Mystery cloud spotted on Mars by amateur astronomer

Here’s something fascinating and puzzling, maybe WUWT readers can help figure this one out. There’s also a neat flipbook animation below the read more line.

Wayne Jaeschke writes:

Here’s a stumper for any Mars experts. While processing my Mars images from last night, I found a strange feature over Acidalia (top right of the animation below). I made this 5-frame animation of the green-light images. The feature appears in all the channels, but is most visible in blue and green and least visible in IR. Also, it moves with the planet (ruling out dust motes on the sensor) and seems to rise over the limb. Fog rolled in after this, so there is no additional data later than this. If anyone caught Mars after 2:15UT last night, please check your images… particularly after 2:51UT.

Update Note:  for those of you Mars geographers, the most appropriate geographic location to cite for where the feature resides is Terra Cimmerium.  Acidalia was where I thought it was at first glance, but the measured location is 190 degrees by 43 degrees (South) placing over Terra Cimmerium.

=====================================================

My thought is some sort of volcanic eruption, as that would be the only thing I could think of that would make an elongated plume that high…but this seems to be even too high for that, but then again Mars has the tallest volcano in the solar system, Olympus Mons, at 22 km (14 mi) high. If it were volcanic, it would be a first. According to Wikipedia: [Astronomers] have never recorded an active volcano eruption on the surface of Mars; however, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express orbiter photographed lava flows that must have occurred within the past two million years, suggesting a relatively recent geologic activity.

Barring that, maybe some sort of gravity induced comet disintegration?

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155 Responses to Mystery cloud spotted on Mars by amateur astronomer

  1. Caz says:

    asteroid impact debris?

  2. gbbaking says:

    Its not a jet of green gas coming from the surface of Mars is it? If so, watch out for giant cylinders landing in a few months.

  3. Adam Gallon says:

    Terra Cimmeria, to be exact!

  4. Chris B says:

    A tunguska-like meteor explosion?

  5. Pull My Finger says:

    Imperial Walkers on the move.

  6. Willam Abbott says:

    no asteroid – a small comet, the same source of the nacreous clouds on earth.

    http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu/

    This is the most neglected astronomical discovery. Ever. Anthony had to shut the last thread down – it got metaphysical. All the planets are orbiting the sun in a flux of small comets. They constantly bombard the earth. Louis Frank’s work at the University of Iowa has never been refuted.

  7. Jason H says:

    Is that too far in latitude to be the Tharsis region? There are a few enormous volcanoes there, and can an eruption reach that kind of height even with a thinner atmosphere and lower gravity?

  8. Barghumer says:

    @gbbaking
    There is no room for any 3 legged creatures on the planet anymore because their places have been taken already by creatures with three rotating arms.

  9. John of Kent says:

    That will be a puff of imaginary “greenhouse gas” from the Sky Dragon.

    They have global warming on Mars too, you know….

  10. Marc77 says:

    It seems to be in the part of the planet that is still into the night. So it could be a mountain that gets lighted before the rest of the land.

  11. Is it an impact? It looks large.
    The atmosphere on Mars is very thin, so an impact could push up a lot of dust.

  12. elftone says:

    Mars’ lower gravity would allow ejecta plumes to go much higher, be they of volcanic or impact in origin. It’s a shame that area wasn’t in view when this event occurred.

  13. observa says:

    Planetary warming, climate change, universal disruption? Beats me but it certainly seems like it’s tailor made for the United Nebula’s Intergalactic Panel of Concerned Catastrophists.

  14. MarkW says:

    Are any of the Mars orbiters still operational?
    If so, how long would it take to arrange a new picture of that region?

  15. SasjaL says:

    Has to be carbon dioxide … ;-)

    Wikipedia mentions cirrus clouds made of ice (and in th Swedish version even carbon dioxide …)

  16. gbbaking says:

    @Barghumer

    Those 3 armed things that catch fire – heat ray malfunction?

  17. MikeH says:

    I think it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger turning on the Alien O2 generator on Mars..

    Has anyone spotted Arnold lately? See what I mean?

    Total Recall

  18. woodNfish says:

    Obviously this is a large cloud of Martian Locusts on their first foraging flight after a long Martian Winter. I am certain John Carter will take care of them as they are considered a delicacy at the Princesses table.

  19. Dennis Cox says:

    An impact plume maybe? The images are good enough give us a good idea where to look in Hi Res satellite image data for a new impact crater, or other accosiated planetary scarring.

  20. Commander Bill says:

    I passed it on to NASA Mar’s Reconnaissance Oribiter folks. They have some hardware in orbit around Mars now that ought to be able to get a better view of this event.

  21. polistra says:

    The green looks Aurora-ish. Or is Mars too far from the sun to be affected by that?

  22. Ray says:

    A volcano eruption would most likely show a symmetrical umbrella, like on Titan (sort of) but this does not seem to be umbrella shaped. It looks more like meteor impact with ejecta. We know that some impacts have thrown in space Martian surface material before, maybe this is one of those cases. It would be interesting to have pictures of that area in the next few days.

  23. mark wagner says:

    temperature inversion in the atmosphere altering the refraction of the limb.

  24. It is a ball of “missing heat”

  25. Garrett says:

    Two sources think it’s a high altitude cloud:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2012/03/26/go-look-at-mars/

    http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/23/10831821-mysterious-cloud-spotted-on-mars

    Of course, most of you here would scoff at anything Phil Plait (The Bad Astronomer) would say. But he is a professional astronomer, though again that probably doesn’t help as you all think scientists such as him are corrupt (yes, he advocates AGW).
    To fully understand the phenomenon, if it turns out to be a high altitude cloud, scientists will need to use atmospheric models. But here again most of you reading this site won’t believe the conclusions since I’ve seen many claims here that either such models aren’t science or that the models are all flawed. (yes, atmospheric scientists use similar models for Earth and Mars, and the other planets).
    If you hold such positions, then I’m afraid you’ll never know what these clouds are. Bummer.

  26. John W. says:

    Could be a blizzard. Has Al Gore made any remarks about Mars recently?

  27. Rob Potter says:

    Like polistra (8.35) my first thought was Aurora since I didn’t think anything from the surface (dust etc.) would reach that high. But it would be a very big Aurora as well – does Mars have a strong magnetic field?

  28. Here’s one Anthony and his clogging word filters will love: It’s a dense spiral chemtrail caused by a UFO crashing and waking the Martian second cousin of C’thulu…it’s 2012, after all…and the relatively low altitude of the cloud is best explained by the effects of rogue HAARP waves from Area 51 caused by an amplification effect of our Hollow Earth. Someone let me know when this post appears sometime next month, please.

    But seriously, I vote for a volcanic erruption, similar to an event reported around this time of the year, in April of 2010: …Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter photographing the Martian surface noticed an odd plume near the summit of Pavonis Mons. The initial guess was that this plume might have been fog or an new impact on the Martian surface, but the continued presence of the plume might suggest that it is not a transient feature. One suggestion is that these could be a volcanic plume. (See more info and image at http://scienceblogs.com/eruptions/2010/04/eruption_on_mars.php)

    But for a truly spectacularand full-colour image of the 2010 erruption, in all of its reddish glory, see her: http://www.desicomments.com/dc/16/38513/38513.jpg

    [REPLY: Yes, we needed the jaws of life to get that one out of the spam filter. -REP]

  29. Patrick Davis says:

    Easy! It’s CO2 wot dunnit! Add to the list of what CO2 does;

    Bulges on other worlds.

    All we need do now if find summat odd in another galaxy to claim it was CO2 wot dunnit!

  30. Steve says:

    Hopefully orbiters will focus on that region as soon as they can. In addition to an impact plume or volcanic activity, This is at the latitude where where there is surface ice in polygonal ground, so perhaps also some sort of thermal plume caused by melting? It appears to be at a similar elevation to the dust or dry ice clouds on the limb.

  31. Ok, a really, really serious hypothesis now, while the WUWT Pseudoscientific Hoaxes Forensics Department staffers analyze my previous post.

    I think it’s a hoax: Photoshop > color sampler > shape > fill > gaussian blur > specle > blur. It’s a build-up to a photoshopped image of a rocket launch which will appear on April 1st.

  32. stricq says:

    Nobody has mentioned Dr. Manhattan yet. Could it be his glass fortress of solitude? Or… a could, yes definitely a cloud.

  33. vukcevic says:

    I suggest (water or CO2) ice ‘meteorite’ http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Mars.htm evaporating in the thin martian atmosphere. http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/sl9/news56.html

  34. Alan the Brit says:

    My tuppence ha’penny worth. In the image it does indeed move with the planet’s rotation. To me though, it appeared to be thin in profile, then as the rotation occurs is spreads out. It could be ejecta from either volcano or impact that has reached its limiting altitude & flattens as cooling takes place. Just a thought but I am only a humble engineer. It would be interesting to view other images to see if it spreads a tail as rotation continues & high altitude winds drag it around the planet.

