The Jets of Hale-Bopp
When the comet Hale-Bopp began
discharging beyond the orbit of Jupiter, it marked the beginning of the
end for standard comet theory.
One of the observations leading to the dirty
snowball theory of comets was that most of the periodic comets begin to
grow tails at about the same distance from the Sun: between Jupiter and
Mars. The determining factor was thought to be the distance at which the
comet became hot enough for water and other volatile substances to
evaporate into space, creating the coma, or "head," and tail of the
But not every comet obeys even this tenuous "dirty snowball"
criterion. Hale-Bopp in particular broke many of the rules. In the
photo seen here, it is still too far from the sun for a "snowball"
to melt, but it already displays seven jets.
Four years after Hale-Bopp left the inner solar system, it
was still active. It displayed a coma, a fan-shaped dust tail, and
an ion tail -- even though it was farther from the Sun than Jupiter,
Saturn or even Uranus. The comet's tail was shrinking, but it was
still about five times longer than the distance between the Earth
and the Moon. At this distance, the Sun's heat will not melt ice. If
it could, the icy moons of Saturn and Jupiter would be as dry as our
own scorched Moon.
From an Electric Universe point of view, a comet's tail
arises from the INTERACTION between the electric charge of the
comet and the solar discharge plasma. The comet spends
most of its time far from the Sun, where the plasma charge density
is low. The comet moves slowly and its charge easily comes into balance with that
region. On the other hand, as
the comet approaches the Sun, the nucleus moves at a
furious speed through regions of increasing charge density and
varying electrical characteristics. The comet's surface charge and
internal polarization, developed in deep space, responds to the new
environment by forming cathode jets and a visible plasma sheath, or
coma. The jets flare up and move over the nucleus irregularly, and
the comet may shed and grow anew several tails. Or the comet may
explode like an overstressed capacitor, breaking into separate
fragments or simply giving up the ghost and disappearing.
The dirty snowball model was never tenable and has been
discredited. This has profound implications for theories of
the origin of the solar system.
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