial“.

    NOTHING in science gets my goat as much as this – historians intruding into science with their legions of guesses and opinions.

    Opinions have no place in real science.

  • Paul Repstock

    Steve; I agree with your frustration. You know very well that this absolutist twaddle comes mostly from pecuniary requirements. Nobody will pay you 2 cents for a rock that “may be” gold, salesmanship 101. Another good chunk stems from our education system; Those who progress by rote learning, often view their hard-earned nuggets of “wisdom” like the Holy Scriptures and tollerate no apostasy.
    However, I believe we all have some tendency to this. Reverting to Economics for a moment: Opinion seems to be a larger currency than Reality?
    The “Economy” is supposed to be the value of all human interaction. Yet, when one tries to reconcile the debts with the assets, production with consumption, or the money stock with the Economy; then one will soon find a huge disconnect! There is no money to pay the debt, and not enough paper in the world to even print the money?
    But, the World keeps functioning, somehow? We function on FAITH and we function because going forward on the same path is preferable to suffering the consequences of starting over again.

  • Paul Repstock
  • Steve Garcia

    Paul –

    I just came on here, and it is interesting that the time stamp on your comment is 1 minute AFTER I came on. (???)

    The rote learners… Thomas Kuhn – he of “paradigm” fame – wrote about the two types of scientists. One type is those who do research to expand science. The other is those who do research to confirm the current orthodoxy and make its foundation stronger. Included in the latter I would put the defenders of the faith – those who knee-jerk react to anything new.

    I found out just today that our old friend and nemesis, YDIH skeptic and defender of the rote school of science David Meltzer has a THIRD frontier direction of inquiry that he lists himself as a skeptic of – the Solutrean-Clovis connection. Oh, he is free to find fault with any science he wants to. But when oh when is he actually going to DO science? When is HE going to initiate research at the frontiers of science?

    Apparently Meltzer is getting enough published that he probably doesn’t NEED to generate any new knowledge for the world. I think he is the Director of the Argument Clinic at the Monty Python Institute. . .

    “But this isn’t argument! It’s just contradiction!” Welcome to Meltzer’s World.

    (I DO agree with him on one of them, though!…LOL)

    I don’t even know if I consider the Confirmers as anything above engineers. Engineers are applied science, as opposed to theoretical science. And so are the Confirmers. They certainly don’t do work on theory. Their whole world seems to be them standing on a firm (if dogmatic) sidewalk and snitching on those walking on the grass.

    “Oh! You forgot to dot an “i”! Thus your ENTIRE hypothesis is wrong!”

    Yeah, cheap shots… LOL But at the same time they invite them, don’t they?

    (I know that if I ever submit anything they will be all over me like flies on feces. And I will have deserved it…LOL)

  • Paul – that Babylonian stuff is all made up. It is just triangular cubism patterns.

  • Trent Telenko

    The Centaur herd just grew.

    There is a fresh crater on Ceres discovered by the NASA Dawn probe that has land slides and what looks like a volcanic mound in the center.


    The strange glowing ‘spots’ of Ceres up close: Researchers reveal craters are recent and show evidence of giant landslides
    •Nasa’s Dawn spacecraft captured images at 240 miles above the surface
    •Close-ups show complex fractures and linear features in Occator Crater
    •The new images reveal small dome inside the crater, in the bright center
    •Additional data by craft gives evidence to support presence of water ice

    By Mark Prigg For

    Published: 18:38 EST, 19 April 2016 | Updated: 22:31 EST, 19 April 2016

    “Ceres’ Haulani Crater, with a diameter of 21 miles (34 kilometers), shows evidence of landslides from its crater rim. This image was made using data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft when it was in its high-altitude mapping orbit, at a distance of 915 miles (1,470 kilometers) from Ceres.”


    “In its lowest-altitude mapping orbit, at a distance of 240 miles (385 kilometers) from Ceres, Dawn has provided scientists with spectacular views of the dwarf planet.

    It showed off the Haulani Crater, with a diameter of 21 miles (34 kilometers), shows evidence of landslides from its crater rim.

    Smooth material and a central ridge stand out on its floor.

    An enhanced false-color view allows scientists to gain insight into materials and how they relate to surface morphology.

    This image shows rays of bluish ejected material.

    The color blue in such views has been associated with young features on Ceres.

    ‘Haulani perfectly displays the properties we would expect from a fresh impact into the surface of Ceres.”