by James M. McCanney
This paper provides an alternate theory
for comet behavior and shows comets to be planetary, lunar, and
asteroidal bodies in their formative stages. It demonstrates that
tail matter is attracted towards an asteroidal comet nucleus by
strong electrical forces. Additionally, two charging mechanisms are
identified, both of which produce a net negative charge on the comet
nucleus. This is supported by data from recent space probes.
Comet wandering, sunward spikes, a
shrinkage of the coma as the comet approaches the Sun, curved tails,
the gathering and maintenance of meteoroid streams, spiraling of
tail material, and the rapid orbital circularization of large newly
captured comets are also discussed.
Earlier papers used similar concepts to predict the existence
of strong electrical fields in the vicinity of Saturn, showing
Saturn and its ring system to be analogous to the Sun and its
zodiacal disk. The realization of the proton wind-supported
capacitors of Saturn and the Sun led to a number of unexpected
theoretical considerations that included,
the recognition of the charging
process used by comets
the postulation of an ion and
dust cloud held back by solar wind pressure near the orbit of
Jupiter - which is one source of comet tail matter
a postulated electric dipole
red-shift in photons leaving the central star
theoretical result was the possibility of an electrically
induced magnetic dynamo powered by a planet spinning inside the
orbit of a slightly charged moon. Empirical correlation between
moons and magnetic fields has been known for some time, though the wandering of our Moon has remained an unsolved
An attempt is made to explain solar
system formation from the time a newly formed twin star system
leaves the galactic center to when it develops its solar system
by the capture of comets. The reader's knowledge of planetary
encounter and N-body literature is assumed since it is basic to the
paper but unreferenced.
However, the text by T. J. J. See, which develops the first capture theory for the
origin of the solar
system (OSS), is indispensable. A major result of this paper is also
the quantization of' Newtonian space. Finally, the link between
planetary formation, geomagnetic reversals, and biological evolution
This paper was produced during the 1979-80, 1980-81 academic years
while the author was a lecturer in the Physics and Mathematics
Departments of Cornell University (Ithaca, N. Y.) Only minor
grammatical changes have been made for publication and numerous
footnotes have been added for clarification.
The article is a condensed version of a
450 page manuscript (Origin of the Planets, Comet Capture Processes
in the Formation of Solar Systems, also by the author) which further
develops each aspect of the new comet theory. Although it was never
intended, the theory explains Velikovsky's claims of Venus
transforming from a comet into a planet and is supported by data
from recent space probes.
Since 1982, with the analysis of data from the Pioneer II /Voyager
1/Voyager 2 missions to the outer planets and the Pioneer Venus/
Russian Venera probes, the trend even among established
astrophysicists has markedly turned towards catastrophism based on
celestial events (these have been mainly variations on the
"colliding asteroid" theory).
In spite of this trend and a wealth of
new data on electromagnetic phenomena, mainstream astrophysicists
continue to maintain that gravity is the only force in the cosmos
and to support long standing theories such as the Big Bang, the
nebular collapse theory for the origin of the solar system, the
greenhouse effect, the ice ball comet model, and General Relativity
(all of which are shown to contain theoretical inconsistencies in
As the data arrived from around the solar system, the author
witnessed repeated efforts within the space science community
(primarily NASA) to ignore the importance of electrical phenomena.
If the data did not fit into the established theoretical picture,
after-the-fact theories were contrived to force-fit the data, or the
data were simply not dealt with at all. It should have been apparent
that the data were unquestionably contradictory to any expectations
of traditional theory and that a radically new set of
self-consistent concepts would be needed.
Part I is the first of a three part
series which develops a new theory for comet behavior and solar
system evolution. Many may wonder why a new theory is necessary;
thus Part I begins with a brief critique of presently "accepted"
astronomical theory and is followed by an introduction to the new
I. A BRIEF
CRITIQUE OF THE ICE BALL COMET MODEL AND NEBULAR THEORY OF THE
ORIGIN OF THE SOLAR SYSTEM
Occasionally letters are published which disagree with the ice ball
comet model (IBCM) and nebular collapse theory for the origin of the
solar system (OSS). Personal experience also indicates that there
is a group of scientists and astronomers who do not accept either
theory, but do not publish since they do not know what to publish.
This has led to the popularized
statement that there is universal acceptance of these theories.
