It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Professors John Matese, Patrick Whitman and Daniel Whitmire have studied the orbits of comets for 20 years, and their recent findings have led to startling theories.
Dr Al Jackson, had earlier attempted to explain the amazing discovery that six apocalyptic events, including the extinction of the dinosaurs, have all occurred, like clockwork, every 26 to 30 million years.
So what was affecting the orbits? They went on to theorise that the best explanation is the existence of a previously unknown body - that our solar system is made up of the Sun and a shadowy partner, either a brown dwarf or a massive planet, in a wide binary system.
Now I know what you're thinking Surely I'd have noticed a second Sun in the sky? But, as Prof Whitmire explained, the process of assumption based on statistical anomalies has always been a cornerstone of scientific discovery. According to their current theory, he says, "the companion is a brown dwarf star or massive planet of mass between two and six times the mass of Jupiter". A brown dwarf is a star too small to sustain the nuclear fusion that powers our Sun, and so is relatively cool (surface temperature of less than 1500C) and so also very dim, being barely hot enough to give off light.
But it gets worse. Under their original theory, called the Nemesis theory, this small dark star, which lurks at around 90,000 times farther away than the Earth is from the Sun, may be on an orbit that, once every 30 million years, ploughs it into the densely packed inner cloud. Here its immense gravitational pull would drag out several of the Oort comets and give them the "kick" needed to send them towards the Sun on orbits perilously close to the Earth. This explains, in the professor's view, the ominous mass extinction cycle, due to regular periods of increased cometary activity every 30 million years.
"An original idea in science is often a gut instinct, but this should not influence the development of the idea," says the professor. "I always try to be my own worst critic". The scientific world remains intrigued but sceptical. However, the recent bombardment of Jupiter is a reminder that if the team is right, there may not be many around to hear them say: "I told you so."