  35. SPreserv says:

    It’s one of them there annual races …

  36. LOL: Yes, we needed the jaws of life to get that one out of the spam filter –REP

    The second link is not resolving now, for some reason. It’s an image of an orange tabby laughing her head off, with the caption “April Fools!” The article on the April 1 erruption/asteroid was a April Fool’s joke by Eric Klemetti at Scienceblogs.com, cited above. Given the current date, I’m still thinking this is a more elaborate version of the same spoof, one which will get truly rificulous on the 1st.

  37. lorne50 says:

    I didn’t know that Mars had a magnetic field to produce a Aurora .

    Q to Rob Potter

  38. Christoph Dollis says:

    Alien cloaking device, obviously.

  39. Brian H says:

    MikeH says:
    March 28, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I think it’s Arnold Schwarzenegger turning on the Alien O2 generator on Mars..

    Has anyone spotted Arnold lately? See what I mean?

    Total Recall

    Yes, unfortunately.

    http://populationmatters.org/2012/blog/schwarzenegger-launches-virtual-sustainable-world-project/

  40. MattC says:

    The Martian face sneezed.

  41. Ok, the reason I’m such a Doubting Thomas is because I was bamboozled by an anthro prof when he handed us a monograph on a rarely studied culture, the Nacirema and assigned a 2 page essay for a small bonus mark. It described obsessions with dental hygene, special ablution rooms in every house, healing temples with white-clad priests and priestesses and such.

    I wrote a 4-page essay (due on April 1st) describing the culture’s uncanny similarity to our North American one, the resemblance to our brushing and flossing, hospitals with white-clad physicians and nurses, etc. I speculated about a cargo cult-like cultural transfer where some Nacirema inhabitants had travelled to the West, returned to tell tales of wonder and their stories became embedded in the culture’s mythology and rituals. Of course, almost everyone in the class got it right away…by reversing the name, Nacirema to “American”… and didn’t hand anything in.

    I got a nice mark, though, beause I came really, really close and actually worked my butt off. Apparently the author of the monograph had submitted the spoof to an Anthropological society and none of the experts got it!

  42. MarkW says:

    Rob Potter says:
    March 28, 2012 at 8:42 am

    Mars has virtually no magnetic field.

  43. Brian H says:

    MarkW says:
    March 28, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Are any of the Mars orbiters still operational?
    If so, how long would it take to arrange a new picture of that region?
    _____
    Steve says:
    March 28, 2012 at 8:54 am

    Hopefully orbiters will focus on that region as soon as they can.

    Space.com notes, “NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft will try to image the cloud with a camera that can take pictures in visible and infrared light simultaneously.”

  44. David Ross says:

    “…a huge outbreak of incandescent gas upon the planet…”

    War of the Worlds

    There was a coronal mass ejection on or about the 8th -aurora Cimmerium? But any effects from that should be long gone. Storm feature?

    Somebody should make a movie where the aliens come to steal our CO2 instead of our water.

  45. Jim G says:

    My bet is on an impact of some type since we know these occur. But then since just about everything theorized about the planets has been proven wrong by closer inspection, maybe volcanic activity. I am very envious though as none of my photos of mars ever show anything that interesting but then they are not as good as these either.

  46. David Ross says:

    Quick, somebody call Greenpeace. The French are testing their nukes on Mars.

    Actually, detonating a nuke on our moon could throw a veil of dust around earth. Instant global cooling (and probably ice age). Add the list of geo-engineering nightmares.

  47. cui bono says:

    It’s Disney sending any surviving prints of ‘John Carter’ back to Barsoom.

  48. Canman says:

    How about a tornado?

  49. elftone says:

    Garrett says:
    Of course, most of you here would scoff at anything Phil Plait (The Bad Astronomer) would say.

    Anything? No, only the most blatantly silly piffle that he spouts. The rest of his writing (particularly the astronomy stuff) is OK. Sadly, however, the best part of his exclamation mark-riddled piece was the link to Cloudy Nights, where the real discussion between practical and practised observers is taking place, including the person who imaged the phenomenon.

    People are currently leaning toward a mesospheric cloud, although there were rumblings of the possibility of it being an artefact of image processing. But, if it’s real, it’s high (anything up to 100 km), and whilst not unheard-of, it’s certainly unusual.

  50. Willam Abbott says: March 28, 2012 at 7:59 am

    no asteroid – a small comet, the same source of the nacreous clouds on earth.

    http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu/

    This is the most neglected astronomical discovery. Ever. Anthony had to shut the last thread down – it got metaphysical. All the planets are orbiting the sun in a flux of small comets. They constantly bombard the earth. Louis Frank’s work at the University of Iowa has never been refuted.

    I can second most of that bar it’s being the “most neglected astronom discovery ever”. IMHO there are more serious omissions, and I am not going to talk about that here. Louis Frank is well worth a read, it’s very straightforward science – and his experiences of irrational rejection in the face of good evidence will be well-recognized by folks here. Interesting to consider that the cometoids may be the source of nacreous clouds, makes sense.

  51. Discovery mag and MSNBC did report on Wayne Jeshke’s photos. More can be found on his own site: http://exosky.net/exosky/

    There a close-up at http://exosky.net/exosky/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/21-March-0251ut.jpg, with an inset showing a steam-like plume, although I’m puzzled by the pixelation around the planet, looking like a pixelated selector-tool line.

    Ok, possible this is an anomaly of some sort, I guess, but I’m still doutful and I’m puzzled why none of the big-arsed observatory or satellite telescopes, not to mention thousands of other amateur astronomers, have made contributions. Mars is close, although receeding, it being the month of March, after all, so you’d think there’d be hundreds of images.

    Maybe not an April Fool’s shtik, but count me skeptical.

  52. Andrew says:

    @Christoph Dollis says:
    March 28, 2012 at 9:16 am
    Alien cloaking device, obviously.

    My guess is that it’s Romulan, but maybe others with more expertise can weigh in…

    Oops…’Romm’ulan

  53. Warren in Minnesota says:

    If anything, dust.

  54. vukcevic says:
    March 28, 2012 at 8:44 am
    With a bit of enhancement I got this:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Mars.htm

    Hi vukcevic,

    How’d you do that? If I may ask. Increased contrast and/or saturation? I’m not at my PC with Photoshop until later today, but would like to play too. I’m thinking the emboss function might separate some of the planes and delineate them nicely, but with the distance of the planet and the resolution, we can’t get relative distances of features within the cloud/plume itself. Thing to remember is that with this quality all we are enhancing is an image with a lot of quirks and limits inherent to a digital photo through a lense of unknown quality.

  55. Bryan A says:

    A message for any who think it is volcanic in nature:
    The Olympus Mons Volcanic region is dead center in the upside down image (The North Pole is at the bottom of the image.) The caption and accompanying story states that the image is Least Visible in the IR (heat) spectrum. Volcanism on terrestrial (rocky) is created deep within the mantle and releases heat along with the pressure that the heat creates. (even on Icy Enceladus, the Ice geysers are measurably warmer than the surrounding surface temperatures.) If this event were volcanic in nature or even the result of an impact (which also creates heat) it would have a much stronger Heat Signature in the IR end of the spectrum.
    Mars does have a sporadic magnetic field though not as organized as that of Earth, Jupiter, or Saturn as Mars’ core is cold and the interior magneto is turned off.
    Per AstroBob, there is a localized area of Highly Magentized rock located in the Terra Cimmeria region, Where this anomaly is located.
    See:

    http://astrobob.areavoices.com/2008/11/27/here-there-and-everywhere/

  56. _Jim says:

    vukcevic says March 28, 2012 at 8:44 am:
    With a bit of enhancement I got this: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Mars.htm

    Peter Kovachev says March 28, 2012 at 10:11 am
    Hi vukcevic,

    How’d you do that? If I may ask. …

    Do magicians reveal their secrets?

    /partial kidding

    I wonder if there are any higher resolution images than those existing in the head post?

    .

  57. Tom_R says:

    Garrett says:
    March 28, 2012 at 8:41 am
    Two sources think it’s a high altitude cloud:

    From the images it seems awfully high above the surface to be a cloud.

    But he is a professional astronomer, though again that probably doesn’t help as you all think scientists such as him are corrupt (yes, he advocates AGW).

    If he’s that gullible to believe in AGW, then I have no respect for him. But that has no bearing on whether he’s right or wrong about this.

