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Over the next few weeks the Taurid stream, a procession of vast cosmic rubble and dust that snakes around the Sun and out towards Jupiter, will swing through Earth's orbit for the first of its bi-annual crossings.
Within the stream are probably thousands of bodies including asteroids, mountain-and island-sized boulders, smaller meteoroids, Encke's Comet and assorted fragments of celestial refuse.
The exact number, size and location of objects, however, remains a mystery and according to Dr. Mark Bailey, research Fellow in astronomy at Manchester University, it is likely that for every object which is confirmed, there are nine others that have so far eluded detection.
All that is certain is that the rubble, believed by some astronomers to have been formed by a collision in the asteroid belt of a defunct comet which was captured by the solar system up to 30,000 thousand years ago, will bisect Earth's orbit in late June and again in November.
According to astronomers such as Dr. Victor Clube, of Oxford University's Department of Astrophysics, the coming and goings of the Taurid stream should be a source of concern to politicians, planners and anyone who cherishes life on Earth.
A ''catastrophist'', Dr. Clube is one of many astronomers who are convinced that within this celestial procession lie the seeds of mass destruction an Armageddon of biblical proportions. ''The matter requires urgent attention. It is crucial that everyone is woken up to the danger,'' Dr. Clube says.
The chilling scenario envisaged is of Earth and one of the 46,000mph objects in the Taurid stream colliding during one of the orbital crossings.
Dr. Clube says: ''It is analagous to a nuclear war with a megatonnage of the same order and all the effects of nuclear war with debris from the impact causing sunlight to be blocked causing a Dark Age or Ice Age.''
He has coined the phrase ''Multiple Tunguska Bombardment'' to describe the worst nightmare which, he believes, will eventually happen. Tunguska refers to a Siberian River near which, in June 1908, a 100 yard body from the Taurid stream ploughed into Earth, exploding and devastating an area 25 miles wide with the impact of a 20-megaton bomb.
Fortunately the encounter occured in an unpopulated part of the globe but if the impact had been on London it would have devastated the city, killing millions. The Tunguska event may have been only a chance occurence.
Yet, according to Dr. Clube and Dr. Bill Napier, of the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, whose book Cosmic Winter is published next month, the history of Earth is littered with subtle evidence that cosmic debris have consistently intervened, often with catastrophic consequences.
One of the most popular theories to explain the sudden demise of the dinosaurs is that, 65 million years ago, a huge asteroid ploughed into the planet, triggering either a nuclear-style winter or huge fires.
This popular theory was given a boost only last week when scientists at the University of Arizona reported the discovery of an apparent 180-mile-wide crash site in the Caribbean of an asteroid six miles wide. They claim this could be linked with the great reptiles' extinction.
Dr. Clube ascribes other events including the Old Testament story of Noah and his Ark to a Dark Age linked with colliding heavenly bodies. He also believes that climatic changes, including fears of present global warming, may have a cosmic component.
There is sufficient evidence, he says, to indicate that collisions happen within centuries and millenniums rather than millions and billions of years, with multiple encounters more likely than sceptics claim.
Originally posted by EnigmaAgent
Interestingly his bio on Youtube states he a BBC photo journalist, and worked for Getty also.edit on 25-2-2011 by EnigmaAgent because: (no reason given)
I used to be a weatherman in the Air Force. We sent up weather balloon for upper winds and temperatures. The balloon we used was about 10 feet in diameter when we released it, by the time it exploded they were about a mile across. We could get some balloons to sometimes 3 or 4 millibars of pressure. Almost outer space. The pressure in the balloon wants to stay at atmospheric pressure. At sea level, there is about 14.7 pounds per square inch pushing in on the balloon. It is pushing 14.7 psi back - so the size stays the same. As the balloon rises because helium is lighter than air at the same pressures, the atmosphere gets less and less as it approaches outer space. The balloon starts expanding because it's pushing out, starting at 14.7 psi. trying to equalize with atmosphereic pressure. At 0 millibars, the pressure is almost nothing. The balloon is so stretched out it bursts before it could reach outer space. For science purposes, the atmosphere is divided up into 1000 bars. Each millibar represents 1/1000 of atmospheric pressure. 1000 bars is at surface level and 0 bars is outer space. The bars get further and further apart as you get to outer space. 4 years ago
Originally posted by Nomad451
reply to post by ziggyproductions05
I don't think so, if it's a weather balloon why is it stationary? Sorry I've never seen a string make an illusion of dripping debris.
By the way, what is the alien in your avatar from??? A movie I watched as a kid and seeing that has brought back a flood of memories
Originally posted by ziggyproductions05
The alien in my avatar is Mac from the movie Mac & Me. It was basically the poor mans version of ET but I loved the movie. Here's a little trip down memory lane for ya!