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Late to the Party

Peter Brown publishes Taurid threat paper, dusts The Bos

An instructive video accompanies the paper

I’m trying to get out of town for a beach weekend, but I’ve wanted to get this paper up for days. The newly prominent role of the Taurids among American space scientists, with the role of The Bos discussed in a recent Tusk post here, is peculiar but not unwelcome. Fortunately, and perhaps for sake of the authors’ sense of integrity, the Bos did not make the cut for this publication or the press release — despite pimping the research to WaPo during AGU 2019.

The Bos has conducted himself so poorly and unscientifically with regard to the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis, in which the Taurids have played an integral role, it would be unseemly in the extreme to allow him to pick the authors’ cherries.

As for Peter Brown, welcome! Brown certainly has paid his dues publishing on Near Earth Objects. I note however that his career acknowledgments of the Taurid threat are zero, best I can tell.  Contrast this with Bill Napier. But at least Brown wasn’t out throwing rocks at other scientists and dropping banana peels as they work.

Brown et al. treat their proposed Taurid sky survey in coming weeks as something of a test, perhaps even a challenge to Clube, Napier and Asher’s giant comet theory.  The Tusk would be unscientific in the extreme if we did not welcome the challenge and promise to keep readers posted. But in the meantime, keep an eye on these guys — as they watch out for us.

2 Responses

  1. I appreciate there are differences of opinion between you
    and Mark Boslough but instead of throwing mud at each other wouldn’t you be
    better employed challenging him to get involved so at some stage we could have a theory that is acceptable to
    both sides. Might not be as much fun but as I am getting old I don’t have the
    time to wait for the hostile arguments to settle into a solution.

  2. In case you missed it in the paper, see the animation of the upcoming Earth encounter with the Taurid swarm that passes just below the Earth at http://www.astro.uwo.ca/~dclark56/tauridswarm/arxiv/.
    (I see that George has now posted it, but there are two animations.)

    Dodging a million bullets

    This encounter with this branch of the Taurid Complex outbound from perihelion poses little danger to the Earth, but it is worth repeating several of Napier’s conclusions in his paper Palaeolithic Extinctions and the Taurid Complex.

    In the course of disintegration of the comet Encke progenitor over 20 to 30 kyr, one or more damaging encounters with the debris from a recent fragmentation is a reasonably probable event. In a direct encounter with a meteoroid trail from the perihelion disintegration of a massive fragment of the comet, the Earth could experience effects energetically equivalent to the impact of 2,000 to 10,000 Tunguska objects over about an hour. This energy would be distributed over a large number of discrete areas corresponding to Tunguska-like fireballs. There is therefore an expectation of conflagration over at least continental scales following such an encounter.

    This is entirely consistent with the emerging data supporting the YDIH. And as Bos himself has demonstrated, Tunguska-like air bursts don’t leave impact craters.

    Hopefully, observations of the swarm in this closer than usual approach will give a better assessment of the number, size and distribution of the bodies within, and help settle the uncertainty. However, as I understand it, some large bodies likely reflect almost no light, and therefore would remain invisible. It strikes me that since scientists were able to probe the surface of Venus in some detail with radar, that radar here too might be a more effective way of measuring the swarm than can be done optically. Another approach might be to observe it from space in infrared.

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