Strange 'ring comet' discovered by Hubble telescope

Hubble discovers a unique type of object in the solar system


With the help of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, a German-led group of astronomers have observed the intriguing characteristics of an unusual type of object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter: two asteroids orbiting each other and exhibiting comet-like features, including a bright coma and a long tail. This is the first known binary asteroid also classified as a comet. The research is presented in a paper published in the journal Nature today.

This artist’s impression shows the binary asteroid 288P, located in the main asteroid belt between the planets Mars and Jupiter. The object is unique as it is a binary asteroid which also behaves like a comet. The comet-like properties are the result of water sublimation, caused by the heat of the Sun. The orbit of the asteroids is marked by a blue ellipse. CREDIT ESA/Hubble, L. Calçada.

In September 2016, just before the asteroid 288P made its closest approach to the Sun, it was close enough to Earth to allow astronomers a detailed look at it using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope [1].

The images of 288P, which is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, revealed that it was actually not a single object, but two asteroids of almost the same mass and size, orbiting each other at a distance of about 100 kilometres. That discovery was in itself an important find; because they orbit each other, the masses of the objects in such systems can be measured.

But the observations also revealed ongoing activity in the binary system. “We detected strong indications of the sublimation of water ice due to the increased solar heating — similar to how the tail of a comet is created,” explains Jessica Agarwal (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research –, Germany), the team leader and main author of the research paper. This makes 288P the first known binary asteroid that is also classified as a main-belt comet.

Understanding the origin and evolution of main-belt comets — comets that orbit amongst the numerous asteroids between Mars and Jupiter — is a crucial element in our understanding of the formation and evolution of the whole Solar System. Among the questions main-belt comets can help to answer is how water came to Earth [2]. Since only a few objects of this type are known, 288P presents itself as an extremely important system for future studies.

The various features of 288P — wide separation of the two components, near-equal component size, high eccentricity and comet-like activity — also make it unique among the few known wide asteroid binaries in the Solar System. The observed activity of 288P also reveals information about its past, notes Agarwal: “Surface ice cannot survive in the asteroid belt for the age of the Solar System but can be protected for billions of years by a refractory dust mantle, only a few metres thick.”

From this, the team concluded that 288P has existed as a binary system for only about 5000 years. Agarwal elaborates on the formation scenario: “The most probable formation scenario of 288P is a breakup due to fast rotation. After that, the two fragments may have been moved further apart by sublimation torques.”

The fact that 288P is so different from all other known binary asteroids raises some questions about whether it is not just a coincidence that it presents such unique properties. As finding 288P included a lot of luck, it is likely to remain the only example of its kind for a long time. “We need more theoretical and observational work, as well as more objects similar to 288P, to find an answer to this question,” concludes Agarwal.



[1] Like any object orbiting the Sun, 288P travels along an elliptical path, bringing it closer and further away to the Sun during the course of one orbit.

[2] Current research indicates that water came to Earth not via comets, as long thought, but via icy asteroids.

135 thoughts on “Strange 'ring comet' discovered by Hubble telescope

      • Dear Electric Universe Proponents:
        Beware the fate of Sky Dr@gon Sl@yers on this respected science blog.
        Consider yourselves warned.
        You’re welcome.

      • I think it’s that imprisonment thingy for General Zod & co. Whatever we do, let’s not shatter it with nuclear weapons.

