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Excerpts From The Electric Universe
Electric Comets Part 2

The following is one of a series of excerpts from The Electric Universe, copyright © 2002, 2007 Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott and published by Mikamar Publishing. Reproduced with the kind permission of the authors and publisher.

Presented by Dave Smith
January 24, 2010
This week we present the orthodox "dirty snowball" model and contrast it with the plasma discharge (electric comet) model. In presenting these in dot-point form it is easy to see that the plasma discharge model explains and even predicts the observations much more accurately than does the currently accepted model of comets.

Chapter 4 - Electric Comets (Cont'd.)

Page 91:

Dirty Snowball Model

  • The solar system formed billions of years ago by gravitational accretion from a primordial solar nebula, which formed a disk of interstellar dust and ices.
  • Gentle or 'sticky' collisions agglomerated the dust and ices into larger bodies (planetesimals).
  • In ways not understood, the planets then grew by 'runaway accretion' of planetesimals.
  • The leftover dust and gas was dispersed by a presumed energetic phase of the early Sun.
  • The planets found themselves in remarkably circular orbits.
  • Comets are supposed to be composed of undifferentiated 'protoplanetary debris' - dust and ices left over from the formation of the outer planets where temperatures in the disk were low. On this model, comets are a mixture of frozen water, carbon monoxide, methane, ammonia and about an equal amount of dust.
  • Comets are injected into the inner and outer solar system from a vast unseen reservoir called the 'Oort cloud.' Those in the inner solar [p 92] system contributed to an early episode of heavy bombardment of the inner planets. Those flung outward were lost or somehow 'stored' in the Oort cloud, to be occasionally disturbed back into the inner solar system by a passing star.
Page 92:
  • Comets in the Oort cloud are exposed to radiation, or space weathering, for billions of years. Only the upper surface layers are affected.
  • As the comet swings through the inner solar system, radiant heat from the Sun sublimates ices from the nucleus. The gases and accompanying dust expand around the nucleus to generate the coma and are swept back by the solar wind to form the comet's ion and dust tails.
  • Repeated passages around the Sun vaporize surface ice and leave a 'rind' of dust.
  • Pockets of gas form where solar heat penetrates the surface of the blackened, shallow crust. Energetic jets form where the gas breaks through the surface.
  • The comet coma is generated by the collision of gases from the comet with the solar wind. Comet comas are amongst the largest objects in the solar system.
  • Strange accelerations of comets are due to ‘rocket action’ of the jets from the nucleus.
  • Comets disintegrate because pockets of gas form inside the nucleus, solar heating increases the pressure, and the fragile nucleus fractures.

