by Wallace Thornhill
Aug 05, 2004

from ThunderBolts Website


Recent mages of comet Wild 2 may reveal the telltale sign of electric discharge in the form of unexplained “bright spots”.

Close-up photos of comet Wild 2 taken by the spacecraft Stardust reveal small bright spots. Several of these hotspots are seen in the photo on the left, and two are seen together in the photo on the right.


A few have adjacent dark spots that may be shadows cast by the material shooting up from the surface.


Credit: Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech


From an Electric Universe point of view, these are the sparks where electric currents from the sun impinge on the more negatively charged surface of the comet. This is where electricity is peeling away the surface of the comet's nucleus.


The material removed from the comet is funneled away in tight jets that twice surprise conventional expectations.


The conventional model expects to find an even distribution of evaporated volatiles in the coma and tail of comets. Instead Stardust finds dense concentrations of particles in the jets themselves and fewer particles than expected in the coma and tail.

During the late 1800's, researchers noted the similarities between comet behavior and electrical phenomena in mainstream magazines such as Nature, Scientific American and English Mechanic and World of Science. But in the early 1900's, astronomers backed away from those ideas because they imply electric currents between the comet and the sun, something 20th century astronomers were not willing to consider.


They instead developed the "dirty snowball" theory of comets, which says that comet displays can be explained by ice and volatiles (compounds with low melting points) evaporating under the heat of the Sun.

The Electric Universe researchers are ready to turn the tide of comet theory back toward electrical phenomena. Electricity, not heat, is at work on the surface of Wild 2. If this is true, then a second problem is solved. We don't have to wait for the rare impact to form the cratered landscape. The craters we see are being carved by electric arcs.


These arcs also cause the (surprising) dark color of every comet we've seen up close. They produce the (surprising) x- rays that the ROSAT x-ray observatory discovered. And they create the (surprising) streams of rocky particles that pummeled the spacecraft, Stardust.

Textbooks will have to change. It is no longer important that comets be composed of mostly ice and volatiles. Electric arcs are strong enough to strip away rock. We use similar processes in industry here on Earth, both to remove material and to deposit it.

But the biggest effect of looking at a comet from the Electric Universe point of view is that it means we have to re-examine almost everything we know about the universe. Electric currents don't appear alone. They cannot flow unless there is a return current - a complete circuit. So if the comet is electrically active, then the Sun must be a part of its circuitry.


And if the Sun is electrically active, then so are all of the stars, in all of the galaxies, and what about the galaxies themselves?


These tiny sparks on Wild 2 could light a fire of discovery for astronomy.


Electric Comets and the "Domino Effect"

Dec 29, 2004

2005 could be the year of the breakthrough

for the “electric comet” model.

Comets without water on their nucleus will invalidate a lot more than obsolete comet theory.

In 2005, a lot of reputations, multi-million dollar research projects, and scientific institutions - including NASA itself - will suffer catastrophically if the planned Deep Impact mission produces the “surprises” expected by Wallace Thornhill, a leading theorist of the electric comet hypothesis.


to watch video, click above image

large file


The Deep Impact craft is scheduled for launch between January 12 and January 28, 2005.


Its mission is an unprecedented encounter with a comet nucleus. The target is Comet Tempel 1. NASA plans to fire an 820-pound copper "impactor" toward the nucleus, which is expected to strike the surface at about 23,000 miles per hour. According to NASA scientists, the result should be a release of energy equivalent to that of exploding 4.8 tons of TNT, creating a deep crater.


Fittingly, the scheduled date for the celestial fireworks is July 4, 2005


But all of NASA’s expectations for the encounter are tied to current ideas about comets. The conventional view is that comets are inert chunks of ice and dust, or "dirty snowballs," evaporating in the heat of the Sun.


The alternative view is that comets discharge electrically as they move through a radial electrical field of the Sun. No middle ground between the two views seems possible, and if it happens that the Deep Impact projectile strikes a solid rock the snowball theory of comets is finished. Mainstream theorists will be left without an explanation for a comet’s coma and tail.

While the electric universe model does not require that the nucleus of Tempel 1 be devoid of water, Thornhill and other advocates of the electric comet hypothesis think that a dry comet nucleus is most likely.


Credit: Stardust Team/JPL/NASA


Indeed, NASA has already encountered dry cometary nuclei.


The surface of comet Borrelly, visited in 2001, proved to be bone dry, prompting investigators to suggest that water must be hidden beneath the surface. Nor did the Stardust flyby of comet Wild 2 in January 2004 identify water on the surface of the nucleus.


The problem with the supposition of subsurface ice is that only a few inches of dry non-volatile surface material would be sufficient to insulate the “ice” from the heat of the Sun. Meanwhile the observed high speed jets are far more energetic than could be reasonably expected even if there were no insulating material. Nevertheless, the confidence of investigators was unshaken by what they saw, for surely the presence of water on comet nuclei is a fact!

The standard theory, it seems, has been kept alive by the discovery of water in comet comas and tails, not on the nucleus itself. But what is the source of the water in comet tails? Ironically electrical activity within cometary comas may have deceived investigators into thinking that their model is intact. Here is why:

The evidence suggests that comets are highly negatively charged with respect to the Sun. As they rush toward the Sun, the voltage increases until at some point the comet nucleus begins to discharge. Electrons are stripped from a few points on the comet surface where the electric field is strongest.


