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No. 18: Nov-Dec 1981

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The Long Arms Of Venus And Jupiter

Many times in the two or three "scientific" centuries now behind us, investigators have discovered, almost against their wills, that the moon and planets affect the earth. The moon's influence is understandable, but the planets are too far away for their gravitational fields to influence one terrestrial dust mote. Well, here is one more study showing that the planets (Venus and Jupiter, in this case) do affect the peak electron density in the earth's ionosphere. The effect is most noticeable when these planets are close to earth and dwindles as they swing around to the other side of the sun. The authors are at a loss to explain this effect in terms of gravitation, suggesting that perhaps Venus or Jupiter may instead affect solar activity, which in turn modifies the terrestrial ionosphere.

(Harnischmacher, E., and Rawer, K.; "Lunar and Planetary Influences upon the Peak Electron Density of the Ionosphere," Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Electricity, 43:643, 1981.)

Comment. Actually, no one has shown how the planets can possibly influence the sun with known action-at-a-distance forces. Electrical forces are taboo. There are no other "recognized" forces.

From Science Frontiers #18, NOV-DEC 1981. 1981-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987