by Wallace Thornhill

Mar 03, 2006

from Thunderbolts Website




Score this one for electrical theorist Wallace Thornhill. He was the only one to have anticipated a shift in the arrangement, number, and the intensities of the jets of Comet Tempel 1 after “Deep Impact” on July 4, 2005.

The images above were taken with the 2.5m NOT telescope at El Roque de los Muchachos observatory (La Palma, Spain). The first image was taken about nine hours before impact, the second image about 15 hours after impact.


Both images were enhanced (Laplacian filter) to highlight structures in the coma.

The observatory report states,

“New jets (in black) appeared after the impact, the two jets observed in the previous night are still active. Also the curved expanding impact dust shell (in white) is visible at ~18 arcsec (corresponding to about 12,000km) from the comet nucleus”.

It appears that, in the eight months since Deep Impact (July 4, 2005), NASA officials have made no public comment on this finding.


It was certainly not expected. Why would a dirty snowball, snowy dirtball, or comet by any other name, in an electrically inert solar system, begin sporting new jets far removed from the source of Deep Impact?


The answer is that Tempel 1 is a charged body, and it was not moving through electrically neutral plasma.


Taking a pointer from Wallace Thornhill, we had written in our series of predictions posted the evening before Deep Impact:

“The discharge and/or impact may initiate a new jet on the nucleus (which will be collimated - filamentary - not sprayed out) and could even abruptly change the positions and intensities of other jets due to the sudden change in charge distribution on the comet nucleus”.

For the full context of our predictions on Deep Impact, we urge readers to review our Picture of the Day for July 4, 2005.