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Comets & Planets

Date: 04-21-03
Host: George Noory
Guests: James McCanney

James Mc Canney, a researcher of Celestial Mechanics and Plasma Physics, was Monday night's guest. Comets are not dirty snowballs but "electrical vacuum cleaners that are drawing in material, and the big ones can retain material with their gravitational field and become bigger and bigger," McCanney said, adding that he thinks that most of the planets in our solar system started off as comets.

In fact, McCanney believes the planet Venus is just a few thousand years old, and after it escaped Jupiter's orbit, it tore into the inner solar system, destroying Mars' atmosphere as it passed by on its way to its current position. "My estimate is there are approximately 1,000 objects that are planetary size out there," but when they come through our solar system "they will always look like comets," he said. McCanney suspects there could be at least 10-12 objects that are the size of Jupiter or Saturn and that five of them have come through in the last 10,000 years. The ancients called them the "lawless ones," he said.

Currently "it seems there's something at the outskirts of our solar system," McCanney said, which he believes is indicated by unusual patterns in the sun. He doesn't however back the date of a May arrival of a "Planet X" type body, because he has not found any specific evidence for it.

Bumper Music

Bumper music from Monday April 21, 2003

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