    To fully understand the phenomenon, if it turns out to be a high altitude cloud, scientists will need to use atmospheric models. But here again most of you reading this site won’t believe the conclusions since I’ve seen many claims here that either such models aren’t science or that the models are all flawed. (yes, atmospheric scientists use similar models for Earth and Mars, and the other planets).
    If you hold such positions, then I’m afraid you’ll never know what these clouds are. Bummer.

    Since the warmists admit that their models don’t handle clouds well, I’d think that using those models to come to a conclusion that the image shows a cloud is a mistake.

    From the height above the surface, it looks to me like it has to be a meteor hit, if it’s not a photoshopped hoax. However, I admit that the height as it appears in the image could be misleading.

  58. vukcevic says:

    Peter Kovachev says:
    March 28, 2012 at 10:11 am
    vukcevic says:
    With a bit of enhancement I got this:

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Mars.htm

    Hi vukcevic,
    How’d you do that? If I may ask.

    Hi Peter
    by increasing gamma correction in steps of 1.5

  59. John from CA says:

    Its worse than we thought — CO2 plumes from Mars.

  60. pwl says:

    It’s Martian Global Warming caused by CO2 on Earth.

    [;)]

  61. Thanks, Vukcevic will play with this one!

    Willam Abbott says: March 28, 2012 at 7:59 am
    no asteroid – a small comet, the same source of the nacreous clouds on earth.http://smallcomets.physics.uiowa.edu/
    This is the most neglected astronomical discovery. Ever. Anthony had to shut the last thread down – it got metaphysical. All the planets are orbiting the sun in a flux of small comets. They constantly bombard the earth. Louis Frank’s work at the University of Iowa has never been refuted
    .

    Better not ask, I guess, how a conversation about comets, even unusual ones, could get metaphysical. But, never mind, I’m onto something better! How’s about a theory, no less, that we’ve experienced a yet-to-be-detected increase of small comets vaporizing at a 330 mile altitude, dispersing into water vapor at 6 miles alt, which would explain global warming. Just as good, if not a better warming mechanism than the one suggested by the CO2 Warmies, no? Let ‘em stuff that one elbow-deep into the tukhes of their new NOAA Cray toy and let’s see William Connolley tackle this one!

  62. Tom_R says:

    Willam Abbott says:
    March 28, 2012 at 7:59 am
    All the planets are orbiting the sun in a flux of small comets. They constantly bombard the earth. Louis Frank’s work at the University of Iowa has never been refuted.

    From your link:

    Every few seconds a “snowball” the size of a small house breaks up as it approaches Earth and deposits a large cloud of water vapor in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

    The moon would then also be bombarded with these, less frequently because it’s smaller and has a lower gravity, but still around one per minute. Since the moon has no atmosphere, these ‘snowballs’ would impact the surface at full speed, say 18 mps. Such constant bombardment and subsequent destruction of the lunar surface would be obvious to a lunar-orbiter, yet this hasn’t been seen. What more would it take to refute the hypothesis?

    Note also that you yourself are suggesting that one of these ‘snowballs’ created a huge plume visible above Mars. Wouldn’t the moon, with it’s lower gravity and no atmosphere, allow such a collision to reach even higher above it’s surface?

  63. pwl says:

    It’s the dust plumes from the Martian Space Fleet taking off en mass on their Invasion of Earth Mission. They arrive within the hour.

  64. pwl says:

    Just a wild guess. Could the CME of a few weeks ago stirred up the Martian atmosphere and caused a storm somehow? What was it, 25 Billion KwH of energy over three days was deposited into the Earth’s atmosphere, what about Mars? How would it react to that kind of energy imparted to it’s atmosphere? Was it in the target cone of the CME? What would that much energy do to Mars?

    Another more likely guess. An impact of some kind on the Martian surface from a meteor or small comet?

  65. A. C. Osborn says:

    All I can say is Great Photos.

  66. papiertigre says:

    It’s the dust plumes from the Martian Space Fleet taking off en mass on their Invasion of Earth Mission. They arrive within the hour.

    Not that I subscribe to this theory, but I’m on my way down in the bunker to beat Tim Robbins with a shovel. It’s the precautionary thing to do.

  67. _Jim says:

    Willam Abbott says March 28, 2012 at 7:59 am
    All the planets are orbiting the sun in a flux of small comets. They constantly bombard the earth. Louis Frank’s work at the University of Iowa has never been refuted.

    Tom_R says March 28, 2012 at 11:04 am
    From your link:

    Every few seconds a “snowball” the size of a small house breaks up as it approaches Earth and deposits a large cloud of water vapor in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

    The moon would then also be bombarded with these, less frequently because it’s smaller and has a lower gravity, but still around one per minute. Since the moon has no atmosphere, these ‘snowballs’ would impact the surface at full speed, say 18 mps. Such constant bombardment and subsequent destruction of the lunar surface would be obvious to a lunar-orbiter, yet this hasn’t been seen. What more would it take to refute the hypothesis?

    “What more would it take to refute the hypothesis?” Hmmm … I don’t know … all I’ve got are (radio) observations which would seem to support the hypothesis.

    A compendium of resources: Sam’s Meteor Radio Echo Page – http://www.k5kj.net/meteor.htm

    From (courtesy of Google books with title “Observing comets, asteroids, meteors, and the zodiacal light”) Radio Methods of Meteor Observation

    Meteor burst communications – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteor_burst_communications

    NASA has an on-line receiver that you can listen to via the internet – NASA Meteor Receiver – http://www.spaceweather.com/glossary/nasameteorradar.html

    Stan Nelson’s Meteor Receivers – http://www.roswellastronomyclub.com/radio_meteors.htm

    .

  68. sherlock says:

    “Its not a jet of green gas coming from the surface of Mars is it? If so, watch out for giant cylinders landing in a few months.”

    Bah – the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one.

  69. Robbie says:

    Meteor impact with dust high in the atmosphere could be an explanation. But then you should find a crater of some sort somewhere at the same latitude. I hope we will find out very soon.

  70. kim2ooo says:

    It’s a contrail,,,without a birth certificate :)

  71. jorgekafkazar says:

    Assuming it’s not just a March Fools’ Day prank, I’ll go with global cooling. (blizzard, if you will, John W.) There are other possibilities, of course:

    http://www.blinkx.com/watch-video/mars-attacks-trailer/gRg0SEUaSMQpElEXddONaQ

  72. HenryP says:

    If it is not an early 1 April joke
    (green?)
    I am thinking it must be (mainly) CO2
    so a volcanic thing.

  73. There was a publicity push today re this movie poster’s release http://www.imdb.com/media/rm1839183616/tt1386703

    If I was a betting man..

  74. Max says:

    I would say an impact. Looking at this person’s photos, I see a “double hump” like a circular wave of dust is radiating outward, the center already somewhat cleared.

  75. peterhodges says:

    Well since it is Cimmeria it is obviously the dust raised by a horde of Cimmerians circling some happless Roman army.

  76. Tom_R says:

    _Jim says:
    March 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

    “What more would it take to refute the hypothesis?” Hmmm … I don’t know … all I’ve got are (radio) observations which would seem to support the hypothesis.

    I read through two of your references and saw nothing to support the ice-comet bombardment hypothesis. Maybe you could be a little more specific and quote the supporting parts.

    In any case, all the supporting evidence in the world doesn’t override a single failure as far as a scientific theory is concerned. As a reader of WUWT, you should have that tattooed across your chest. Where are the over 1000 per day comet strikes on the moon?

  77. Obviously an event… or some sort of occurrance. Possibly even an unfolding situation but we don’t want to be that presumptuous at this stage. I vote we hold off on presumptuousness until tomorrow at 5:00 pm EST.

  78. Gary Pearse says:

    No IR in it? Should rule out volcanic and even a comet strike I would think.

  79. vukcevic says:

    Since the Earth’s gravity is about 2.64 times greater than that of Mars, vapour or dust would rise on Mars to the 2.64 grater altitude and volume would be ~ 18.4 times grater (I think).

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/Mars.htm

  80. On a hunch, I went back to William Abbott’s Iowa U site and, aha, there it was: “The small comets may contain organic materials, though this is only speculation at the moment. If they do, they would seem to be ideal vehicles for carrying organics safely through the atmosphere; they do not burn up the way meteors do, and their icy interiors may protect the organics just long enough to slip safety to Earth on a cushion of water vapor.” By Jove, I got it, taa-taa-taa-taa: Panspermiaaaa!