      • Sixto obviously does not follow EU predictions vs discoveries.
        If he did he would know the highly successful prediction rate of the theory in some aspects of Astronomy and how they can explain phenomena that the actual research scientists doing the work\mission are baffled by.
        We now know the Pulsar theory is junk science because emission rates of radiowaves changes emission type and speed, slowing down and speeding up, explainable in EU theory, not explainable in Astronomy.
        Saturn’s hexagon, has an explanation in the EU mode, but not in astonomy.
        Comet massive flare ups in the depths of cold space, ditto
        Jutpiter Juno mission theory breaking results explained before the mission by EU predicted behaviour.
        But how would you know? you don’t follow the predictions and have no interest in plasma cosmology
        Astronomy carried on for decades without ever knowing how much plasma played a role in the universe, Einstein never had any idea there was so much plasma in space (which can provide all of the electrical charge needed without the need for charge separation, which is the basis for disagreeing with EU has been discredited.
        The fact EU can explain much more of the phenomena than astronomy can before the results are even in, seems ot be ignored by dogma gravity explosions types.
        There is no way in hell the universe would be this diverse if gravity and explosions were the defining forces in the universe.
        I wont even get into fictional black holes, neutron stars, strange matter dark matter (most ludicrous concoction by thoerists this century)
        You are out of your depth because you have half a story, gravity is magentism anyway, that’s patently obvious at this point. Magnetism is intertwined from electrical fields
        Maxwell’s equations as just as if not more important than Einsteins if you want to understand the universe, obviously many dont because life long careers are in the balance
        Some of the bunk to come from people like Hawking is laughable (A singularity is infinitely dense and infinitely hot … but has no volume) baaahahahahahahahahahaha

    • The hilarity of dark matter knows no bounds, another mathematical construct, which is why astronomy largely sucks
      A matter than 100% reflective except we cannot detect the reflected particles
      A matter that exchanges no information with space around it (In physics terms if something does not exchange information with anything around it BY DEFINITION it does not exist in the physical world)

    • Agreed! The Hubble telescope has given us such incredible views of space. As Sixto says, may if NASA stops working on temperatures here on earth and goes back to space, we will get more of these awesome views.
      There was a special on Cassini recently. These kinds of exploration are just fascinating.

      • I was at Kennedy Space Center just before Irma arrived. We watched a presentation on the new James Webb space telescope that they are working on. The presenter actually said, and I quote: “Ever since Galileo invented the telescope…” OMG! I couldn’t believe what I heard. I would expect that kind of ignorance from NdGT or some other wonk, but I thought the guys working at Kennedy were a little more up on the history of these things.
        A tip for those of you who don’t know who invented the telescope, Hans Lipperhey first demonstrated his new invention in late September 1608, and applied for a patent October 2nd 1608. Galileo first demonstrated his August 21 1609.

      • I find that many scientists, and even more so government bureaucrats, are deeply ignorant of the history of science. It is however not certain that Lippershey was the first to invent the telescope, but in any case it wasn’t Galileo.
        Galileo wasn’t even the first to use a telescope for astronomical observations. That was Englishman Thomas Harriot.

      • Jeff,
        I don’t think so. Marius claimed to have observed the moons of Jupiter before GG, but not to have trained a telescope on the moon before him. Marius said he saw the moons just days before GG, but that was long after GG’s lunar observations.
        IMO Harriot’s claim to first astronomical use is pretty secure, since he looked at the moon long before GG.

  1. this worries me.
    I am worried that systems like this [some not yet observed] may one day prove to upset the balance of weight in the solar system, which imho could change the length of the known solar cycles [which seem to be governed by the movement of the barycenter of weight of our solar system…]

    • The vast majority of the mass of the solar system is in the sun, and most of the rest is in Jupiter. Whatever you mean by the balance of mass, for it to be upset, Jupiter would have to exit the system. That bodies are being discovered now doesn’t mean that they haven’t always been there, so no change in mass attends their observation. But they’re too small to matter much. Unless they collide with Earth.
      Eventually the sun will go red giant, which will definitely be the end of Mercury and Venus and probably of Earth. But the masses of these planets will still exist, either as matter or energy.

      • Henry,
        Saturn and Uranus might well have some effect on Earth’s climate, but their mass is minor compared to the Sun. Jupiter could affect solar magnetism, but that doesn’t amount to upsetting the balance of the solar system.
        Jupiter’s mass is 2.5 times that of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, and the Sun is about 1000 times more massive than Jupiter. All the other planets, moons, asteroids, comets, what have you, aren’t a pimple on the pompis of the Sun.

