It’s a strange world sometimes…
One of my favorite shows of all time was “Connections”. A sort of science / history / adventure blend. I loved it because it was how I experienced the world. I’d start off looking at one thing and pretty soon I’d be off on something “totally unrelated” that was directly connected… I’ve taken to calling those moments “Connections Moments” now.
I’ve been trying to move forward the horizon of understanding just a bit on “cold spikes” in our Holocene History, with some particular emphasis on the 8.2 Kiloyear Event and honorable mention for The Dark Ages and the 6.2 Kiloyear Event. It cycles around cycles and occasionally blazes with a comet or two…
So I’m slogging through some hard core science papers on the one hand and some “popular web pages” on the other. Punctuated Equilibrium on the one hand and Coherent Catastrophism on the other… Pages of graphs of orbital calculations for the Taurid swarm… Stuck in the middle of several of them is the phrase “zodiacal dust” or sometimes “zodiacal meteors”. Once or twice I can “let it slide” and just assume it’s “dust out there somewhere”… But it nags at me…
WHAT makes zodiacal dust different from any other? So I look it up.
Zodiacal light is a faint, roughly triangular, diffuse white glow seen in the night sky that appears to extend up from the vicinity of the Sun along the ecliptic or zodiac. It is best seen just after sunset and before sunrise in spring and autumn when the zodiac is at a steep angle to the horizon. Caused by sunlight scattered by space dust in the zodiacal cloud, it is so faint that either moonlight or light pollution renders it invisible.
The zodiacal light decreases in intensity with distance from the Sun, but on very dark nights it has been observed in a band completely around the ecliptic. In fact, the zodiacal light covers the entire sky, being responsible for major part(60% of the total skylight on a moonless night. There is also a very faint, but still slightly increased, oval glow directly opposite the Sun which is known as the gegenschein.
The dust forms a thick pancake-shaped cloud in the Solar System collectively known as the zodiacal cloud, which occupies the same plane as the ecliptic. The dust particles are between 10 and 300 micrometres in diameter, with most mass around 150 micrometres.
OK. It’s a layer big / thick enough to be seen on a dark sky at dusk / dawn and is in the plane of the ecliptic. That’s a lot of dust… Comets come in and break up. The bits slowly erode, spiraling inward until they get small enough to be blown back out by the solar wind. Strange. Sounds a bit like a traffic jam in the making (but I presume cometary debris is from all over the compass, as are comets, while the zodiacal dust is narrowed into the ecliptic…)
Now I’m thinking about the Zodiac, and wondering about the fixation on Orion’s Belt in Egypt, Mexico, and the circles of England… Comets coming in in droves, leaving in dust, changing history and life along the way…
The giant comets normally reside far beyond the planets, in a spherical cloud surrounding the Sun, called the Oort cloud. There is also evidence for a flattened disk of comets closer to the inner solar system, called the Edgeworth/Kuiper belt. What prompts members of either of these comet repositories to enter the realm of the planets? Clube and Napier suggest a galactic influence. The solar system periodically passes through the plane of the galaxy as the Sun (and the solar system with it) orbits the galactic center. Each passage may dislodge giant comets and divert them closer to the Sun. The outer planets, particularly Jupiter, may then perturb some of these giant comets into orbits which enter the inner solar system. These comets, stressed both by gravity and by heat from the sun, may fragment into a cloud of smaller objects with dynamically similar orbits.
Chiron offers a good example of a giant comet as called for by Clube and Napier’s giant comet hypothesis. Chiron is somewhere between 148 and 208 kilometers in diameter. Currently Chiron’s unstable “parking orbit” lies mostly between Saturn and Uranus. Chiron may end up injected into the inner solar system within a hundred thousand years, or ejected from the solar system on a similar time scale. It is also possible that Chiron has already visited the inner solar system.
The Taurid complex and the Kreutz sungrazer group are two families of objects which most likely represent the fragmented remains of two giant comets in the current era. SOHO has recently discovered many new members of the Kreutz group which were previously unknown.
Giant Comets? One that’s a couple of hundred kilometers in diameter and lurking in an unstable orbit near the gas giants?
has an interesting animated graphic of the orbit in it:
You might have to click on this to “make it go”. Saturn is the little white stationary dot at about 10 o’clock. The blue ring is Jupiter. The unstable orbit of the Giant Comet From Hell That’s Going To Get Us Someday is the chaotic red thing…
And down in the Wiki on Zodiac Dust I find:
In August 2007, Brian May, lead guitarist with the band Queen, handed in his PhD thesis Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud 36 years after starting it and then abandoning it in favour of a musical career. That he was able to submit it was possible only because of the minimal amount of research on the topic that had been carried out in the intervening years. May describes the subject as being one that became “trendy” again in the 2000s.
OK… Aside from the notion of taking nearly 4 decades to get a Ph.D. (and me thinking it was too late and maybe I need to rethink that ;-) we find it isn’t a well studied area.
But Brian May? THAT Brian May? THAT Queen? He’s the one playing the redish lead guitar in the following, not the one on the dark base.
So we’ve got a Ph.D. rocker… I think he made the right career choice as even astrophysics doesn’t pay as well as Rock Star…
Now I’m off to a night of watching Queen Videos ( 176 of them in the “official” site on Youtube…) pondering The Zodiac and wondering just how I got here from The Iron Age Cold Period and the Migration Era Pessimum…
Wondering how much of the Ancient Wisdom and New Age stuff “has legs” in a poetic kind of way.
THE DIVINE FIRES OF CREATION.
HOMERIC HEPHAESTOS AS A COMET / METEOR GOD
Centre for the Assessment of Natural Hazards and Proactive Planning
(National Technical University of Athens)(NTUA), GREECE
Presented at the International Symposium on SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY – IN HOMERIC EPICS, 27-30 August 2006, Ancient Olympia, Greece
Yes. You read that right. “National Technical University of Athens” in the same breath with “Homeric Epics”…
d) Hephaestos fell from Heaven, either on land (in the latitude of NE Aegean) , or into the deep sea (a submarine impact), where he remained invisible working in his workshop. Scientific research has shown that both arguments function logically. Furthermore, impact cases can trigger increased volcanic activity, as the geo-archive of our planet has already revealed.
e) If the Homeric Iliad is deciphered from the standpoint of Archaeoastronomy, Hephaestos is also related to the meteor swarm of Perseides. Finally, god’s deformity and his reappearance in the latitude of Eastern Mediterranean may include the element of periodicity (? comet).
In fact, a great deal of information acquired from Iliad seems to refer to the extended catastrophe of the beginning of 2nd millennium B.C. Consequently, Hephaestos may function as a symbolic archetype of past impact events, being one of the pivotal figures within the gnostical system of the Pelasgians during the 3rd and 2nd millennia B.C. Phaethon’s ride, the famous fall of Troy and the 12th cent. catastrophes were added later, forming another mythological ‘layer’ of information in the palimpsest of ancient astronomical knowledge in the circum-Mediterranean region.
And another curious Connections Moment happens…
We are all stardust. The planet was formed in dust. Life and death are punctuated by dust. The Zodiac matters more than I’d ever thought. And the Iliad is only a moment in time away from Queen…
And I’m realizing that I need to get a copy of the Iliad and see if maybe it has something to say about the actual history of climate / comet events “back then”.