After the Voyager I Saturn encounter, many began to realize the
inability of the nebular theory to explain the data, especially the
electrical phenomena and large energy output of Saturn as compared
All current literature on planet formation assumes the preexistence
of planetesimals which are then shown to agglomerate relatively
quickly into planets. The great difficulty with this has always
been in showing how the proto-planets form, since only large Magellanic clouds can achieve gravitational collapse in theory (in
practice, no one has ever witnessed the collapse of any cloud, no
matter how vast its size).
Also, if these small planetesimals are
so difficult to explain, then how did the relatively small frozen
comet' nuclei form in the primordial nebula? It has always been
assumed that this is how it must have been, as is the case with the
Oort-cloud which currently is impossible to detect. Other objections
which cannot be ignored are the results of all four Pioneer-Venus
probes which detected "more energy being radiated up from the
lower atmosphere than enters as sunlight", the faint glow at the
surface and atmospheric lightning, not to mention the high
concentration of argon-36, among others.
At this point science cannot be advanced
by simply trying to modify previous theories which fall very far
short of explaining these data or by refusing to look at new
approaches to the problem.
The unexpected elevated temperature in Titan's clouds has been
explained as due to a temperature inversion, suggesting that the
heat is generated by a greenhouse effect. But, Titan receives only
about 1/40,000th the sunlight that reaches Venus, so few will
believe in a greenhouse effect at this distance from the Sun. Infrared data must be viewed skeptically as they have consistently
given low temperatures in Earth-based data (i.e., Venus, Jupiter,
Also, Pluto is now known to have gaseous
methane in its atmosphere and therefore must have a considerable N2
atmosphere to hold this in place (as with Titan). With the recent
determination of the low mass of Pluto (Pluto has non-trivial
amounts of gaseous methane in its atmosphere yet is only 1/400th the
mass of Earth), one can only ask how it has maintained this
atmosphere for 4.5 billion years and how it maintains the elevated
temperature necessary to have a gaseous atmosphere (as with Titan)?
The current sheet of five million amps that flows constantly from lo
to Jupiter was the first electrical discharge phenomenon recorded by
Voyager in interplanetary space. It is generally stated that the
auroras on Jupiter arise from current flow from lo's torus. But,
since auroral spots - one near each pole - also follow lo as it
orbits Jupiter's dark side, the current must be coming from lo
itself. The visible auroral spots near Jupiter's poles following Io
were mentioned in early news releases but no reference to them was
found in the issues of Science (written by NASA space scientists)
dealing with Voyager I and III's encounter with the Jovian system,
i.e., I June 1979 and 23 November 1979.
Although a "magnetic" explanation was given for lo's
current sheet, current cannot flow unless a potential difference
exists; therefore lo must maintain a net charge with respect to
Jupiter. This paper will show that lo maintains a net electric
charge, using the same charging process as comet nuclei orbiting the
Sun. It will be shown that Jupiter's spinning inside the orbit of
charged lo creates Jupiter's magnetic field, and not vice versa.
The widely publicized tidal heating of lo to account for its great
internal heat and volcanism has been questioned. The tidal
theory predicts the greatest heat to be at the north and south poles
of lo, but almost all volcanic activity is observed within
30 degrees of its equator. As with all "accepted" theories, it has
been favored because it supports the a priori assumption that
everything in the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago.
Internal heating will be discussed in detail and it will be shown
that tidal heating has been overestimated. The heat is rising from
Io's young interior through volcanism which is a result of quakes
caused by the tidal action of Jupiter, Europa, and Ganymede.
Other important but often ignored anomalies are the wanderings of
Neptune and Earth's Moon, the selective heavy cratering of the
far side of the Earth's Moon, and small halos around certain
Most investigators strictly hold that electrically charged celestial
bodies cannot exist because it would be observed in the planetary
motions. The answer to this is that it is now known that the charge
to mass ratios of celestial bodies vary greatly with size, with the
most notable effects occurring only in the motions of the smallest
bodies. This is discussed at length throughout the present paper and
has been 20 observed in Saturn's system.
Although much has been written and many calculations performed on
the ice ball comet model, it is difficult to imagine that the
miniscule amount of solar radiation falling upon this nucleus can
cause comas 1.5 x 1O^6 km in diameter and I 00 million km in
length. Furthermore, the comet must continually fill this space
as the tail follows the comet in its orbit.
