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No. 106: Jul-Aug 1996

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Shortly after Hyakutake's X-rays were announced, a fourth theory of origin was put forth by acknowledged heretics C. Wickramasinghe and F. Hoyle. Comet Hyakutake, they said, was not emitting X-rays itself. Instead, solar X-rays were mirrored in earth's direction by a cloud of very tiny carbon-containing particles released by the comet. Electrons in these nanometer-sized particles acted as if they were free electrons, and these are excellent scatterers of X-rays. Anyone familiar with the writings of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe can guess what these nanometer-sized particles might be: viruses, of course!

Said Wickramasinghe:

"It all fits in the the idea that there are real viruses in comets and that comets are the agents by which life is brought to planets."

(Chown, Marcus; "Do X-ray Comets Shed Carbon?" New Scientist, p. 19, May 11, 1996)

From Science Frontiers #106, JUL-AUG 1996. 1996-2000 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