    There. So, the origins of this small comet hypothesis may not be observations, which appear a tad weak, but another hypothesis, panspermia, which is even a weaker one. That one postulates that life is unlikely to have begun on Earth, for all sorts of complicated reasons one needs advanced degrees to understand, but would have been introduced by water and organics-carrying meteorites. This of course takes it off our hands and pushes it even further back into the history of the Universe or the mists of theololgy, wherever one’s tastes may lie. Alas, two weak theories don’t combine to make a stronger one in the rational world, but who needs that. I haven’t surfed enough to see if there is any feedback effect between these two school of thought, but my bet is on them feeding off each other in a circular way. And now we have this volcanic erruption/plume/mushroom cloud on Mars to compete with the “face” and the “cigar shaped mothership.” Yup, this is getting more convoluted than Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum!

    If I had any brains, I would blend all this crap together, mash it and cook it up into a “mysterious descoveries” paperback and plan for my early retirement at a five million dollar chalet on the Golan Heights with pink ponies for our young daughter. People have written wild fantasies on the circle, of all things, and then we have the global warming thingie, which is even more ridiculous than any of this.

  81. BargHumer says:

    The inset picture at exosky.net/exosky/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/21-March-0251ut.jpg is odd and obviously doctored, yet set alongside the apparently undoctored image. With the remake of Total Recall, it is remarkable co-incidental, but if it is an April fool prank it undermines the work of the astronomer somewhat. For instance, how long before April 1st is it safe to trust the information he presents as being true. Perhaps March 1st would be a good date, or Jan 1st, or “fool me once…”

    REPLY: I think he isolated the horizon to run some image enhancement to bring out the detail. I’d do the same thing. – Anthony

  82. “Terra Cimmeria”

    You’re all so wrong, and when it’s so obvious. Terra CIMMERIA. It’s obviously Conan the Barbarian up there. He’s likely just pissed about something or other and stirring things up a bit.

  83. _Jim says:

    Tom_R says:
    March 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    I read through two of your references and saw nothing to support the ice-comet bombardment hypothesis. Maybe you could be a little more specific and quote the supporting parts.

    Like I wrote, I don’t know …; the controversy appeared to me to be about incoming meteoroids, the make-up of which can vary, and considering the composition might be ice rather than rock, I see a smaller difference on the Kelvin scale regarding the melting points of the two.

    Is it your contention that regarding ice meteoroids vs rock meteoroids that ice meteoroids may not leave ionization trails said trails _are_ detectable by radio means)? There are, of course, multiple incoming meteoroid events every given day; I supplied references documenting same, including the ability (real-time experiment) to ‘detect’ same (of course, one has to separate out the man-made satellite passes that occur as well).

    Were you unaware of the ability to detect meteoroids using a number of radio techniques?

    .

  84. DesertYote says:

    sherlock says:
    March 28, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    “Its not a jet of green gas coming from the surface of Mars is it? If so, watch out for giant cylinders landing in a few months.”

    Bah – the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one.
    ####

    but still they come …

  85. John A says:

    My first impression was of a meteor impact, not vulcanism (Mars hasn’t had a volcanic eruption for tens of millions of years). The cloud would be warmer though…

  86. William Abbott says:

    Peter, I assure you the origin of the small comets arises entirely from observation. Frank wasn’t looking for the comets. They were appearing in the images of the ionosphere as he researched the Aurora Borealis. It remains the only explanation for the observation. You don’t have to be serious. But right now you are not debating the question on its merit. How do nacreous clouds form up to 80 miles above earth’s surface? What was appearing in Frank’s images if it wasn’t comets? Come on, be serious.

  87. vukcevic says:

    Peter you are too late, Stockholm call has been cancelled, someone has already the ‘evidence’.

    http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release/ice-meteorite-found-with-extraterrestrial-lifeforms-182667.php

  88. kbray in california says:

    I zoomed in for “enhancement” and got this…

    REPLY: OK this is getting to be too much – Anthony

  89. kbray in california says:

    d’accord.

  90. David J says:

    What I find more disturbing is how the planets rotation has been affected. It seems to be oscillating through only about 5 or ten degrees. How much energy must that take?

    yes i’m joking.

  91. kbray in california says:

    Is the green tint accurate?
    It seems dust or volcanic from the surface would be reddish.
    Unless sunlight over the horizon through a CO2 atmosphere makes dust look green.

  92. vukcevic says:

    Source of the mysterious Martian CO2 revealed?

  93. Tom_R says:

    _Jim says:
    March 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Like I wrote, I don’t know …; the controversy appeared to me to be about incoming meteoroids, the make-up of which can vary, and considering the composition might be ice rather than rock, I see a smaller difference on the Kelvin scale regarding the melting points of the two.

    Is it your contention that regarding ice meteoroids vs rock meteoroids that ice meteoroids may not leave ionization trails said trails _are_ detectable by radio means)? There are, of course, multiple incoming meteoroid events every given day; I supplied references documenting same, including the ability (real-time experiment) to ‘detect’ same (of course, one has to separate out the man-made satellite passes that occur as well).

    Were you unaware of the ability to detect meteoroids using a number of radio techniques?

    I have no idea whether ice meteors can be detected by radio, but the ice-comet theory claims one every few seconds. I take it that ‘multiple per day’ is nowhere close to thousands per day. So what you presented is not evidence of ice comets. Interesting though.

  94. Anthony Cook says:

    A similar (but smaller) projection shows up at the same place on the limb of Mars in images taken from Puerto Rico at 2:31 UT, March 19 by Efrain Morales Rivera-about 49 hours earlier than Wayne’s image. This would seem to rule out an impact. Take a look at the excellent images of Mars and other planets taken continuously and worldwide by amateur astronomers at the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers-Japan website: http://alpo-j.asahikawa-med.ac.jp/indexE.htm

  95. kbray in california says:

    Maybe something to do with Methane…

    “Brown dwarfs look green in WISE images because the methane in their atmospheres absorbs the infrared light that has been coded blue, Mainzer added. Since the objects are also too faint to give off the infrared light that is color-coded red, they show up as green.”

    http://www.space.com/9509-misfit-failed-star-stinky-cold-glowing-green.html

  96. Anthony Cook says:

    I need to make a correction-I misread the date on Wayne Jaeshke’s image-the time is within a few minutes of Rivera’s. Nevertheless, images taken on March 21 and posted on the ALPO Japan site, especially those of Florida amateur Donald Parker, show that the appearance of the projection looks similar to what is seen on the 19th-not the rapid, dynamic change that I think an impact would have produced in 49 hours.

  97. Truthseeker says:

    It Tony Abbott’s fault!

    (Funny to all readers from Oz …)

  98. Hi William,

    I am serious. Thre pansperia hypothesis predates the small comets. Fascinaing, attractive idea, in need of evidence. Claims of amino acids in meteorites came before, the trouble is they’re fossilized and vitrified,; as dead as doornails. We have a hypothesis in need of a supporting piece of evidence, and along comes Dr Louis Frank with tv-specks he interprets as small comets.

    I’m not a scientist, but I have been around the block enough to know that looking for evidence to support a pretty idea is always something we need to look at with a jaundiced eye. It could be so, but not on the weight of any of this. I surfed a bit and in a matter of seconds found the panspermia connection: http://www.panspermia.org/streaks.htm. The article there implies that NASA supplied the evidence. No such thing; NASA did not interpret Frank’s specks as small comets: (see http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/1997/ast09dec97_2/). To wit, from that article, a University of Washington geophysicist George Parks “analyzed Frank’s ultraviolet (UV) camera images and has concluded that the white snow in space is no more than black ‘snow’ on the television screen…Parks began an analysis of his own images taken with the Ultraviolet Imager (UVI) on the NASA Polar satellite. There he found the same dark spots that Frank had found on his images…..He grew even more uneasy about Frank’s analysis when he found that the UVI had recorded the same dark spots while pointed at a UV light in the laboratory…..When Parks began a minute examination of the images, made by breaking the clusters of spots down into tiny picture point, or pixels, he found statistical evidence that he was seeing not real events, but what he calls an ‘instrument artifact.'”

    I don’t think that either pansperia or small comets have been decisively debunked. However, both are credibly disputed, making them controversial. The water from comets is a plausible hypothesis. Although it’s thought the composition of water in comets (e.g., heavy water) is too different, there is the possibility of some comets containing earth-like water, so the water from comets notion is not dismissed and may be plausible (see: http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2001/ast18may_1/). My issue with the whole thing is the convenient match between two hypotheses that are by themselves weak and highly disputed, but together make beautiful music. Am I saying you’re totally wrong? No, these are attractive hypotheses presented by very smart people, but given the evidence and circumstance I happen to think they are both pretty unlikely, eventhough it would indeed be neat if at least one were true.

  99. 3x2 says:

    A FOI request to the French military is in order.They will deny testing fusion weapons on other planets (being French) of course so…

    (lump of rock) Impact ?