Piecewise integration suggests that the
comet would have to fill this volume at least 600 times during a
single passage while inside the orbit of Mars and it is expected to
do this on thousands of returns. Also, it is particularly hard to
imagine a sun-grazing ice ball passing through the 1 million degree
solar corona, spending a number of hours grazing the solar
atmosphere (not to mention passing through the solar Roche limit on
a highly eccentric orbit), and passing to the outside again
If the icy volatiles were ejected by solar radiation bombardment,
then the statistics of following such a molecule, given the mean
free path as a constant, would show the comet coma luminosity to
fade exponentially as the distance from the nucleus. On the
contrary, the coma is well defined up to an edge and does not exist
appreciably beyond this.
Observed anti-tails (sunward fan-shaped tails) have been explained
as due to the rotating ice ball interacting with the solar wind.
Comet wandering is claimed to be due to the ejection of jets from
the ice ball.
The curved Type II tails as observed in Donati's comet and comet
West follow the comet in its orbit. This would require a selective
curvature in the solar wind or other such containment mechanism in
the IBCM; however, it has been shown that neither solar wind nor
solar radiation can provide such a containment mechanism.
The IBCM is only valid for the region of space well within the orbit
of Jupiter. The two largest comets in history (comet 1729 and 1927
IV) were recorded outside Jupiter's orbit (1927 IV was seen beyond
the orbit of Saturn).
Comets with sunward "spikes" are explained in the IBCM as a thin
Type I tail which only "appears" to extend in the sunward direction.
This explanation was first given when Comet Arend-Roland
(below image) developed a
sunward spike for seven days during its 1957 passage.
Comet Kohoutek (image below) developed a similar spike
as it passed near the Sun as seen by Sky-Lab astronauts. Since
then, other spiked comets have been observed, always occurring in
the ecliptic near the Sun.
Pliny the Elder in his Second Book of
Natural History speaks of comets that project horns, and there are
many other ancient references to unusual comets. Data which must be
included are the 6,000 year old American Indian rock paintings found
near Green River, Utah.
Comet Kohoutek (1973)
The paintings are unmistakably those of
a comet with a spike in the form of a helix. One shows the comet
with a large nucleus, the other without. As the comet is drawn
twice, it was the painter's intention to draw the sunward spike in
the form of a helix. Spiraling of comet tail material is also
commonly observed, reminiscent of ions moving in a magnetic field.
The new comet theory shows the sunward spike to be part of an
electrical discharge, and the spiraling of the spike and tail matter
a result of charged particles moving in a magnetic field supported
by the charged comet nucleus. This is a marked difference in the
theories and, therefore, provides one of the many Earth-based
experiments that can decide between the two theories.
If radio noise is detected during spike
formation, then the IBCM cannot explain this since the thin Type I
tail should be much less active than the larger Type II tail. A
magnetically induced discharge in large Type I tails has been
suggested but this cannot be related to sunward spikes for the
reason just given. Also, low level radio noise in comets has been
accidentally detected during occultation of stars. So detection of
excessive radio noise in spiked comets should provide a definitive
test for the alternative theories.
The link between galactic and solar system formation is necessary
for a complete understanding of celestial phenomena. The
traditionally accepted density wave theory of spiral arm formation
is consistent with the nebular theory of OSS in that it explains the
origin of impulses believed necessary for stellar collapse and
formation. There are difficulties which still remain with this
The mechanism that begins the density
wave remains unidentified as an interaction of galactic proportions
is needed which is common to all galaxies. This is further
complicated by the need for a symmetric interaction to explain fine
detail such as star densities -- irregularities in the spiral arm
shape and the anti-symmetric warping of the galactic disk - all of
which occur with great symmetry even though the arm pairs are
separated by distances of hundreds of thousands of light years.
II. COMETS AND
THE DISCHARGE OF THE SOLAR CAPACITOR
IIa) Galactic Formation,
Saturn and the Charging Processes Used by Comets
Two Papers have preceded this one and must be read with their
references to interpret the present paper properly.
A new concept of galactic evolution has been proposed in one
paper which is consistent with the new comet capture theory of OSS and is contradictory to both the density wave concept and
nebular collapse theories of OSS. The new model's main result
(as related to the present paper) is that twin star systems are
formed near the galactic nucleus. It also explains the cause
of the high degree of symmetry found in galactic structure.
