Two Comets

Since February’s close approach of asteroid DA14, I’ve spent a lot of time on my home-made solar system simulation model, mostly modelling rock clouds.

Last week Marvin mentioned comet Ison. So I got hold of C2012S1 Ison‘s state vectors (barycentric position and velocity), and took a look at what it was doing. It’s a sun-grazing comet, and is (or was) expected to be one of the brightest comets for a long time. Right now it’s inbound, and is lying just beyond Mars. It’s due to reach perihelion on 28 Nov 2013, before heading back out again, passing beyond the orbit of the Earth on 29 December.

ison-4jan2014aThere seems to be an incredible amount of nonsense on the internet about Ison. But it’s not going to hit Mars or Earth or anything else. It comes quite near Mars on 1 October, but is several million kilometres above the ecliptic (the plane in which the planets circle) at that point in time.

I read somewhere that the Earth was due to pass near its tail on about 15 Jan 2014. And according to my model it does indeed seem that the Earth will come quite near (3.5 million km) the inbound orbital path of Ison on that date.

ison-29nov2013-explosionSince Ison comes very close to the sun, there’s quite a lot of speculation about whether it will survive perihelion. I think that’s because either the sun’s radiation will vapourise it, or tidal forces tear it apart. So I took a look at what Ison would do if it exploded (left), and found that there was a small chance that a few fragments would strike the Earth on their way out from the sun. If they did, I reckoned it would be between about 29 Dec 2013 and 15 Jan 2014. And they would probably be particles of ice rather than rocks, in orbits that take them slightly beyond the Earth before they fall back towards the sun.

ison-sidingspring-mars2I also read that icy comets develop jets as the sun heats them. So I tried adding a sun-facing jet on Ison, and found that it slowed Ison and pushed it into a wider orbit, away from the Earth.

And I came across another comet, C2013A1 Siding Spring, which comes very near Mars on 19 October 2014 (right). So near, in fact, that Mars will pass through the coma surrounding the icy nucleus, which could make for some excitement a year from now, since there are several vehicles on Mars and satellites around it.

Both Ison and Siding Spring are inclined at considerable angles to the ecliptic. So they don’t linger very long in the planetary ecliptic plane. Below is a view looking along the ecliptic plane, showing the paths of both comets above and below it.


In the process of reading all the speculation about Ison, I came across Dr James McCanney. He seems to be some sort of renegade physicist who believes that comet tails don’t brighten because they reflect sunlight, but because the sun discharges a current through them, lighting them up like flourescent tubes.

I’d never heard of him before, and I can’t comment on the idea. But he believes that as Ison nears Mars on 1 October, there may be an electrical discharge from it to Mars. And a similar thing might happen on about 5 Jan 2014 when Ison, Jupiter, Earth, Moon, and Venus are all lined up (and indeed they are). So the Plasma Discharge Theory of comets looks like it may soon be tested.

Anyway, one good thing about having my own simulation model is that I can check things out for myself, and draw my own conclusions, and not have to rely on NASA or the media or anyone else.

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20 Responses to Two Comets

  1. legiron says:

    If it explodes, could we get a spectacular meteor shower? Or is it too far off the ecliptic? The maths is way beyond a biologist’s mind, I’m afraid.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes, we could, if enough ice/rocks headed our way. But for it to do this, I think such rocks would have to be ejected behind Ison (and a bit sideways) in order to fall into a lower orbit that would intercept the earth..

      But if Ison explodes in all directions at perihelion, the debris would be spread over such a large area that by the time the cloud reached the earth’s orbit very little of it would hit the earth. And if it arrived as ice, it would be maybe more likely to fall as rain than blazing meteors.

      So I’m not really expecting anything much to happen.

  2. Junican says:

    I wish that someone would actually say what comets are made of. Do you remember the intercept of Haleys comet a few years ago? As I recall, there was no substance to it to speak of. It was just a collection of tiny bits of ice and stuff, which more or less just wafted past the probe. I remember a program of the TV, where lots of eminent people were waiting for something to happen and waffling. Nothing at all happened and nothing at all was revealed. It was immensely disappointing as a programme. A few bits of some ‘stuff’ hit the probe, but there was actually nothing there it speak of.

    I may be wrong ….