      • henryp: “Mass is not the only factor. Speed is another factor.”
        henryp, you are either a troll or jaw-droppingly ignorant of physics. In both cases, I recommend the same action: stop posting baloney and instead study some real science. I am not normally this abrupt, but your writings are pure drivel.

        • Ron
          I have not seen any coherent scientific reasoning from you on this thread? Please enlighten me as to why you think the apparent binary system under discussion here could in fact not be related to other known factors affecting life and climate on earth
          the Schwabe, Hale, Gleissberg, DeVries-Suess, Eddy and DeBray solar cysles/intervals
          or if you know, please let me know as to why these apparent solar cycles / phases do exist.
          [hint: perhaps look at the position of the planets?]

  2. Seeing that photo, plus the words “ring comet” in the headline, gave me a WTF moment, until I saw that the blue ellipse was added by NASA/ESA. Surely I wasn’t the only one.
    Unfortunately a lot of “regular” people are going to think that ring is the actual comet.

    • That it’s a binary asteroid is an observation, ie a scientific fact. That it’s sublimating water might be an inference based upon “indications” rather than direct observation, but IMO not unwarranted.

      • Binary asteroid, what do you think holds them together? gravity? 😀 No, one is electrically held by the other.
        The comas are electric phenomena, not sublimation. This is supported by observation.
        NASA also fired a copper projectile at Temple 1 and there was a flash before the comet was impacted by the copper projectile.
        ah sure the comet that hit jupiter was also ripped apart by electric forces before it ever impacted.
        But all these things are called “strange” and seem not to infringe on the absolute NONSENSE astronomy has been claiming for decades
        The field is largely a joke, with wasted trillions. NASA has wasted so much money it beggars belief, how much money was wasted with the COBE and Planck satellites and cosmic background radiation?
        The last 10 years of research and space missions have turned the mainstread crap on its head, but the new findings are never considered to question current theories in science media yet the mission scientists are always scratching their heads and saying “our theories are wrong”

      • Of course they’re held together by gravity, just as binary star systems are bound together, planets and other solar system bodies by the sun, and moons around planets and asteroids.
        The contents of a comet’s coma have been analyzed and the outgassing observed. Heating is responsible, not some electric phenomenon.

      • Electrical forces are a few million times too weak to hold such asteroids together.
        Shumaker/Levy 9 was ripped apart by gravity, not electricity. Once the Roche limit is reached, gravity will tear anything apart.

      • Electrical forces are generally more powerful than gravity. That’s why you can pick up pieces of paper with a charged comb, counteracting the gravitational pull of the entire Earth.
        The numbers on this would be interesting.

      • Bart,
        Yes, gravity is weak. But when you have the mass of planets and stars behind it, the force is with you.
        I can also pick up paper with muscle force. But I can’t attract the earth to orbit me at 93 million miles, despite all my electromagnetic attraction.
        The “electric universe” is beyond laughable.

      • I’m not familiar with this “electric universe”. I was only commenting on what seemed a not well qualified statement.
        The question here is, is there enough mass to keep the objects locked together in a gravitational embrace, given that the gravitational pull of such small masses would be tiny? Based on what appears to be a very slow period of perhaps two months per rev, it looks likely it could be.

      • Bart,
        John Silver, above, and Helsinki Mark purvey the raving lunatic notion of an “Electric Universe”, as exemplified in John’s comment.
        Gravity easily explains two relatively small asteroids orbiting each other. Why do you suppose that it doesn’t?
        These two are far from the first binary asteroid discovered. That would be 243 Ida, identified when spacecraft Galileo flew by in 1993.
        How are binary asteroids different from any other binary objects in the universe? No need for preposterous, antiscientific “theories” to explain them.