    Blow out? CO2, Methane, Water (!) (something fairly volatile?)

    Anthropogenic? Perhaps utilising some teleconnection via that newly discovered universal force – statistics, PR and media? (S&M)

    Can someone out in WUWT land put a scale to this event?

  100. I think he isolated the horizon to run some image enhancement to bring out the detail. I’d do the same thing.Anthony

    Possibly, but why did he not indicate that the image was enhanced? This line appears only in the larger enhancement too, and shouldn’t remain there once the job is done.
    ____________________

    vukcevic says:
    March 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm
    Peter you are too late, Stockholm call has been cancelled, someone has already the ‘evidence’.

    http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release/ice-meteorite-found-with-extraterrestrial-lifeforms-182667.php

    That was back in 2o10, why no follow-up? One would think that would be pretty big. Isn’t such a bombastic announcement a regular feature by now?

  101. kbray in california says:

    A major methane gas release from a volcano.

    http://news.discovery.com/space/mars-methane-mystery.htm

  102. kbray in california says:
  103. vukcevic says:
    March 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm
    No comment

    ————————
    No comment, but a question, one you may be uniquely qualified to answer, Vuk. Why is Mars munching on a big juicy cevapcici? [Mod: Not a dirty word, trust me on that]

  104. kbray in california says:
    March 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm
    A major methane gas release from a volcano.

    In other words, a big foo-foo. Must have happened after Mars ate Vukcevic’s cevapcici. Things are coming together. That’s why I like WUWT.

  105. RichieP says:

    ‘During the opposition … a great light was seen on the illuminated part of the disk, first at the Lick Observatory, then by Perrotin of Nice, and then by other observers. English readers heard of it first in the issue of NATURE … I am inclined to think that this blaze may have been the casting of the huge gun, in the vast pit sunk into their planet, from which their shots were fired at us. Peculiar markings, as yet unexplained, were seen near the site of that outbreak during the next two oppositions. ‘

  106. kbray in california says:

    Peter Kovachev says:
    March 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm
    ===========================================
    Peter,
    Anthony asked for a serious answer on this one, no matter how much a green floating cloud screams for humor …”Here’s something fascinating and puzzling, maybe WUWT readers can help figure this one out.”

    My final vote is a major eruption of a methane cloud.
    It’s green.
    It’s the only shoe that fits… or the only foo that sh…
    No joke.

    From an obscure internet source:

    “In the visible range nearly all common and probable atmospheric gases are transparent. The exception is methane. Methane absorbs red light, and therefore to the human eye an atmosphere with even a few percent methane appears blue-green under standard sol type illumination.”

    http://www.orionsarm.com/xcms.php?r=oa-page&page=gen_skyonalienworlds

    KQED…. wait, that’s a PBS station…. OK, QED.

  107. Hoser says:

    Is the cloud really all that “high”. If you look at the animated GIF on the other side of Mars from the cloud, you can see how high the atmosphere is by what may be the equivlent of cirrus on Mars. If the atmosphere on Mars is about the same height as Earth’s, then you can tell by eye Mars has a smaller diameter. The cloud seems to have reached the same altitude as the putative cirrus. Is dust able to reach that height on Mars? I’d bet we are looking at winds coming from the pole. Perhaps downrushing cold air as winter approaches.

  108. 3x2 says:

    Why is Mars munching on a big juicy cevapcici? [Mod: Not a dirty word, trust me on that]

    And there’s me promoting this site as an island in a sea of smut.

  109. kbray in california says:

    3×2 says:
    March 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    It proves the sea level is rising….

  110. 3×2,

    Cevapcici: Ćevapi or ćevapčići (formal diminutive, ћевапчићи) is a grilled dish of minced meat, a type of kebab, found traditionally in the countries of southeastern Europe. They are considered a national dish in Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina[1] and in Serbia.[2][3][4] They are also common in Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, as well as in Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia and the Italian provinces bordering Slovenia.

  111. u.k.(us) says:

    [REPLY: Yes, we needed the jaws of life to get that one out of the spam filter. -REP]
    ===========
    Perfect.

  112. Robert of Ottawa says:

    It’s faint in IR, so it isn’t warm. How about wateer vapor? Ice sublimating?

  113. kbray in california says:
    March 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm
    Peter Kovachev says:
    March 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm
    Peter,
    Anthony asked for a serious answer on this one, no matter how much a green floating cloud screams for humor …

    I was serious about it, kbray; I called it a build-up to an April Fool’s spoof, similar to one pulled in 2010, an example of which I put in my first post. Seems like other sources, dedicated and bright amateur astronomers with ingenuity but relatively modest equipment, have followed up, so maybe it’s real.

    Still, what we have are a bunch of grainy images of an apparent anomaly which even Mars specialists might have difficulty with, if it’s an anomaly. So, all we can do is stare at the image, google around to see if anything comes up and make a lot of guesses and jokes. If this is real, astronomers will provide better images and may have an answer or a better guess than we would. I happen to think that your methane is unlikely, because it’s based on a hypothesis and this thing is ginormous. Maybe it’s a massive meteor strike which propelled gazillions of tons of Martian soil to the top of the atmosphere. I understand there has been no volcanic activity for millions of years and it would be weird if blew its top just now, when Mars happens to be conveniently nearby. The most likely explanation, I think, is that it’s a cloud formation from a huge storm, the kind seen on Mars last spring.

    In any event, we are all guessing and goofing around. This page would be bereft of comments if we waited for an expert, but no one declared himself an expert here and the images are insufficient for the amateur astronomers, many who are formidable experts, albeit without advanced equipment, computers and teams. I’m still waiting for high grade images and pronouncements from universities and research centres.

  114. PS: kbray in california,

    About the “it’s green” bit, you do realize you’re looking at an image taken with a relatively small telescope probably with consumer grade optics, taken with a commercial digital camera and viewing it on your uncalibrated LCD monitor?

  115. Mariss Freimanis says:

    I have minor complaint:

    The author of this post noticed what may be an unusual phenomena on Mars. He took the time and trouble to produce an animation to draw attention to what is a subtle observation and asked if anyone has an explanation. His post drew my interest as a layman because it was unusual.

    I had to read through 116 replies to find the few that addressed his question. The rest were from would-be comedians practicing their stand-up acts. I like funny one-liners as much as the next guy but not when they overwhelm the topic. It makes finding the few informed opinions a chore.

    That’s my two-cents and I apologize beforehand if I offended anyone.

  116. People want me to get serious. Fine. A dust storm, unless proven otherwise, is the best explanation, pushing aside exotic causes like mega-meteors, suddenly waking volcanos or green methane farts. Martian storms occur frequently and are well documented. They are massive and are sometimes planet wide and can occasionally be seen with backyard telescopes, as the one on on Oct. 27 and 28, 2005 (http://www.space.com/1723-major-dust-storm-mars-visible-backyard-telescopes.html). The imagery from that one shows bluish-green patches, making parts of Mars look like it has oceans…or green methane, or blue cheese if you will, which is why a serious analyses of low res images from ground level and through our distorting atmospheric “lens” are better done in monochrome.

  117. ExWarmist says:

    Barghumer says:
    March 28, 2012 at 8:04 am

    @gbbaking
    There is no room for any 3 legged creatures on the planet anymore because their places have been taken already by creatures with three rotating arms.

    Hollywood could redo the movie (again…) with that classic scene of the panicked locals updated to shooting a windmill (preferably with a .50 cal machinegun)…

    One can dream.

  118. chuck in st paul says:

    ["Pull my tenticle. (Pfffft!) ha ha ha ha ha ha. Do you think the Earthlings saw that?"]

  119. chuck in st paul says:

    [REPLY: Yes, we needed the jaws of life to get that one out of the spam filter. -REP]

    I declare a thread winner!! ROFLMAO. Hey, next time how about a little heads up there. Now I have to clean the screen of coffee spew *grin*.

  120. Mariss Freimanis says:
    March 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    Marriss, I’m sorry if some of us put you through an ordeal of having to read every post. This isn’t an encyclopedia, most of us are laymen and we work through problems and mysteries on an ad-hoc, by-the-seat of our pants basis. If you pay attention, you’ll note that there are gems among the “would-be comedian stand-up acts.” I’m sure Wayne Jeschke, the chap who posted the challenge doesn’t mind a few mild chuckles as he follows our progress; most people are not impeded with an embedded pickled cucumber in the most inconvenient spot. No offense taken, no offense given; chill baby and enjoy the process of mad geniuses at play and work.