Plasma Discharge Model

  • The plasma discharge model of comets is inseparable from the electric Sun model. This model envisions the Sun forming in a galactic electromagnetic 'Z-pinch' at some unknown time in the past. A Zpinch is the most effective long-range scavenger of interstellar dust to form stars. Laboratory experiments show that a number of 'stars' are formed simultaneously along the axis of a Z-pinch. Once the 'pinch' subsides the stars 'scatter like buckshot.'
  • Planets are formed in several separate episodes of 'electrical parturition' of stars and gas giants. Stellar ‘accretion disks’ and planetary rings are in fact 'expulsion disks.' This model accounts for 'hot Jupiters' found closely orbiting their parent star. Stellar ejection of 'blobs' of matter is observed in deep space. The rings of our gas giants are evidence of past electrical expulsions.
  • Subsequent electromagnetic capture and circularization of planetary orbits is accompanied by interplanetary plasma arcing.
  • Moons, comets, asteroids, meteorites and planetary rings are debris that has been electrically expelled or torn from a planetary body. Their composition will vary depending on the parent body.
Page 93:
  • Comets were electrically 'machined' in their natal event. Blackened and pitted comet surfaces reflect their origin in an intense plasma discharge. Comets can be considered 'asteroids on eccentric orbits.'
  • Comets follow elongated paths within a weak radial electric field centered on the Sun. All solar system bodies, including comets, are negatively charged with respect to the Sun. Comets spend most of their time remote from the Sun, and while there, they adopt a voltage in keeping with that environment.
  • As a comet accelerates toward the Sun, it encounters a steadily rising plasma density and voltage. The strength of the electric field within the comet’s plasma sheath thus steadily increases until the plasma discharge suddenly switches from dark mode to glow mode (see information panel p. 96).
  • A glow discharge produces the visible coma around the nucleus.
  • Eventually, increasing electrical stress on the nucleus causes the discharge to switch suddenly to 'arc' mode. Cathode arcs begin to dance over the comet nucleus, giving it a star-like appearance through a telescope.
  • Rock is electrically 'sputtered,' particle by particle, from the surface and accelerated vertically into space in the form of wellcollimated jets, following the natural curved trajectories of particles from a 'plasma gun.'
  • The ejected ionized material is guided electromagnetically into a coherent comet tail. The ion tails of comets reveal well-defined Birkeland current filaments extending up to tens of millions of km without dissipating in the vacuum of space—a 'violation' of gas behavior in a vacuum. (Heated gas in a vacuum will normally disperse explosively.)
Comet West
Comet West in its most dramatic display in March, 1976. The colossal size of cometary displays cannot be explained by the passage of a tiny body through an extremely tenuous solar 'wind' and relying on solar heating alone to remove material from the nucleus.
Credit: Observatoire de Haute, Provence, France
[Click to enlarge]
  • Puzzling comet behavior becomes a unified and predictable result of plasma discharge effects. The cathode-arc discharges to the nucleus produce the characteristic forms of electric discharge machining (EDM) of the comet surface, with sharply scalloped craters, terraces and mesas.
  • Cathode arcs tend to jump from one spot to another, which explains the sudden switching off and on of comet jets.
  • The wandering cathode arcs, seen as enigmatic white spots in close-up images of the comet nucleus, erode the surface and burn it black, which accounts for the surprising discovery that comet nuclei are the darkest bodies in the solar system, "blacker than copier toner."
Page 94: INFORMATION PANEL   [ Permalink ]

'Deep Impact' - Where is the Water?


Deep Impact saw absolutely no evidence for any ice on the surface of comet Tempel 1. At 56 °C (133 °F) on the sunlit side it was too hot for ices. However, it was reported that there's plenty of ice visible in Tempel 1's coma.

On viewing comet comas spectroscopically and observing the hydroxyl radical (OH), astronomers simply assume it to be a residue of water ice (H2O) broken down by the ultraviolet light of the Sun (photolysis). This assumption requires a reaction rate due to solar UV radiation beyond anything that can be demonstrated experimentally.

A report in Nature more than 25 years ago cast doubt on this mechanism. As Comet Tago-Sato-Kosaka moved away from the Sun, OH production fell twice as fast as that of H, and the ratio of OH:H production was lower than expected if H2O was dominant. The report concludes, “cometary scientists need to consider more carefully whether H2O-ice really does constitute a major fraction of comet nuclei.”

The mystery of ‘missing water’ is resolved electrically in the transaction between a negatively charged comet and the Sun. In this model, electrical discharges strip negative oxygen ions from rocky minerals on the nucleus and accelerate the particles away from the comet in energetic jets. The negative ions then combine with protons from the solar wind to form the observed OH radical, neutral H2O and H2O+.

Alfvén and Gustav Arrhenius note, “The assumption of ices as important bonding materials in cometary nuclei rests in almost all cases on indirect evidence, specifically the observation of atomic hydrogen and hydroxyl radical in a vast cloud surrounding the comet, in some cases accompanied by observation of H20+ or neutral water molecules.” *

The abundance of silicates on comet nuclei, confirmed by infrared spectrometry, led the authors to cite experiments by Arrhenius and Andersen. By irradiating the common mineral, calcium aluminosilicate (anorthite), with protons in the 10 kilovolt range, the experiments “resulted in a substantial (~10 percent) yield of hydroxyl ion and also hydroxyl ion complexes [such as CaOH.]”

