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No. 75: May-Jun 1991

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Halley reappears!

No, comet Halley has not reversed direction for an anomalous encore. We'll have to wait another 70-or-so years for that. However, Halley did make a surprise reappearance on February 12, 1991. Astronomers were startled by a sudden flare-up. It was not a trivial brightening; the width of the flare was a remarkable 300,000 kilometers.

Comets often flare up as they swing close to the sun and absorb its heat and radiation. But Halley is now billions of kilometers away in the frigid reaches of the outer solar system. No one knows what happened. (Pease, Roland; "Halley at Large," Nature, 349:732, 1991.)

Comment. Other comets have mysteriously flared up far from the sun. See ACO2 in our catalog The Sun and Solar System Debris. Apparently comets harbor considerable pent-up energy. If proximity to the sun is not required to stimulate gas releases or chemical reactions, comets may have their own energy agenda. Comets seem to be little more than chunks of dirty ice. Where could the flare energy come from? If only cold fusion were a viable "acceptable" energy source!

To order The Sun and Solar System Debris, see: here.

From Science Frontiers #75, MAY-JUN 1991. 1991-2000 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