Posts Tagged ‘solor system may be more compact’

How Science Works: Are There Actual Facts in This “Science” Article? Probably, Possibly, Maybe, Could Be it is Believed

Amusing?, Church of Darwin, Science, Uncategorized | Posted by Chris Parker
Jan 06 2010

In the Beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth. Gen 1:1

Following is a science article written to inform and to enlighten. It summarizes “new suppositions” presented at a recent American Astronomical Society function.

We were struck by how few “facts” are in the article versus conjecture. It is often said that the Bible is not “scientific” in that it doesn’t try to explain how something was done; i.e. God created the Heavens and the earth doesn’t attempt to explain how He created them.

Here however is a classic “science” article practically devoid of actual facts which is the opposite of what we expect science to be. So what do we learn here? We highlight speculation and or faith versus fact or actual knowledge in the article.

Solar system may be more compact than thought
January 2010 by Rachel Courtland, Washington, DC

The solar system may be significantly more compact than previously thought, according to a new computer simulation of the cloud of comets that enshrouds the solar system. The work suggests the cloud may not contain as much material as once suspected, which could resolve a long-standing problem in models of how the planets formed.

Long-period comets, which take longer than 200 years to orbit the sun, come from all directions in the sky, an observation that has long led scientists to believe that they were nudged out of a diffuse halo of icy objects surrounding the solar system – the Oort Cloud.

The objects probably formed from the same disc of material that gave rise to the planets but were scattered outwards by Jupiter and Saturn a few hundred million years after their birth.

The Oort Cloud is too dim to be seen by telescopes, but astronomers believe it has two components. Long-period comets were thought to originate in an outer portion extending from 20,000 to 200,000 astronomical units from the sun (where 1 AU is the Earth-sun distance).

Solar system models also predict the existence of an inner shell that stretches some 3000 to 20,000 AU from the sun. But researchers believed that objects orbiting inside this shell would never come close enough to the sun to produce glorious cometary displays because they would be ejected into interstellar space once they approached Jupiter and Saturn.

A new computer simulation suggests this gravitational barrier might instead be “leaky”, allowing a number of objects to pass inside Jupiter’s orbit. Jupiter and Saturn may actually nudge the interlopers onto elongated paths that bring them closer to the sun.

Persistent mystery

The work suggests that more than half of all long-period comets could come from this unseen “inner” Oort Cloud, which would mean that the solar system is much more compact than thought.

There may not be nearly as much stuff as far out as we thought,” says Nathan Kaib of the University of Washington in Seattle, who presented the RESULTS! on Tuesday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, DC.

“The region of the Oort Cloud that is not supposed to produce any comets may be the dominant producer of comets.”

That could help solve a persistent mystery about the solar system. Hundreds of long-period comets have been catalogued, and their numbers had suggested that the outer Oort Cloud might contain about 40 times as much mass as Earth……Source:NewScientist; Excerpted.

Test on Friday?