The twin star system is necessary for capture in celestial
mechanics; thus the formation of binary stars that are observed
in abundance in the sky is an essential part of OSS by capture
processes. The dynamics of twin star formation in the spiral
arm, as it leaves the galactic nucleus, also provides an
important source for the asteroidal comet nuclei which can
become captured by a twin star system.
As the spray of condensing matter
leaves the gravitational dominance of the galactic nucleus, the
largest conglomerates will begin to control the volume of space
around them, with the smaller objects assuming orbits in random
planes with random eccentricities about the central more massive
star. Within a short time, there will be a great number of
This leaves, in most cases, the two largest bodies to orbit one
another with the smallest bodies being ejected from the system.
These smaller bodies are observable as the dispersion of light
that occurs around the spiral arm near the galactic nucleus as
they move outwards for possible capture by twin star systems. It
is a game of numbers; of the multitude of asteroidal planetary
"seeds" ejected from this portion of the spiral arm, only a few
will eventually become active members of a solar system.
Here also it is seen that the planes
of the solar systems formed will be randomly oriented as will
the orbital directions of the smaller stars of the pairs.
Jupiter and the Sun were the original twin stars of our system,
with the rest of the planets, moons, and asteroids being
captured one by one at a later time, the selection rules being
governed by chance.
Some may ask: "why cannot some planets have been part of the
original system as it left the galactic nucleus?" If such 3 (or
N) body systems were possible when given random initial
conditions, then triple star systems (and higher order systems)
would be more abundant. Only 0.1% of all stars are in higher
order systems, and the known systems (e.g., the triple-star
alpha-centauri) act much as a twin star. i.e., a closely spaced
binary with a distant orbiting third star.
Comet captures are well understood and well documented. e.g.,
Lexell's comet 1770 and comet Brooks II, 1886. Also, the
observation that 5000 asteroids lie within Jupiter's orbit with
only a few beyond shows the organizing effect of capture by a
twin star. Thus, with over 75% of the stars in double systems,
and many single stars with unlit companions, developing
planetary systems should be found in all of these.
The second paper deals with the star-like nature of Saturn (and
Jupiter). From the observed central high velocity wind belt, the
highly developed ring system (analogous to the zodiacal disk),
the electric discharge phenomena in its vicinity and the
proportionately larger thermal output when Compared to Jupiter,
it must be true that Saturn is much more active and therefore
younger than Jupiter.
A major result of the Saturn paper is the identification of two
charging processes, both resulting in a net negative charge on a
body moving in a hot plasma (either planetary radiation belts or
the solar wind). The first has been detected and is induced as
the body enters regions of varying electrical potential within
the plasma. A small space craft can quickly charge to a
potential of 10,000 volts, so if size is assumed to be
important, then a small asteroidal body could quickly charge to
a substantial voltage.
This was observed when
Pioneer-Saturn passed under the small asteroidal moon 1979-S2
and experienced a "great mass" with a large magnetic field. The
great mass sensed by telemetry was the result of the induced
electric dipole force on the metal space craft as discussed
previously (and the same force responsible for the gathering
and maintenance of meteoroid streams by comets, to be
The second charging mechanism occurs during the discharge of the
Sun's (or Saturn's) capacitor formed by an excess current of
protons in its solar wind. The capacitor forms between the
negatively charged central star and positively ionized nebular
cloud which surrounds the star in the shape of a donut.
The discharge of this capacitor is
triggered by the intrusion of an already charged asteroidal
body (charged initially by the first process). Current flows
in a line between the star and surrounding neutralizing ion
cloud via the comet nucleus. Electrons flow outward from the
negatively charged star (sometimes visible as the sunward spike)
while positive ions flow inwards the nebular ion cloud (forming
the comet tail).
Due to the higher mobility of
electrons, they arrive in greater numbers at the asteroidal
comet nucleus, causing a build-up of negative charge on the
nucleus. It is the combined electric fields of the Sun and comet
nucleus which create the characteristic comet shape (to be
discussed). Fan-shaped anti-tails are caused by ions and protons
from the solar wind which also pour into the comet nucleus from
the sunward side and fluoresce as they recombine with electrons.