  121. u.k.(us) says:

    Peter Kovachev says:
    March 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    “About the “it’s green” bit, you do realize you’re looking at an image taken with a relatively small telescope probably with consumer grade optics, taken with a commercial digital camera and viewing it on your uncalibrated LCD monitor?”
    ============
    So, visions seen on my monitor may not be what they seem ?
    I already knew that.

  122. kbray in california says:

    Peter Kovachev says:
    March 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm
    ” In any event, we are all guessing and goofing around.”
    =================================
    That was my intent too until we hear from the “big guns” with big tools.

    Mine idea is “just a guess”. On the other hand, It could be a slice of our moon….
    green cheese and crackers anyone?

  123. William Abbott says:

    Peter, yes, small comet theory is highly controversial. If Franks is seeing small comets in his images, he is seeing a lot of them. I want to quote George Parks, in reference to Louis A. Frank’s data; “Parks says. “….He is seeing things that are scientifically not permitted.” I think to would be scientifically permitted to see a few comets. The implication of the density of the comet flux is what makes it, “scientifically not permitted.” It is too disruptive to every branch of science if it is true. What I don’t see is in your links is evidence that the satellite imagery from both VSI cameras on Polar and the cameras on the Dynamics Explorer spacecraft are both faulty.. I see an allegation that the complexity of the cameras is “somehow” causing it. Perhaps Parks is right, Franks (or somebody) has to prove his images are small comets. But I think Frank’s has proven images of atmospheric holes. If the images are caused by comets the proof will surely come to light someday. In the meantime, until we have an explanation for the images, we ought to keep an eye out for evidence. I don’t have a better explanation for how water vapor would get 80 miles up into the upper stratosphere to form nacreous clouds. Small comets are a pretty good explanation. So when I see an image of a cloud in Mar’s upper atmosphere I think I see another piece of “circumstantial evidence” that there may be a flux of comets within the solar system. No one has seen or proven the Oort Cloud exists, but comets have to come from somewhere. Do you have a better explanation? Why is the Oort Cloud “scientifically permitted”? It isn’t disruptive, so it must be okay?

    Obviously all of us are guessing at martian image (not all the guesses have been serious:-) I think a small comet is a pretty good guess. Where did the water on Mars come from? What’s your guess?

  124. wikeroy says:

    William Abbott says:
    March 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    About the Oort Cloud;
    Normally I don’t use Wikipedia. Reason; You do not know the motivation of the person which did the last editing.
    But somethimes, if you can conclude that the subject might be “political neutral”, you might find something of interest. So I looked up the Oort Cloud.
    I see words like “is a hypothesized spherical cloud of comets” ……”which may lie roughly 50,000 AU, or nearly a light-year, from the Sun”…..”astronomers believe that it is the source…..”,and so on, and so on.

    -“is a hypothesized…”
    -“which may lie….”
    -“astronomers believe…”

    I wish the future textbooks in science will be different from the ones I used. Every statement should have a link telling me the scientific proof behind the statement. Then I would have discovered already back then, at school, which parts of my education that was based on guesswork, and which statements was based on “facts”.

    From now on I will remember that the “Oort Cloud” is just “believed to exist”. Thank you, Abbot.

  125. Mariss Freimanis says:

    Peter Kovachev wrote:

    “…most people are not impeded with an embedded pickled cucumber in the most inconvenient spot.”

    My comment was well intentioned and meant to be constructive. I’m sorry you didn’t see it that way. BTW, I spelled your name correctly, can you please make the same effort?

  126. garymount says:

    Its nothing more than an optical illusion. Its a bit of reflective surface amongst a dark surface and it is not above the horizon. I have zoomed up the image and used a circular object (plate) to compare the edge / horizon location and it looks like its just part of the mars surface with surface shadow surrounding the brighter area.
    I would like to line up the image with an object with a nice circular hole, but I can’t seem to find anything at the moment.
    Ok, I used a graphics tool (OneNote) to draw a perfect circle and surrounded the image with the circular outline, and it does look to me as if it is just an optical illusion making it appear as if the bright area is above the horizon.
    Any one else ?

  127. pkatt says:

    Could be another cm to inches debacle.. or maybe a piece of our space junk smacking into the ground, are we missing any orbiters? Seriously though, we cant keep track of all the junk whizzing by our planet, let alone what will or wont hit Mars. The sun recently snacked on remnants of a larger comet that broke up ages ago, perhaps Mars got a rogue piece.

  128. Cecil says:

    I strongly suspect it’s the birth of the Anti-Flying Spaghetti Monster of the Pastafarian myths. If so, we only have a few months to “get right” with the pasta. Mayan coincidences?

  129. KNR says:

    I can’t comment on this until ‘the Team’ have decided if its due to Global Warming or not for its clearly impossible to have any valid scientific view without first running the idea past the universe sized brain of Mann

  130. kbray in california says:

    vukcevic says:
    March 29, 2012 at 12:42 am

    While watching your video, I had an overwhelming craving for a Pepsi.

  131. Geoff C says:

    William Abbott
    Franks later took simultaneous photos with cameras set to take three exposures and two exposures. Whatever he is photographing shows up as three slightly spaced images on one camera and two slightly spaced images on the other. No triple images appear on photos from the camera which took two exposures and no double images show up on the camera which took three. This seems fairly convincing to me that he is photographing something real, not camera artefact.

  132. vukcevic says:

    Peter
    for the latest google
    Dr Jennifer Blank American Chemical Society NASA comets

  133. Jerker Andersson says:

    It’s a secreat chinese Gaia probe that has landed that has started to convert Mars atmosphere preparing for colonization within a dew decades.

    More wild guesses? =)

  134. Tenuk says:

    Conjecture…

    Surface Mars covered in dust with a high iron content (don’t know why?).
    Mars has a weak magnetosphere.
    Several big CME’s have hit Mars over the last couple of weeks.

    So we could be seeing a mother of an electromagnetically driven dust-devil, caused by a big increase in the planets magnetic and electric field.

  135. markx says:

    Well, I’ll say it, if no-one else will:

    Congratulations and thanks to Wayne Jaeschke for an inspiring bit of amateur astronomy!
    I hope we eventually get some explanation of it.

  136. Barghumer says:

    Ref ExWarmist and WOTW

    “Hollywood could redo the movie (again…) with that classic scene of the panicked locals updated to shooting a windmill (preferably with a .50 cal machinegun)…”

    I was thinking about the security of winturbines recently and I could see a different kind of movie being made where a rebelion against things “green” started with a selective tumbling of some towers, perhaps by residents who’s environment was ruined and whose views were trampled on. The following security operation to secure the wind farms would cause an increase in cost of operation which would then cause them to be abandoned. The whole thing would be wrapped up in a love story between a skeptic male and manic warmist female. The difficulty, as with many sci-fi films, would be the ending. Ending one tyrany can simply pave the way for a worse tyrany, so it raises the question about what would be the most positive achievable objective of taking these things down, or using less drastic measures to oppose the eco-fanatics for the sake of future generations.

  137. Mariss Freimanis says:
    March 28, 2012 at 9:44 pm
    My comment was well intentioned and meant to be constructive. I’m sorry you didn’t see it that way. BTW, I spelled your name correctly, can you please make the same effort?

    My comment was well-intentioned and constructive too, Mariss, as any advice to relax and not to be a school marm concerning others would be. My profuse, abject and groveling apologies for misspelling your name. Can we settle instead of getting lawyers involved?

    _______________________________________

    William Abbott says:
    March 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm
    Peter, yes, small comet theory is highly controversial. If Franks is seeing small comets in his images, he is seeing a lot of them…..

    Thanks for your thoughts and challenges, William. Best way to learn about new things, I’m sure you’ll agree.

    The problem I see with the small comets hypothesis is that it’s become an omnibus explanation, which tries to explain how we got our water on Earth and how other planets got their water. When conveniently harnessed to the panspermia hypothesis, which actually goes back to the late 19th century, it strives to provide an explanation for the origins of all life here and possibly in the entire universe, affecting along the all creation philosophies. That’s quite a handful for a conjecture based on scraps of disputed evidence and claiming to falsify current hypotheses and theories. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, as the saying goes, and such is not the case here. As I said elsewhere, I suspect that the small comet idea emerged as the key support mechanism for the languishing panspermia conjecture and I speculate that Frank did not just discover what he believes is evidence, but looked for it.
    You claims that there is no explanation for high clouds. Perhaps there isn’t yet, but we know that high cloud water composition is different from the heavy water found in comets, which puts a soggy damper on that one. The logic then is a bit akin to claiming that because we don’t know for sure how pyramids were built, the best explanation has to be alien astronauts. In that case, btw, we have a fairly good idea, but one of the marks of a pseudoscientific claim is to declare a false mystery and to provide the pet theory. Ditto for origins of water on Earth or other planets; the notion that most of arrived from space has been dismissed due to the very different composition of water from comets. The current theory is that water was part of the matter that formed our planets. The challenge, water-from-space, is too weak to falsify it and tobring about what would be a revolutionary reset our ideas about planet formation. As for the Oort Cloud, it’s deemed to be a plausible theory, or at least a strong hypothesis. It’s based not on direct observation, but on statistics and mathematics and indirect astronomical evidence relating to the behaviour of comets. It provides a solution to the mystery about where comets come from and why their paths are such as they are, whereas no other hypothesis comes even close to doing so. No evidence…either physical or theoretical… has yet emerged to falsify it.