      • Mark:
        The solar wind as an electrically neutral plasma would neutralize any static electricity over time. Let us assume that these two orbiting bodies would be attracted electrically. Then they would have to carry opposite charges. Difficult to explain what kind of physical mechanism could create these huge opposite charges. There would be an extremely high electric field between them to be anything comparable to the magnitude that gravity exerts. The positive particles of the solar wind would be attracted by the negatively charged body and visa versa. Over time, there will be no electric field left.
        The electric universe is a bunch of nonsense.

      • Cassini’s final images
        Gravity? lmao no.
        If it was gravity they would not be pristine rings, if the theory for these rings were correct, if a moon disintegrated consider the following
        If the gravitational effect pulled the moon apart, it certainly had enough pull to draw the initial debris onto the planet, and all of the rest thereafter, it would not have gone into orbit.
        the fragments would not have been so small either, but pulled off in chunks as the moon fragmented under the force.
        There is just no physical way the moon turned to dust in the claimed theory. It’s complete nonsense.

      • There are literally hundreds of astronomy claims that dont even survive thought experiments! for god’s sake!

      • Sixto @ September 21, 2017 at 7:40 pm
        Gravity easily explains two relatively small asteroids orbiting each other. Why do you suppose that it doesn’t?
        As I said above, it does appear that the orbital period is quite long for this pair, so it is reasonable and possible that gravitational attraction does explain the physics.
        But, to your question, it certainly can, it’s just a very narrow valley in which it can. Escape velocity from a small mass is quite small, owing to the weakness of the gravitational force. I would only expect it to occur from a small body rotating slowly that breaks apart slowly, with energy dissipation from the disintegration of the body, forming a co-orbital pair with a relatively long orbital period.
        But, understand – gravity is known to be the weakest of the four forces. So, these proclamations that it cannot be electric because it is so much weaker than gravity are rather cringeworthy.
        You should never close yourself off entirely to other possibilities. Mark has expressed an opinion. I do not buy it entirely – which is to say, I do not see a need for exotic conjectures here. But neither do I feel compelled to issue vitriolic denunciations. I don’t really understand why you other guys do. If you are worried others may think ill of you or WUWT for it, well, you’ve only succeeded in giving it more prominence. See Streisand Effect.

      • Mark – Helsinki @ September 21, 2017 at 9:58 pm
        “If the gravitational effect pulled the moon apart, it certainly had enough pull to draw the initial debris onto the planet, and all of the rest thereafter, it would not have gone into orbit.”
        That would violate conservation of angular momentum. For every chunk that might assume a trajectory to collide with the planet, another would be boosted to a higher orbit.

      • re: Sixto v. Mark – Helsinki
        My impression: Sixto delivers argumentum ad verecundiam or “Argument from Authority”
        My impression: Mark – Helsinki offers “Examples & Facts”
        I would bet Sixto is a professional Astronomer or related academic and Mark – Helsinki is an amateur astronomer or simply an intelligent layman.
        Keep it up Mark.
        Dan Kurt

      • StephanF @ September 21, 2017 at 9:17 pm
        “Difficult to explain what kind of physical mechanism could create these huge opposite charges.”
        Indeed, it would.
        “There would be an extremely high electric field between them to be anything comparable to the magnitude that gravity exerts.”
        Well, no. For example, two 1000 kg masses at a distance of 10 km exert gravitational forces on one another of 0.67 pico-Newtons. To get that kind of force from two charges, you need only 86 nano-Coulombs.
        “The positive particles of the solar wind would be attracted by the negatively charged body and visa versa. Over time, there will be no electric field left.”
        Seems reasonably likely, but I probably ought to give it more thought.

      • Bartemis September 22, 2017 at 9:46 am
        Although the electromagnetic force is far stronger than gravity, it tends to cancel itself out within large objects, so over the longest distances (on the scale of planets and galaxies), gravity tends to be the dominant force.
        Gravitation so far appears fundamentally different from the two nuclear forces and the EM force, since it seems not to be delivered via a particle. Quantum gravity theory supposes a graviton boson, but this hypothetical particle has yet to be observed or discovered experimentally.

