Tim Cullen analyses the ‘comet that didn’t die’ and gives the Roche limit and other cherished concepts of ‘settled science’ a sharp poke in the ribs.
In December 2011 the mainstream huddled around their computers to watch the fiery death of the Sun grazing Comet Lovejoy [designated C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy)] as it approached perihelion.
But when Comet Lovejoy emerged from the behind the Sun [on its return journey] the mainstream realised they were actually watching the meltdown of Settled Science.
Comet Lovejoy was discovered by Terry Lovejoy on 27th November 2011 and it was subsequently determined to be a member of the Kreutz family of sun grazing comets.
The Kreutz Sungrazers are a family of sungrazing comets, characterized by orbits taking them extremely close to the Sun at perihelion.
They are believed to be fragments of one large comet that broke up several centuries ago and are named for German astronomer Heinrich Kreutz, who first demonstrated that they were related.
A Kreutz Sungrazers’s aphelion is about 160 AU from the Sun; these sungrazers make…
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