    • Frank Davis says:

      From what I’ve been reading recently, they’re 80% water ice, with an extra few percent of frozen carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and various other gases. And they’re also coated with black carbon. But their composition is not uniform,

      • Just been reading some of this Dr James McCanney’s material (he’s new to me) and I think he seems to be saying the ice thing’s baloney. In fact NASA’s Tier I scientists are actually Tier II – there’s a whole secret level of knowledge above them (with the truth) and the ones who think they’re the bees’ knees top-notch Grade A know-alls are constantly passing on disinformation, they’re so dumb. McCanney calls them “textbook geniuses”, or something similar – like you’re average GP, scientist, uni lecturer, etc. Scroll down for more from me.

        • Frank Davis says:

          he seems to be saying the ice thing’s baloney.

          Yes, he is. But I don’t know what he thinks they’re really made of.

          Anyway, his electrical cometary theory is going to be tested over the next few months, and it’ll either stand or fall. And that’s how science should be done.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    DaveAtherton20 > Shadeburst

    In fact the smoking beagles and rats of the 1960s and 1970s never contracted lung cancer, bar one rat that developed an adenocarcinoma on the lung. Although I will add that I do believe smoking causes lung cancer in humans.

    harleyrider1989 > DaveAtherton20

    Belief is a thing that hasn’t been proven, yet its used quite often as a basis for convicting. If we set the standard of proof to be more than a belief basis to in fact be based upon actual proof instead of beliefs it would put science back on track instead of todays junk science methods. Until we have conclusive evidence to any of these so called tobacco related diseases there mere heresay and based upon belief.
    A higher bar is demanded when it comes to proof and since there is NO PROOF where end points meet to actual disease causation we cannot in all we hold dear allow belief to be the basis for conviction in courts of law and this is tied directly to the past tobacco cases. Judge shoping and Juror shopping brought in these convictions based upon nothing more than belief.
    We must demand PROOF!

    harleyrider1989 >

    7 October, the COT meeting on 26 October and the COC meeting on 18
    November 2004.

    “5. The Committees commented that tobacco smoke was a highly complex chemical mixture and that the causative agents for smoke induced diseases (such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, effects on reproduction and on offspring) was unknown. The mechanisms by which tobacco induced adverse effects were not established. The best information related to tobacco smoke – induced lung cancer, but even in this instance a detailed mechanism was not available. The Committees therefore agreed that on the basis of current knowledge it would be very difficult to identify a toxicological testing strategy or a biomonitoring approach for use in volunteer studies with smokers where the end-points determined or biomarkers measured were predictive of the overall burden of tobacco-induced adverse disease.”

    In other words … our first hand smoke theory is so lame we can’t even design a bogus lab experiment to prove it. In fact … we don’t even know how tobacco does all of the magical things we claim it does.

    The greatest threat to the second hand theory is the weakness of the first hand theory.

    harleyrider1989 >

    European descent into Dark Age ignorance continues apace
    Posted on July 15, 2013 by admin

    When the EU adopted the anti-science “precautionary principle” as its guiding paradigm a decade or more ago, we don’t think anyone (except perhaps its anti-progress advocates) had any idea how low the regulatory process would stoop in service of its ideology. This misguided concept asserts that any process or substance which has not been “proven safe” should be restricted or banned out of an excess of precaution, until such time as such proof can be obtained. The fact that “proving a negative” is impossible and unscientific is not taken into account, nor is the fact that if the principle is stringently applied, essentially all progress must come to a screeching halt.

    The individual nations as well as the EU Parliament and its various bureaucratic commissions seem to be competing to outdo one another on how far to kowtow to superstition-based fears of chemicals, devices and technologies whipped into frenzies by agenda-driven activist groups. The current target of concern is the so-called “endocrine disruptor” group of chemicals, especially phthalates (plasticizers, softeners of PVC plastics in consumer and medical products). As we here at ACSH have often pointed out, the whole concept is fraught with the conflation of pseudo-science and politics, as in the worst-case scenario, these chemicals might impact the endocrine system of certain rodents at extremely high exposure levels. No human health effects have been documented, but fears of such has generated extreme anxiety among regulators “over there.”

    This anti-science ferment has provoked (finally!) a group of almost 100 scientists, including journal editors and academics, to write an open letter to the Chief Science Advisor to the President of the EU Commission, castigating their “science” regulators’ seeming abandonment of well-known scientific principles and precepts of risk assessment and weight-of-evidence, in favor of pre-ordained hyper-precautionary agenda, on the subject of endocrine disruptor regulation.