      • Dan Kurt,
        You’re a funny guy! Thanks for the laugh.
        You think I’m ad hominem, yet Mark of Helsinki calls those actual scientists who disagree with him idiots and me, to wit, “Sixto shut your anti science mouth”.
        I’m an astronomer, yes. I’ve observed the cosmos since childhood, but now am in adulthood am an astrophysicist and reserve US naval officer. All this experience tells me that the “electric universe” proponents are raving lunatics.
        I don’t know how you managed to miss all my objective reality replies to Mark’s glaringly blatant lunatic garbage. He’s the ad hominem miscreant, not I. You must have tried hard to miss it.
        There is no way under heaven in our universe that binary asteroids or any other solar system scale orbits are electric rather than gravitational.
        If you imagine otherwise, show me the physics. You won’t because you can’t.
        EM radiation is absorbed by massive objects. Sorry, but that’s a physical fact. Try shining a flashlight through the earth. To communicate with subs, we need extremely low frequency EM radiation. Gravity however has no problem working between Pluto and the sun.
        Please explain what EM phenomenon causes binary asteroids to attract each other. It is to laugh.
        You can’t cure this kind of ignorance or insanity.

      • @Sixto: “You think I’m ad hominem”
        No. I said you were an example of Argument from Authority.
        I have no doubt that you are well versed in standard model Astronomy. My suggestion is to keep an open mind and learn about the electric universe hypothesis as well. Check out both the Thunderbolts group and James McCanney Science sources. There are others that will pop up as you investigate should you try to broaden your astronomical perspective. For $30.00 one can buy access to the last two years’ Electric Universe conference shown by internet streaming from the Thunderbolts organization. There are some amazing presentations to watch on Astronomy, Geology, Physics, History, and even something called EZ Water by a professor from the University of Washington which finally explains why clouds stay suspended in the atmosphere.
        If you are convinced that electric universe talk is totally bunk, at least read the book Structure of Scientific Revolutions.
        Keep an open mind dear friend.
        Dan Kurt

    • Yes, according to the caption, the blue ellipse was drawn in to highlight the orbits of the asteroids and does not really exist. Nice picture though. (Thankfully no one has made any LOTR comments.)

  3. Pure nonsense, clearly this is an electrically driven phenomena. But when you have stale pseudo astronomy dogma, you are left with water.
    Astronomy is mostly compete BUNK

  4. A comet passing saturn AWAY from the sun flared up larger THAN the SUN. Cannot be explained by the utterly bogus comet explanations.
    Also, the Rosetta mission, because they thought the landing spot was ice and dust, the lander bounced three times, because they made a complete hash of the consistency of what they were landing on because it was rock not snow ice and dust

    • Comets have long been known to contain rock as well as ice and dust. The lander bounced because the comet’s gravitational attraction is so low. The lander’s harpoons and retrorocket also failed.

    • And, if by electrical, you mean that comets emit ions, ie charged particles, then, yes there is a component which could be called “electrical”.

    • Comets flare all the time. It happens when a pocket of gas erupts as the sun heats the comet.
      Such flares are why it’s so hard to make long term predictions about the orbits of comets.

  5. Asteroids were also found with rings like saturn, not possible with gravity I’m afraid, neither are saturn’s rings, they are and must be electromagnetically stabalised in a field. Cassini’s last shots completely debunk the claims of a moon in orbit fragmenting into pieces and ending up as rings

  6. all of the fundamental discoveries started to dry up in the 60s, today’s scientists are a shadow of their forebearers

  7. Is it just me or are others noticing an increase in postings regarding EXTRA terrestrial things on Skeptic CLIMATE Blogs? Tallbloke has been posting this stuff for a while and I sense that Anthony here is following the same path (correct me if I am wrong, Master).
    Can it be only a matter of time before someone posts research linking the graph of combined solar system angular momentum to our historical climate record?

