Sep 08, 2008
Many different classes of celestial bodies are orbiting
the Sun. Some have unique color combinations that might
provide a clue as to their origin.
In the deepest regions of the
solar system, billions of kilometers from the Sun, are
several asteroid-sized icy rocks that have been difficult
for astronomers to classify. In a previous Picture of the
Day article about Kuiper Belt Objects, it was noted that the
largest of the planetoids, including Pluto and Charon, are
described by conventional theories as nebular condensates
left over after the major planets formed.
Scientists have detected other chunks of "debris" like
Chiron, a centaur-class planetoid 170 kilometers in
diameter, by using larger, more sensitive telescopes.
Centaurs take their group name from Chiron, the tutor of
Achilles, a mythical half-man, half-horse. Something that
makes the centaurs so interesting to researchers is the
colors that have been deduced from luminosity measurements.
Most are dull gray, but there are some blue-green centaurs
and 5145 Pholus is rust-red. Nothing in the current
theoretical lexicon prepared the astronomers for the color
As conventional theories propose, centaurs could originate
in the Kuiper Belt. Neptune's gravity might be strong enough
to perturb the orbits of some KBOs, pulling them out of the
Kuiper Belt's main region about 500 billion kilometers from
the Sun and sending them into proximity with the other gas
giants where they are slung into eccentric orbits
Because of their orbital instability, they are thought to
stay near the outer planets for only a few tens of million
years. Theories based on their elliptical orbits indicate
that some centaurs could eventually be ejected from the
solar system entirely, whereas the gas giant planets might
consume others. Other centaurs are speculated to fall into
the inner solar system where they transform into
short-period or Jupiter-family comets.
The Jupiter-family comets move at high velocities, revolving
every 20 years or less, with most solar orbits taking about
8 years. Some astronomers have suggested that the
short-period comets might also be accelerated back into the
outer solar system if they catch a "gravity boost" from
Jupiter, once again becoming centaurs. Chiron itself
manifests a coma of gas and dust whenever it reaches its
closest approach to the Sun, although it does not grow a
tail. Various centaurs exhibit this anomalous behavior, so
they are sometimes referred to as asteroid/comets.
Centaurs are very faint even with a 10-meter optical
telescope, so spectrographic analysis is impossible.
However, by passing the gathered light through three
different filters a ratio of brightness in the three bands
reveals the spectral energy distribution, which is
interpreted as color. Why do the centaurs have such color
variations? No one is sure at this point. Surface
composition is one theory, and deposition of external
material from "meteor polishing" is another.
The Electric Universe suggests a reason for the different
colored centaurs as well as for the different chemical
compositions that make up rocky planets and moons. In a
plasma cosmogony hypothesis, the stars are formed when
cosmic Birkeland currents twist around one another, creating
z-pinch regions that compress the plasma into a solid.
Laboratory experiments have shown that such compression
zones are the most likely candidates for star formation and
not collapsing nebulae, which is the 18th century theory to
which astrophysicists still cling.
When the stars are born, they are most likely under extreme
electrical stress. If such is the case, they will split into
one or more daughter stars, thereby equalizing their
Electric Universe theorist
Wal Thornhill wrote:
process is repeated in further electrical disturbances by
flaring red dwarfs and gas giant planets ejecting rocky and
icy planets, moons, comets, asteroids and meteorites.
Planetary systems may also be acquired over time by
electrical capture of independent interstellar bodies such
as dim brown dwarf stars. That seems the best explanation
for our ‘fruit salad’ of a solar system. Capture of a brown
dwarf requires that the dim star accommodate to a new
electrical environment within the plasma sheath of the Sun.
The brown dwarf flares and ejects matter, which becomes
planets, moons and smaller debris. The ‘dead’ dwarf star
becomes a gas giant planet.
"This is not the 4.5 billion year evolutionary story of the
clockwork solar system taught to us in Astronomy I. There is
no primordial nebular ‘stuff’ of which all objects in the
solar system were formed at the one time. The ‘stuff’ of
which stars are made has been differentiated and altered by
plasma discharge processes. All stars produce heavy elements
in their photospheric discharges, which alters their
internal composition with time. And the ‘stuff’ expelled
electrically from inside stars and gas giants is further
modified elementally, chemically and isotopically."
The reason that there is so much variability in the solar
system is because z-pinch compression is so powerful and
plasma discharges are so energetic. Centaurs are colorful
because they might have been ejected out of different gas
giant planets. Optical instruments show that Neptune has a
green color, Uranus a blue, Saturn a pale yellow and Jupiter
a rusty red. Could the centaurs be exemplifying their
By Stephen Smith
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