    The letter is entitled, Scientifically unfounded precaution drives European Commission’s recommendations on EDC regulation, while defying common sense, well-established science and risk assessment principles, where EDC represents endocrine disrupting chemicals. It is a scathing commentary on the sad state of science in Europe, to which anyone who has been following their policies on matters as variable as GMO agriculture and e-cigarettes will attest. The link here will take you to the journal, where the letter can be purchased, and it’s expensive. If you want a copy for personal use, email us here and we’ll send you one.

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    The current target of concern is the so-called “endocrine disruptor” group of chemicals, especially phthalates (plasticizers, softeners of PVC plastics in consumer and medical products).

    In America this same thing is occurring now with all sorts of consumer products and it caused a real hysteria with foam products;

    This was stated by the ACS and the governments own toxicologist but the story was pulled soon after I started posting it around the web…………..

    Don’t fret over list of cancer ‘risks’…/…r-list-ofcancer-risks.html

    “We are being bombarded” with messages about the dangers posed by common things in our lives, yet most exposures “are not at a level that are going to cause cancer,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, the American Cancer Society’s deputy chief medical officer.
    Linda Birnbaum agrees. She is a toxicologist who heads the government agency that just declared styrene, an ingredient in fiberglass boats and Styrofoam, a likely cancer risk.
    “Let me put your mind at ease right away about Styrofoam,” she said. Levels of styrene that leach from food containers “are hundreds if not thousands of times lower than have occurred in the occupational setting,” where the chemical in vapor form poses a possible risk to workers.
    Carcinogens are things that can cause cancer, but that label doesn’t mean that they will or that they pose a risk to anyone exposed to them in any amount at any time.

    Now,Im glad to see the ACS admitting to the dose response relationship finally!

    So now we understand why the following is factual:

    are hundreds if not thousands of times lower than have occurred in the occupational setting,” where the chemical in vapor form poses a possible risk to workers.

    Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Vol. 14, No. 1. (August 1991), pp. 88-105.

    ETS between 10,000- and 100,000-fold less than estimated average MSS-RSP doses for active smokers

    OSHA the components in tobacco smoke are diluted below existing Permissible Exposure Levels (PELS.) as referenced in the Air Contaminant Standard (29 CFR 1910.1000)…It would be very rare to find a workplace with so much smoking that any individual PEL would be exceeded


  5. Hello again,

    I’ve listened to his latest two broadcasts and he’s suggesting that:

    a) Ison may crash into the sun or come very close to it and be used to create false flag power outages across North America as part of the greater push for the one world government, and.

    b) The object which hit “Russia”, which I assume is your Chelyabinsk fireball, was actually a manmade object, perhaps fired from the USA, as it came in at a low earth orbit of 17,000 MPH, whereas objects from space arrive at 100,000 MPH or more.

    I’m about to listen to him for another hour….

    • Frank Davis says:

      manmade object, perhaps fired from the USA, as it came in at a low earth orbit of 17,000 MPH, whereas objects from space arrive at 100,000 MPH or more.

      That’s not true. The estimated speed of the Chelyabinsk fireball was in the region of 10 km/s, which is 22,000 mph. And those were the sort of numbers that I was getting using DA14 companion rocks in my simulation model.

      It really depends on the relative speeds of the Earth and incoming rocks. Comet Siding Spring, shown on one of my images, is in near head-on collision with Mars, and approaching (I have read) at 56 km/s, which is 120,000 mph. If it had been coming up behind Mars, the relative velocity would have been a lot less. DA14, back in February, was approaching at a relative velocity of 6 km/s from behind the Earth. The asteroid Apophis will be doing much the same in 2029, and approaching at 4 km/s

      • I have no idea of these matters. I was just relaying what he was saying.

        I’ve now listened to three hours of him and going for hour four (what have you done, Frank?) and still don’t know what comets are made from acc. to him. If I find out, I’ll let you know! Just as well it’s my day off…

    • b) The object which hit “Russia”, which I assume is your Chelyabinsk fireball, was actually a manmade object, perhaps fired from the USA, as it came in at a low earth orbit of 17,000 MPH, whereas objects from space arrive at 100,000 MPH or more.

      This is as plausible as passive smoking being a killer……….

      The most logical explanation is that it was a fragment of DA14

  6. Marvin says:

    Frank, this video explains the electrical nature of comets, very well indeed.

  7. Gold Price says:

    A better comparison, perhaps, is Comet Lovejoy, which flew through the sun’s atmosphere in 2011. Lovejoy emerged intact and wowed observers with a garish tail for weeks.

  8. Pingback: Three Comets | Frank Davis

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