    • Leonard,
      And if you imagine that you know because the Bible told you so, well, you don’t because it doesn’t. Hence, you can’t even believe where water on earth came from, let alone “know”.
      In Genesis 1, “the waters” exist before anything else. Dry land emerges from the waters, and God creates a solid dome, the firmament or vault of heaven, to separate the waters above from the waters below. Earth is surrounded by waters around, under and over it, but the first creation myth in the Bible doesn’t bother to mention where the waters came from, whether or when God made them, or what.

  8. “This artist’s impression”
    I’m sad that we don’t have an actual image of it. I can watch sci-fi movies for special effects and artistic backdrops – I’m not sure if I’m okay with NASA presenting artwork that could be mistaken as actual imagery.
    Now, I get it, false colors for things outside of normal human perception is reasonable, but having someone paint in a light-saber like ring in some comet dust seems like a bit too far.

    • I thought it was a photo until I saw your comment.
      Maybe it’s an artist impression of Al’s missing halo?

  9. Here is what makes me laugh about critics of EU thoery/
    1 Oh they get things wrong
    * Mainstream astronomy has got infinitey more wrong than the EU guys, it’s called developing theories, idiots
    2 Evidence
    * EU do not have the collective trillion dollar budgets of mainstream astronomy and theoretical physics, nor the support of science media to promote said work
    * EU theory has made many successful predictions that are then confirmed by space missions and mainstream research findings and can explain a lot with plasma cosmology that explosions and gravity will never explain, yet these successful predictions are completely ignored, that is NOT science
    3 Critics don’t actually follow EU theory and don’t consider plasma cosmology valid (even though it is not only valid but we can actually experiment and reproduce astronomical phenomena in the lab, unlike mainstream astronomy which relies purely in interpretation and mathematics in theoretical areas)
    4 Denial of findings, when theories are destroyed by findings, the findings are labeled as strange, ignored and hte theory goes on, until someone can come up with a patch theory to incorporate the findings in more often than not ludicrous straw clutching desperation (solar model, is in fact many many theories patched together where many don’t even relate to each other, there is no single theory for the sun)
    5 We should look at all ideas, has the climate science nonsense not taught you that!!!! it seems there is selective dogma here, anti climate dogma, pro astronomy dogma and any results not fitting are dismissed.
    I don’t think EU thoery has everything right nor most, I dont know, neither does Astronomy but it is about time we combined plasma cosmology and standard cosmology. The prediction rate of success by EU prior to mission results deserve the theory to be taken seriously and adopted by mainstream massively funded astronomy
    If you disagree, stay away from science, you will only harm it

  10. Nice picture… Unfortunately it is an “Artist’s Impression”…. I’d just prefer a real photograph of it, then I could apply my own fanciful notions about it…. or not.
    But yes. A very interesting little celestial object indeedy…… NASA and others need to get away from the Climate scam and go back to spending their money on more satellites and probes into our solar system…. I weep for the money, time and energy already wasted….. sigh.

    • henry – There are two ways of looking at it that are equivalent in the low speed, low gravity milieu.
      In one, we have Newton’s gravitational force which is precisely canceled by “ficititious forces” (centrifugal, azimuthal, and coriolis) for two bodies in orbit about one another.
      In the other, the bodies follow geodesics in space, which are curved due to mass concentrations. In this conception, there is no balancing of forces. The path taken is simply natural, as natural as a straight line in an isolated system.
      In either conception, neither body “feels” a force. In the first, because they all cancel. In orbit, you will not feel as though you are in a centrifuge. You will feel no force at all.
      With very sensitive instrumentation, you could measure a slight tug towards the center of mass of any connected body, but that is tidal forcing due to the gradient in the field – the point nearest the other gravitating body is pulled slightly more towards it than the point farthest away. It is a very small differential, falling off not just as the inverse square of distance, but as the cube. The tidal forcings of the planets upon the Sun are truly infinitesimal.

