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Originally posted by Mogget
You don't need a large planet (or indeed, any object with a strong gravitational field) to tear a comet apart. One theory is that comets could quite possibly be rather porous, with various chunks and boulders held together by frozen ices trapped between them. When those ices (and that doesn't necessarily mean water ice) melt, the "glue" that bonds the boulders together effectively disappears, and only relatively gentle forces would be required to separate them.
Originally posted by Mogget
You might like to investigate the Centaur and Damocloid groups of asteroids. Whilst a handful of these have since displayed slight cometary activity, many of them remain inactive. Good examples are 5335 Damocles and 1996PW.
Initial discovery observations and those obtained several months later showed no indications of coma, but observations taken in January and February 2002 by several groups showed that the object had developed a small amount of cometary activity as it approached perihelion. It was subsequently reclassified and designated as comet C/LONEOS 2001 OG108.
Could it be that some `asteroids' in `cometary' orbits, if observed in more detail with a larger telescope, as was done in this case with the NTT, will also turn out to have a faint coma and even a tail?
When we started pulling these particles out and examining them in electron microscopes and other instruments, we found even more surprises. First of all we found evidence that the standard astronomical predictions for the origin of dust in comets, or at least the ones in this comet, appear to be incorrect. While we did find stardust grains in the cometary materials, they appear to be only a minor component, at least in the particles larger than a micrometer that were well preserved during high speed capture. This judgment is based on the concept that the isotopic composition of stardust should be different from that of typical solar system materials. This is the way that rare stardust grains have been identified in meteorites and interplanetary dust. Like in meteorites most of the components from the comet have isotopic compositions similar to Earth and are of solar system origin.
No periodicity was calculated for Asteroid 1925 QD. Therefore it was discovered as a periodic comet at the apparition in 1933, discovered by Whipple, and the name of Shajn was rejected.
No periodicity was calculated for Asteroid 1967 EU. Therefore it was discovered as a periodic comet at the apparition in 1975, discovered by Smirnova, Chernykh, and the names of the discoverers of Asteroid 1967 EU were rejected.
It was discovered in 1949 by Wilson, Harrington as a comet D/1949 W1. Then it was discovered in 1979 by Helin as an asteroid 1979 VA. Because the orbit of D/1949 W1 was uncertain and the comet had been lost, they were considered as different objects.
The period of Asteroid 1979 VA was concluded and it was registered as (4015). After that, Asteroid (4015) was identified with Comet D/1949 W1.
However, Cunningham has calculated the periodicity already in 1949. Therefore it was discovered as a periodic comet at that time, and the name of Helin was rejected.
No periodicity was calculated for Asteroid 1979 OW7. The period of this asteroid was concluded and it was registered as (7968) after the identification. Therefore it was discovered as a periodic comet at the apparition in 1996, discovered by Elst, Pizarro, and the names of the discoverers of Asteroid 1979 OW7 were rejected.
Asteroid 1939 TN discovered by Vaisala, Oterma was revealed to be a comet in 1981.
156P/Russell-LINEAR. It was discovered in 1986 by Russell as a comet, in 1993 by Shoemaker as Asteroid 1993 WU, in 2000 as Asteroid 2000 QD181 respectively.
158P/Kowal-LINEAR. It was discovered in 1979 by Kowal as Comet C/1979 O1, in 2001 by LINEAR as Asteroid 2001 RG100 respectively.
In 2003, the asteroid in 2001 was revealed to be a comet, and it was identified with the comet in 1979.
169P/NEAT. It was discovered in 2002 by NEAT as Asteroid 2002 EX12. It was revealed to be a comet in 2005.
174P/(60558) Echeclus. It was discovered in 2000 by Spacewatch as Asteroid 2000 EC98. After it was registered as Asteroid (60558), it was revealed to be a comet in 2005.
176P/(118401) LINEAR. It was discovered in 1999 by LINEAR as Asteroid 1999 RE70. After it was registered as Asteroid (118401), it was revealed to be a comet in 2006.
Just a few points I discovered, 5335 Damocles was re classified as comet C/LONEOS 2001 OG108 in 2002.
"Mysterious" comet discoveries and observations of comet behavior are best explained as electrical phenomena. These include:
- Unexpectedly high temperatures and X-ray emissions from cometary comas (something never anticipated by mainstream theorists);
- The sharply carved relief of comets -- the exact opposite of what astronomers expected under the "dirty snowball" model;
- The unexplained ability of a relatively minuscule comet nucleus to hold in place a highly spherical coma, up to millions of miles in diamater, against the force of the solar wind;
- Ejection of larger particles and "gravel" that was never anticipated under the idea that comets accreted from primordial clouds of ice, gas, and dust;
- A short supply or complete absence of water and other volatiles on comets' nuclei;
- The predicted occurrence of an advance flash prior to the impact of a projectile into the nucleus of Comet Tempel 1 (Deep Impact.) Recently, the journal Icarus published a report confirming that the advance flash did indeed occur, "upstream" (and slightly off-course) of the projectile -- exactly as one might expect of an electric discharge just prior to impact.
This article began with reference to the historic quote, "Mysteries are due to secrecy." If a kind of tacit "conspiracy" exists amongst space scientists, it is to never speak of cosmic electricity, despite the overabundance of evidence for electrical activity in space. Sadly, mainstream astronomy seems still to be guided by the axiom, "If it doesn't fit, you must forget!" But the puzzles will not be solved by ignoring or downplaying them. And in increasing numbers, critics of today's standard theory are coming to agree that the key to resolving these unsolved mysteries is electricity.