    So, as you can see, a claim which promises to upend almost everything we know about our universe, including astronomical mechanics, chemistry and biology, needs to be little better than a romantic idea based on a pet conjecture which “coincidentally” comes to the rescue of another pet conjecture and is supported by a dubious interpretation of specks.

  138. <b<vukcevic says:
    March 29, 2012 at 3:11 am
    Peter…for the latest google…Dr Jennifer Blank American Chemical Society NASA comets

    Thanks, Vuk. I hope you didn’t mind the cevapcici tomfoolery. For the record, I fell in love with buggers when I stayed in Belgrade for two days, back when there was a Yugoslavia and before I kept kosher. It’s all I ever ate for two days, with plenty of salad, green onions, a shipka or two, the inimitable white bread and home fries. They’re the first item I make at the start of the bbq season; I don’t use pork hamburger for the obvious reasons and I’m usually stuck with kosher beef, which isn’t the best choice as it kind of dry and dense, but lamb is amazing, except that kosher lamb burger is paired with the current price of gold. A little bit of non-bitter beer to keep them juicy and puffed-up, plenty of ground cumin and wood charcoal bbq only.

    Anyhow, I wondered how the panspermia fares. A UP article summarizes the announcements and I’ll want to look at it in more depth, as I rather like the notion. I’m sure the “panspermists” have shot their..never mind, there are ladies on this forum… over this one, but I’m still not ready to throw a party over the “supporting evidence.” To wit:

    “Our research shows that the building blocks of life could, indeed, have remained intact despite the tremendous shock wave and other violent conditions in a comet impact….”

    “Comets really would have been the ideal packages for delivering ingredients for the chemical evolution thought to have resulted in life.”

    “We like the comet delivery scenario because it includes all of the ingredients for life — amino acids, water and energy”

    So, basically, nothing new apart from the admittedly important claim that there may be nothing to impede the panspermia hypothesis. Finding a firm connection between comet and earth organics would be the next challenge, followed by evidence that all, or even some life originates from cometary material which would, of course, mortally wound the abiotic mechanism upon which current evolutionary theories depend on. I admit bias for the hypothesis, as it allows me more wiggle-room theologically by passing the buck for life’s creation, unlike the abiotic one which forces me to admit to the religiously problematic possibility that life can originate by chance from inorganic material. The fact that the “mainstream” proponents of panspermia feel that way too, though, makes me question whether their objectivity is any better than mine.

  139. William Abbott says:

    Peter, I don’t have any omnibuses. I think the evidence is Frank has seen something entering the earth’s atmosphere. He always sees it when he looks. It doesn’t matter when or how. It isn’t dubious specks on the lenses. You are dismissing his observations like Park, “…scientifically not permitted” Forget the consequences – can you help us answer the question: If it isn’t small comets, what is it? What does Frank see?

  140. You’re asking me what Dr Frank sees, William? How should I know? I can only guess that he sees what he wants to see. It won’t be the first time a scientist won’t let go of a pet theory and will imagine evidence. Soon you’ll see that happening with many of the Warmists too, at least those who are true believers and who have invested their lives and reputations in the idea. We’ll all grow old together with those folks and watch them insist until someone takes them away. Sad, but not unusual in the sciences.

    The question you should be asking is why aren’t hundreds of other researchers seeing the same thing Frank sees. If what he sees is real, soon there will be at least a smidgen of evidence outside of the Rohrschach stains he seems to be excited about. Straigh-forward, basic observation-based evidence can’t be suppressed easily. A discovery of this proportion would get any astronomer’s attention, if not in his supposedly suppressive researcher community, then among competitors and especially in other countries with satelites and observatories. It won’t matter what anyone thinks is or is not permitted. You don’t actually believe that there is an international cabal to suppress the deadly secret of gazillions of mini-comets peppering our world, do you?

    Apropos to you omnibus quip, did you get any of what I wrote? Agree, disagree, with what, why? Because asking me to explain what I think Frank sees, means that either you didn’t, or that you’re confusing me with his ophthalmologist.

  141. William Abbott says:

    Peter, full disclosure, I have a really good friend who did his doctoral under Frank. He was doing something with the images of the aurora borealis from the Dynamics Explorer spacecraft. He was very involved in the exhaustive work trying to find out what was causing the holes in the images of the atmosphere. They eliminated camera problems as the cause. Frank conducted additional imaging on the Polar Explorer using Polar’s visual imaging system (VIS) and got a complete confirmation of the holes. The Spacewatch telescope independently observed the atmospheric holes. Radio observations support the hypothesis. We got data. The atmosphere is being penetrated by something. Comets are a sensible hypothesis. But I’m willing to listen to other hypothesis. Frank is seeing something real. He is not “seeing what he wants to see.” It is not “scientifically permitted” to see so many small comets. That is why hundreds of scientists do not rush to confirm Frank’s observations. Remember, no one has refuted Louis Franks observations. There is too much history of group-think in science for me to accept your faulty syllogism, “argumentum ad populum” Seeing how this thread started about Mars. Let me remind you; For decades astronomers all over the world passed around canal maps of Mars. They all worked together on updating them. Everyone could see them. Until Mariner 4 took close-ups – then nobody could see the canals anymore. All the textbooks showing the children pictures of the red planet with canals had to be updated.

    Finally, how shall I answer your question: ..did I get any of what you wrote? If I say “No” one of us must be stupid. Either the writer or the reader. I know you don’t think you are stupid and I don’t want to be thought of as stupid. So the only safe answer is: Yes. I will not repeat my question. Please don’t tell me what you think causes the atmospheric holes observed by Dr. Louis A. Franks. Thanks.

  142. William,

    You said, “Please don’t tell me what you think causes the atmospheric holes observed by Dr. Louis A. Franks. Thanks.” LOL, William, if you’re going to put it this way, I’ll just have to tell you, won’t I. Btw, in spite of the bickering, catty tone I may employ, I’m truly enjoying my spar with you. Otherwise I would have shot-off a paragraph or two and ignored this thread, as I’ve done a few times with hopeless cases. This kind of stuff keeps me on my toes, forcing me to look in places I would have never thought of looking, to learn many, many things…to go where my mind has never gone before…..

    Anyway, here we go, here are my thoughts.

    First, nice try, your trying to sneak-in a conclusion with your question by coyly assuming that I’ve accepted the reality of the “space holes” which now I have to explain. But it won’t work; me is very clever! In reply, I put to you then that Dr Frank did not observe any actual “atmospheric holes.” That even if such were to exist, which I doubt, his data and assessment do not support it. I think that he is getting excited over common, well-known and universally replicable glitches and features of the observational equipment. That he made and continues to be making major and embarrassing–the open-up-the-earth-and-burry-me kind of errors. I speculate that his stubborn doubling-down indicates either an inability to accept damaging evidence to his hobby horse or worse, an unconscious or intended manipulation and misinterpretation of data. That’s the first part. The second part is my shock at the glaring, textbook-type fallacies in your arguments which someone of your calibre should not commit.

    In a NASA-sponsored study of Dr Frank’s claims, four researchers–F.S. Mozer, J.P. McFadden, I. Sircar, and J. Vernetti of the Space Sciences Laboratory of the University of California in Berkeley—analysed the data and specialized software kindly provided by Frank and his assistant, J.B. Sigwarth. It hurt my brain to read their paper in its entirety, but my take on it is that they solidly establish that Dr Frank’s evidence is not only junk created by common and universally observable instrument noise, but that the observations touted he touts as evidence don’t even come close to supporting his own hypothesis, as the critics too-charitably called it. They put all this in much nicer ways, of course, and you can…and really should… read their paper, titled “Small-Comet ‘Atmospheric Holes’ are Instrument Noise” at http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/polar/publications/l5.html. It’s really worth reading, even if just their brief Abstract, which for a non-scientist like me, does the job well enough. I won’t bore you with repeating what you can read in the Abstract and the paper itself, but will only say that you should make note of what the Mozer, et alia paper does not say; namely that they have disproved the possibility of small comets, or that they have demolished the hypothesis of space-born water or biologicals. All they say is that Dr Frank’s work cannot support his own hypothesis with the false evidence he provides and the problematic methods he assessed it with. This is one of the features that marks their work as responsible science. Oh, and I want to add that this case resembles a similar claim by parapsychologists and overly excited, but technically ignorant souls, that similar streaks, flashes and holes in the early digital images show traces of spiritual beings, miniature alien spaceships or other paranormal entities. We now know from simple experimentation that these were glitches inherent to digital imaging, but as these things work, die-hard believers still hang onto their “evidence,” mumbling about a conspiracy to suppress their shattering discoveries. Different case, yes, one which may or may not reflect on Dr Frank, but some uncanny similarities, no?

