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No. 113: Sep-Oct 1997

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A VANISHED PLANET?

Almost every week, it seems, a new Texas-sized object is discovered in the outer solar system. In the inner solar system, however, some astronomers are finding "holes" where planets seem to have been ejected by unknown forces. D. Christodoulou, Louisiana State University, found one such "hole" serendipitously. He was studying how the sun and the planets might have condensed from the (hypothesized) cloud of primordial gas and dust. Factoring in gravity, rotation, and magnetic fields, he found the cloud condensing in concentric rings at just the right locations for protoMercury, proto-Venus, and proto-earth. The fourth ring, however, did not correspond to any existing planet, and the position of proto-Mars was off the mark. But the asteroids and outer planets fell rather neatly into place.

The implication of these calculations is that some turmoil in the early inner solar system cast out one planet and dislocated Mars.

(Hecht, Jeff; "Did Extra Planet Vanish into Outer Space?" New Scientist, p. 18, June 14, 1997.)

Comment. These are sour notes in the "music of the spheres," but don't be overly concerned; these are just calculations based upon many assumptions.

Rings of condensed dust and gas Calculated positions of rings of condensed dust and gas compared to actual planet locations.

From Science Frontiers #113, SEP-OCT 1997. 1997-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "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