      • Bartemis
        Thx for replying. I am not sure I understand – sorry abt my lack of knowledge of physics. That is why I am here on wuwt. The speed of all planets is the same, depending on its weight?
        It could not be altered over time by encountering other bodies / planets? The inside of the sun is fluid and my thinking is that the planets’ position could have a pull changing the bary center of weight and thus setting in motion certain electrical switches inside the sun that govern the various solar cycles. Alternatively, the relationship between the planets’ position and the various SC’s is not cause to SC’s- but originally caused by (creation)

      • Henry – Maybe this analogy will help.
        Say you have a ball on a string, and you whip it around and around, then the ball will feel stresses relative to the attachment point of the string. Suppose this ball is rather brittle and will shatter with the stress. How do you keep it from shattering?
        Well, one thing you could do is split the string near the end, and attach it to two points. Now, the farthest distance from an attachment point is shorter, and there will be less stress.
        Keep splitting the string, and attaching it to more and more points. The stress keeps being reduced.
        Suppose you had some kind of invisible string, and could split it many ways and attach it to many points throughout and within the ball. Now, the farthest point from an attachment point is really short, and you have low stress everywhere.
        Gravity is like that magical string, split to its ultimate limit. It attaches to every single point of the ball. Every atom is an attachment point. Every point is being pulled with the same force, so there is no differential tug between different points. It is a dense, 3-d net surrounding and penetrating the ball. The ball feels no stress at all.

      • I’m not sure what question you are asking. Tidal recession, maybe? The Moon is about a quarter of the size of the Earth, and relatively close, so tidal forces are significant. If you look at the picture I provided above, though, you can see none of the planets are even close to that relative to the Sun, and the largest, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Uranus, are very much farther away.
        Tidal forces arise because the pull of gravity is very slightly greater on the near side than the far side. Since it is a differential tug from one side to the other, it scales as the derivative of the 1/r^2 gravitational force, giving a 1/r^3 dependence, so it becomes very small very fast with distance.

        • enter this quote from Wikipedia
          Through the action of tidal forces, angular momentum is slowly being transferred from Earth’s rotation to the Moon’s orbit. The result is that Earth’s rate of spin is imperceptibly decreasing (at a rate of 2.3 milliseconds/century),[21] and the lunar orbit is gradually expanding. The current rate of recession is 3.805±0.004 cm per year.[20] However, it is believed that this rate has recently increased, as a rate of 3.8 cm/year would imply that the Moon is only 1.5 billion years old, whereas scientific consensus assumes an age of ~4 billion years.[22] It is also believed that this anomalously high rate of recession may continue to accelerate.[23]
          end quote
          I think we have to come up with a reasonable explanation for the observed deviation.
          how about this one of mine, amongst those of others:
          the liquid iron core of earth is moving in line with the movement of the inner core of the sun (magnetic stirrer effect), hence the change of the place of the magnetic north pole and an added general warming effect at the NH [amongst other reasons for such climate change in the NH] versus no warming here in the SH.
          If true, that leaves me again with the question as to why the sun’s magnetic force is changing, and why I can find the planets’ in line with these changes –
          i.e. there is correlation with the position of the planets and the solar polar magnetic force fields. But is it causal to the position of the planets or caused by the position of the planets?
          That is the question I have been trying to solve for some time [for myself, really]