These “spark discharges” finely machine rocky material from the surface to form a “cathode jet” of negatively charged dust together with surface matter that has been torn apart to release ionized atoms and molecules, including oxygen.

Under the conventional model there is no reason for the high density of negative ions discovered near the comet nucleus. Negative ions are difficult to produce by solar heating and are quickly destroyed by solar radiation. Nevertheless, in March 1986 when the Giotto spacecraft flew within 600km of Comet Halley, an abundance of negatively charged atoms was discovered in the inner coma—direct evidence that a comet is the cathode in an electric exchange with the Sun.


A few years later, scientists discovered an unexpected “forbidden oxygen” line at 1128Å in the spectrum of Comet Austin. That line is consistent with the presence of an intense electric field and/or densities in the coma many orders of magnitude higher than those predicted from standard cometary theory.

There is reason to believe that the positively charged ions from the solar wind react preferentially with the negatively charged oxygen from the nucleus to generate the water observed surrounding comets.


The probe Vega 2 found the H2O (water) production by comet Halley was one fifth of the OH production. But scientists had supposed that OH was formed by photo-dissociation of H2O at some distance from the nucleus.


The report in Nature in May 1986 reads:

"only indirect and sometimes ambiguous evidence in favor of water has been found; indeed, some facts appear to contradict this hypothesis." Thus, the authors suggest, "This problem requires further analysis and may indicate the existence of parents of OH other than H2O."

Such a discovery is most simply explained if the parents of OH were a combination of solar protons (hydrogen) and negative oxygen ions electrically removed from silicates and other minerals in the nucleus.


The greater abundance of OH would then be expected. It then becomes clear that the water we see is being produced through electrical exchange: Negatively charged oxygen from the comet nucleus combines with the positively charged hydrogen ions from the Sun, via the solar wind.

Models of water production from comets assume it is sublimating from the surface of the nucleus at a constant rate and expanding radially outward at constant velocity. But neither of these assumptions is supported by observations. The encounter with comet Wild 2 discovered that the removed material is confined to very thin jets.


A principal investigator also spoke of energetic bursts “like a thunderbolt.”


The electrical model of cometary discharge does explain the observations:

  • an electric field accelerates matter in the jet

  • an electromagnetic “pinch effect” provides densities in the thin jets many orders of magnitude higher than those predicted from simple radial sublimation

  • instabilities and fluctuations suddenly relocate jets in exceedingly short periods of time

This model explains a great number of puzzles about recent comet discoveries.

  • Why are comet nuclei coal black as if they have been burnt?

  • Why are the nuclei sharply cratered and rocky when they should be smooth like a melting ice cream if they are merely sublimating in the Sun’s heat?

  • Why are the comet jets so narrow and energetic?

  • Why do some comets sport an “anomalous” Sunward spike?

  • How can some comets produce sulfur compounds like those found in the jets on Io that require very high temperatures?

  • Why is there a superabundance of extremely fine dust?

  • Why does the presence of water molecules increase with distance from the nucleus – quite the reverse of what we should expect if water is driving dust off the comet?

Often the events most disconcerting to conventional theory are the things most quickly forgotten.


While moving between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus (14 times farther from the Sun than the Earth), Comet Halley experienced an outburst between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus that caused dust to stretch over some 300,000 km.


At that distance from the Sun, the surface should be in deep freeze at –200 degrees C. But it happened at a time when the Sun was at maximum activity. This does not mean that the Sun was producing significantly more heat but rather that there was a marked increase in the charged particles from the solar wind. And the vast cloud of dust from the comet fits the electrical machining model but not the sublimating ices model.

A direct confirmation of the electric connection came unwittingly from the Chandra X-ray Observatory on July 14, 2000. At that time, the Chandra telescope viewed the comet Linear repeatedly over a 2-hour period, detecting unexpected X-rays from oxygen and nitrogen ions in the coma of the comet.


The capture of electrons from the negatively charged comet by positively charged hydrogen ions in the solar wind is, of course, nothing else than an electric discharge, nature’s highly efficient means of X-ray production.

It needs to be understood that a loss of faith in standard comet theory today would have drastic effects on all theoretical sciences touching on the nature of the universe--from microcosm to macrocosm.


An electric field sufficient to cause electrical discharging on a comet beyond the orbit of Saturn would have the electric potential to power the Sun.


We could no longer ignore the cosmic electricians’ claims:

They tell us that the Sun is not a nuclear furnace but an electric glow discharge; its nuclear reactions are occurring not in the interior but in the atmosphere of the Sun, where the intensity of the discharge is highest.

All theories about the evolution of the planetary system, including our earth, would have to be reconsidered from the ground up.


The nebular hypothesis of planetary origins, claiming that the Sun and planets emerged gravitationally from a primordial cloud, could no longer maintain its intellectual monopoly.


The fabled residue of the hypothesized nebula, the “Oort cloud,” called upon to send comets into the inner solar system as theorists need them, would instantly lose its rationale. And no longer could it be maintained that the planets have moved in clockwork fashion for billions of years.


Even the accumulated evidence of electrical dramas and planetary upheaval in the human past would demand a reconsideration.

There is also the virtual certainty that electric events in our solar system have countless analogs in deep space. Cosmological theories based on gravity alone could not survive such a turn of events.


We have good reason, therefore, to speak of the imminent prospect of a domino effect being unleashed, one that will set in motion one of the great revolutions in human thought and perception.