    And now onto you and your arguments, my friend. You say that your friend and Dr Frank “eliminated camera problems as the cause.” I have no doubt that they did, to their personal satisfaction, obviously; what I’m curious about though, is what they published or publicized and what responding confirmations or challenges it generated. Perhaps with your connection to Dr Frank’s team member, you can supply such and drill holes in my arguments.

    You say, “Comets are a sensible hypothesis. But I’m willing to listen to other hypothesis.” Of course it is a sensible hypothesis; if it weren’t other scientists would not receive grants and spent time in examining it. However, sensible does not translate to true. As for your willingness to listen to other hypothesis, an honest introspection on your part would be welcome. In previous and following statements you don’t show a willingness to listen to the most obvious and the strongest of explanations, namely that Dr Frank is seeing instrument noise. In fact you energetically dismiss that explanation, being willing to only entertain ones which a priori accept the physical reality of these appellations. That leaves you and us with few options…such as tiny alien space craft and flying pixies.

    Think about the veracity, logic and implications of your claim that, ” It is not ‘scientifically permitted’ to see so many small comets. That is why hundreds of scientists do not rush to confirm Frank’s observations.” Dare I ask the obvious? As in where is your evidence for these two assertions? Does this make sense in the world we live in? What special interests are being threatened and what pressure are they exerting to stem those presumably chomping at the bit, ready to “rush to confirm Frank’s (claimed) observations”? Extraordinary proof requires extraordinary evidence, but in this case I’m just asking for anything reasonable and specific example that makes at least a little bit of sense. As for the implications, are you saying that any critique of any new or controversial claim is evidence of interference and suppression and that all we need now is the claimant’s word to accept it, whilst wagging our fingers at the unspecified tyrants and cowed researchers?

    When you say, though, ” Remember, no one has refuted Louis Franks observations,” you are revealing a serious deficiency in your understanding of science. Dr Frank’s assertions are un-falsifiable. This is a crucial fault which identifies all junk science. Look up “falsifiablity in science” and strive to understand it adequately because it is a fundamental principle in scientific theory. If you cannot accept it or understand it you cannot, frankly put, ever understand science. Yes, it’s that serious.

    On we go. ”There is too much history of group-think in science for me to accept your faulty syllogism, ‘argumentum ad populum.’” Please. I provided a credible refutation of Frank’s observations. It is based on a thorough examination of Frank’s data, his assessment tools and methodology. It does not, anywhere, rely on popular opinion or hint at any group-think…nor is there any evidence of any group-think on this topic. If agreement by scientists on the validity or lack thereof of any observation is a damning evidence of group-think, then all scientific observations and agreements are in the dustbin and we may as well go back to researching reality with crystal balls and animal entrails. Again, you need to establish that such are real in this specific case, rather than to blast with your blunderbuss to include any and all scientific skepticism or demand for sound evidence.

    In another astounding reversal of “normal” logic you say, ” Let me remind you; For decades astronomers all over the world passed around canal maps of Mars. They all worked together on updating them. Everyone could see them. Until Mariner 4 took close-ups – then nobody could see the canals anymore. All the textbooks showing the children pictures of the red planet with canals had to be updated.” I had a good chuckle at this one because I was going to use it as an example of a silly error almost identical to Dr Frank’s. Look at the historical specifics of that farce and you’ll see the similarities to this one. In the Martian canals goof-up, at least two astronomers, Giovanni Schiaparelli and Charles E. Burton, “observed” what they thought were canals on Mars, but which were in fact optical illusions caused by the comparatively primitive optics of their equipment. It took better equipment to disprove the existence of these canals. Your example undermines your argument because had researchers compared the drawings of the two astronomers, whose “canals” were different, they might havre concluded that perhaps they are wrong and experimented with a variety of different lenses to at least suggest that the cause may be perceptual. Because they reasoned the way you and Frank’s supporters did, only massive evidence in the form of better optics and multiple observations finally killed the canal theory.

    It is you, William, who is implicitly suggesting suppression of evidence and submission to group-think by dismissing mundane but powerful studies and arguments which invalidate Frank’s claims. You have, so far, hurled almost every weapon, every classic fallacy in the arsenal of pseudoscience. I am open to being falsified on this with real evidence. As I said, I actually like the water from space idea and I’m emotionally favourable to the panspemia hypothesis. Our friend, Vukcevic, here presented a far better article on the plausibility of these notions, although they involve larger comets. Plausibility is important and I’ll concede that even Frank’s claim is plausible…but, plausibility is not evidence. What I’m sure of though, is that if evidence emergences that they are such things as small comets and that they bombard us with the quantities and manner suggested by Frank, the laurels will belong to other researchers who would provide real, thoroughly documented, repeatable and falsifiable evidence. Frank may be mentioned as having lucked into a valid hypothesis by chasing digital spots, but will not be vindicated with the evidence he has provided so far, simply because his is not evidence as we understand it by the rules of science. It will be sad and seemingly unfair, but it’s the way science works; the only way science can work.

  143. William Abbott says:

    Peter, full disclosure (second time). I’ve been a little lazy. I really don’t know how effective others have been discrediting Frank’s work – first hand. I do have a lot of confidence in my friend and what he tells me – but…. You got me. I have to go and do a little homework. I will go and read the papers you referenced. I can tell the differnce between “it can’t be so” & “it isn’t so”. I don’t think I work as fast as you. I may be at this a while. I’m impressed with your response to my last post. Will they notify you by email if I re-post here in a week or so?

  144. Aha! I knew I wasn’t wasting my time. An honest man. I will look things over too, because being in rhetorical combat-mode doesn’t always yield the best results. The game I’ll play is to shoot down at least one of my contentions, as self-test of sorts. I’m new to the gamesmanship of science, and this issue proved to be the perfect board to apply the rules. To wax philosophical, we hit walls when our beliefs are in the rink, when personalities and egos are involved. I think there is a cultural struggle going on in the West (when has there not been one?), where our philosophy has been crumbling from within and without. Our very definitions of reality seem to be skewing and we need to recalibrate. It’s what got us in trouble with this Warming scam, I’m sure. We began accepting for various no-good reasons false propositions, tolerating them out of politeness or fear and incrementally, bit by bit, we’re in a situation where we’re rooting those who rob us. All because we can’t, as an entire civilization, identify and agree any longer on what is and what’s not! Argh.

    Thanks for a fun debate and ’til later then, William, I’m sure we can hijack a little corner on a quiet post, where Anthony and the mods (cool name for a rock band,” Anthony and the Mods”) will tolerate a continuation of our musings. Have a good weekend!

  145. Ally E. says:

    Peter, William, I just wanted to say that I have enjoyed your debate. Thank you, I am learning a lot.

    :)

  146. Pleased to entertain, Ally E.! I learned a lot too. You never know what will pop-up on WUWT and where it will take things.

  147. William Abbott says:

    Peter and Ally, I have read the UC Berkley paper:

    http://sprg.ssl.berkeley.edu/polar/publications/l5.htm

    and forwarded it to my friend who worked with Frank on the Dynamics Explorer images. This paper says the rate of observed images ought to vary with the altitude of the spacecraft, (the higher up the camera, the fewer image holes you will record) but the rate of darkened pixel clusters from the images doesn’t vary significantly by altitude.

    I will return –

    I really should figure out how to do something in WordPress besides type

  148. Ben D. says:

    Folks, I think this nails it,…..have a look at this 12-Mile-High (20 kilometers) Martian Dust Devil that was captured whirling its way along the Amazonis Planitia region of Northern Mars on March 14. by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    The images taken by Wayne Jaeschke on March 19 probably show the dust suspended in the thin Martian atmosphere after a number of days of activity of this dust storm as it moved spatially over the planet’s surface,

    http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/12_Mile_High_Martian_Dust_Devil_Caught_In_Act_999.html

  149. Ben D. says:

    Hmmm, maybe I was a bit hasty, Acidalia Planitia, not Amazonis Planitia…

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