A good reason for the experiments was already in hand. Observations on the lunar surface reported by Hapke et al., and independently by Epstein and Taylor had “already demonstrated that such proton-assisted abstraction of oxygen (preferentially 016) from silicates is an active process in space, resulting in a flux of OH and related species.”

The authors note in addition that this removal of oxygen from particles of dust in the cometary coma could be much more efficient than on a solid surface with limited exposure to available protons: “The production of hydroxyl radicals and ions would in this case not be rate-limited by surface saturation to the same extent as on the Moon.”

The authors conclude: “These observations, although not negating the possible occurrence of water ice in cometary nuclei, point also to refractory sources of the actually observed hydrogen and hydroxyl.” Additionally, they note, solar protons as well as the products of their reaction with silicate oxygen would interact with any solid carbon and nitrogen compounds characteristic of carbonaceous chondrites to yield the volatile carbon and nitrogen radicals observed in comet comas.

*H Alfvén and Gustav Arrhenius, Evolution of the Solar System, NASA SP-345, 1976, p. 235.

Page 95:
  • Ices are not buried beneath a dirty crust. The presence of water is inferred from the hydroxyl molecule [OH] in the comet’s coma. New evidence shows that the main source of OH is the combination of hydrogen from the solar wind with negative oxygen ions, sputtered from cometary surface minerals (see information panel on facing page). 97
  • Electrical heating of the surface of the comet nucleus and the lack of cooling effect from non-existent sublimating ices accounts for the higher than expected temperatures of the comet nucleus.
Comet Borelly
Comet Borrelly's nucleus, as recorded by Deep Space 1 on September 22, 2001. Borrelly's 'icy heart' exhibits no trace of water ice or any water-bearing minerals. Moreover, the nucleus is actually quite hot — ranging from 300 to 345 Kelvin (80° to 160° F).
Credit: NASA/JPL.
[Click to enlarge]
  • The diameter of the visible coma will often reach several millions of kilometers. It is the electric force, not gravity, that enables the cometary nucleus to hold the coma in place as it careens around the Sun.
  • It is the electric force that accelerates the ion tails of a comet as it sweeps around the Sun.
  • The coma temperature (as hot as the solar corona) and the emission of X-rays are both explained as plasma discharge phenomena.
  • Comet nuclei behave like an electret (similar to a capacitor, but able to store electric charge for a much longer time). As such the nucleus can explode when the internal electrical stresses, caused by the discharge activity at the surface, results in an internal discharge. The many examples of an exploding comet are thus analogous to an exploding capacitor, in which the insulating dielectric suffers a spark-over and fails. The current through the dielectric causes sudden internal heating, which may explosively fragment the capacitor.

97 L. Kristoferson, K. Fredga, "Laboratory Simulation of Cometary Erosion by Space Plasma," Astrophysics & Space Science 50 (1977) pp. 105-123. "the production of OH in space from 'dry,' water free matter is possible by means of molecular sputtering from several cosmically abundant types of materials." However, the production rate is too low without electrical sputtering.
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David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill
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Authors David Talbott and Wallace Thornhill introduce the reader to an age of planetary instability and earthshaking electrical events in ancient times. If their hypothesis is correct, it could not fail to alter many paths of scientific investigation.
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Professor of engineering Donald Scott systematically unravels the myths of the "Big Bang" cosmology, and he does so without resorting to black holes, dark matter, dark energy, neutron stars, magnetic "reconnection", or any other fictions needed to prop up a failed theory.
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In language designed for scientists and non-scientists alike, authors Wallace Thornhill and David Talbott show that even the greatest surprises of the space age are predictable patterns in an electric universe.
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EXECUTIVE EDITORS: David Talbott, Wallace Thornhill
SENIOR EDITORS: Donald Scott, Annis Pepion Scott
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