      • Lunar recession is a result of the fact that the Earth is spinning faster than the Moon is orbiting. As a result, the tidal bulge induced in the Earth’s oceans is leading (a little ahead of) the Moon itself. The gravitational pull of that oceanic bulge is thereby pulling the Moon forward along its path, and through basic orbital mechanics, that tends to boost its orbit higher.
        But, as I said, this is a result of the fact that the Moon is sizable compared to the Earth, and it is close by, so the oceans have a significant tidal bulge. The oceans also have a bulge due to the solar induced tidal forces, and this causes the Earth’s orbit about the Sun to slowly increase in radius. The Earth also creates a tidal bulge on the Sun, but it is extremely small compared to the size of the Sun (see picture above for perspective – the Sun is a basketball compared to a mote of dust that is the Earth), so I do not think it would have much impact on solar dynamics.
        Jupiter is bigger compared to the Earth, and 330,000X its mass. But, its distance to the Sun is 5.2 AU, and the influence goes as the cube of the ratio, so it has about 330,000/5.2^3 = 2400X as much influence. That may seem like a lot, but 2400X virtually nothing is still virtually nothing. IIRC, the tidal influence of Jupiter on the Sun is on the order of millimeters.
        As for magnetic poles, it is certainly true that there is a torque induced by the magnetic field of the Sun interacting with the magnetic moment of the Earth. I really could not tell you how large this torque is offhand, but it could produce a wobble in the Earth’s spin axis. I would guess that the wobble induced by tidal forces would probably be much greater, but I could not say for sure without further investigation.
        At any rate, this discussion started with the concept of centrifugal forces (or, centripetal accelerations, as some would demand), and has gone rather far afield. I was just trying to lay to rest the idea that there is anything like the forces one might experience in one of those amusement park rides that pin you to the wall as you spin around.

        • Bart
          true we are at the edge of what is possible to measure and need more investigation to explain what was measured
          the more you know, the more you realize what you don’t know
          anyway, many thanks for your contributions here
          I admire you for your knowledge of maths and physics

  11. Though I am very skeptical of the existence of dark matter as postulated and will continue to be until someone brings me at least a spoon full, everyone seems to forget that according to general relativity there is no “force” of gravity but rather a curvature of space in the presence of mass. The fact that we cannot observe the additional matter that causes observations of movements within galaxies at extreme distances to not fit our expectations does not mean it is not there. It means we cannot see it or that alternatively gravity at extreme distances for extremely massive objects, such as galaxies, is “different”. Dark matter as postulated, is simply too convenient an explanation, unproven, simplistic, with too many holes in its logic, to be the explanation.

      • Wasn’t talking to you. Dark matter was brought up in comments above visa vi the standard model vs electric universe theory. Not off topic to put in my two cents on that. And by the way there is no centrifugal force it’s centripetal force, per my old, and gone by now, 1st year physics professor. Wrong terminology. Of course it’s been used wrong for so long that it may now be acceptable as with so many other wrong things.

    • Jim,
      Some of the dark matter is simply ordinary, baryonic matter which is too dim to be detected.
      So a spoonful of sugar would provide you a sample of some thereof. But not of all dark matter.

    • Re: dark matter as postulated, is simply too convenient an explanation, unproven, simplistic, with too many holes in its logic, to be the explanation.
      I’ve enjoyed dipping into Miles Mathis writings, see (search for) Dark Matter in his science writings here: (&or while there, read at least the preface!)
      Or go to, see Section 8, find dark matter references there in say 293 to 297 (some are pdfs, and later.)
      293 is
      That’s an early piece, I think, but he’d more than agree with you, showing so, providing an alternative explanation of the apparent loss with his alternative charge and unified field theories, it seems to me.
      “Therefore “creation” happens at all times, from every material point. The universe is banging all the time.”
      Just an out-of-context quote from the above I also quite like!

  12. Re this topic and treatment of EU theory.
    This is from today’s WUWT article but is relevant here, to some posters and mainstream astronomy
    “There is now a New Inquisition presided over by a clique of scientists who have given themselves the right of trial to put scientific heretics to the stake. The new torture methods are not the stake or the rack but the denial of promotion, the manipulation of the media to denigrate, and the refusal to employ. Indeed, efforts to stop such scientists publishing in scientific periodicals have extended to controlling the editorial committees of many well-known periodicals. This is the modern equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition’s Burning of the Books.” (Brady, 2017)

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