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June 16, 2012

Space Cowboys

Few things are as strange as peering through a telescope at some of our near and distant neighbors in the sky. You realize you aren't looking at a picture, but at the real deal, although it may have taken some minutes or much longer for the light to reach your lens.

I remember looking at Saturn for the first time through Larry Hindergard's 60mm spotting scope in about 1981 or so in the backyard on Monterey Street. There, balanced perfectly with its creamy white rings around it, sped Saturn in the night sky. I was amazed.

I took Angel downtown to view the moon as it eclipsed the sun last month. The Astronomical Society had set up camp by the waterfront, and she had fun looking at all the equipment and seeing the initial stage of 'contact.' They gave her filtered glasses, which we brought home and used to looked some more.

Then Venus in Transit occurred a few weeks ago. I brought a piece of exposed film home from work, put the spotting scope on a tripod and took pictures the best I could of another phenomenon that I'll never see again. I've posted the best one. The planets and their moons are wonderfully unique - and exist mysteriously. They do not fit the common theories of origination like stellar evolution and 'chance'.

The following is from Vance Ferell's 2001 publication of The Evolution Handbook:

1. There is no known mechanical process that can accomplish a transfer of angular (turning, spinning, orbiting) momentum from the sun to its planets. A full 99.5% of all the angular (rotating) momentum in the solar system is concentrated in the planets - yet a staggering 99.8% of all the mass is located in our sun! To an astrophysicist, this is both astounding and unexplainable. Their theory is that the sun was rotating so fast, it hurled out the planets. Our sun is rotating rather slowly, but the planets are rotating far too fast in comparison with the sun. In addition, they are orbiting the sun far faster than the sun itself is turning. But if the planets did not orbit so fast, they would hurtle into the sun; and if the sun did not rotate slowly, it would fling its mass outward into space. According to David Layzer of Harvard, in order for the sun to originally have been part of the same mass as the planets and moons, it would have to rotate ten-million times faster.

2. The orbits of Mercury, Pluto, asteroids, and comets each have an extreme inclination from the plane of the sun's ecliptic. The solar origin theories cannot explain this.

3. Both Uranus and Venus rotate backward, compared to all the other planets. The other seven rotate forward in relation to their orbit around the sun. Uranus rotates at a 98 degree angle from its orbital plane.

4. One-third of the moons have retrograde (backward) motion, opposite to the rotational direction of their planets.

5. The continued existence of these moons is unexplainable. For example, Triton, the inner of Neptune's moons, with a diameter of 3,000 miles, is nearly twice the mass of our moon, yet revolves backward every six days, has a nearly circular orbit, and is only 220,000 miles from its planet. It should fall into its planet . . . but it does not do so.

6. There are such striking differences between the various planets and moons, that they could not have originated from the same source. "The solar system used to be a simple place, before any spacecraft ventured forth from the Earth . . . But 30 years of planetary exploration have replaced the simple picture with a far more complex image. 'The most striking outcome of planetary exploration is the diversity of the planets,' says planetary physicist David Stevenson of the California Institute of Technology. Ross Taylor of the Australian National University agrees: 'If you look at all the planets and the 60 or so satellites [moons], it's very hard to find two that are the same.'" Richard A. Kerr, "The Solar System's New Diversity," Science 265, Sept. 2, 1994, p. 1360. [150 moons now known]

7. Many say that material from the sun made the planets and moons. But the ratio of elements in the sun is far different than that found in the planets and moons. One could not come from the other.

8. How could the delicate rings of Saturn have been formed from gas, collisions, or some other chance occurrence? The rings include ammonia, which should quickly vaporize into space.

9. Saturn has 17 major moons, yet none of them ever collide with the rings. The farthest one out is Phoebe, which revolves in a motion opposite to Saturn and its rings.

10. Nearly all of Saturn's moons are different from one another in the extreme. Titan, alone, has a thick atmosphere (thicker than the Earth's). Enceladus has an extremely smooth surface, whereas the other moons are generally rougher. Hyperion is the least spherical and shaped like a potato. The surface of Iapedus if five times darker on one side than on the other. One moon is only 48,000 miles above Saturn's cloud cover! There are three co-orbital moon sets; that is, each moon shares the same orbit and chases its one or two companions around Saturn endlessly. Some of Saturn's moons travel clockwise, and others counterclockwise. How could all those moons originate by chance?

11. The chemical makeup our moon is distinctly different than that of Earth. The theorists cannot explain this. "To the surprise of scientists [after the Apollo moon landings], the chemical makeup of the moon rocks is distinctly different from that of rocks on Earth. This difference implies that the moon formed under different conditions. Professor [A.G.W.] Cameron explains, and means that any theory on the origin of the planets now will have to create the moon and the earth in different ways." J.E. Bishop, "New Theories of Creation," Science Digest 72, October 1972, p. 42.

12. Our moon is larger in relation to the planet it orbits [Earth] than is any other moon in our solar system. To have such a huge body circling so close to us, without falling into the earth is simply astounding. Scientists cannot keep their satellites orbiting the Earth without occasional adjustments. Lacking such adjustments, the orbits decay and the satellites eventually fall and crash. Yet, century after century, our moon maintains an exquisitely perfect orbit around the Earth. "The moon is always falling. It has a sideways motion of its own that balances its falling motion. It therefore stays in a closed orbit about the Earth, never falling altogether and never escaping altogether." Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts (1979), p. 400. "Now the moon's elliptical motion around the earth can be split into horizontal and vertical components. The vertical component is such that, in the space of a second, the moon falls a trifle more than 1/20 inch toward the Earth. In that time, it also moves about 3300 feet in the horizontal direction, just far enough to compensate for the fall and carry it around the Earth's curvature." Isaac Asimov, Asimov's New Guide to Science, (1984), pp. 873-874.


I firmly believe with Sir Isaac Newton: "Though these bodies may, indeed, persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular positions of the orbits themselves from those laws ... This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent Being." Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy

"I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos. There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is a mystery but is the explanation for the miracle of existence, why there is something instead of nothing." Alan Sandage, (Winner of the Crawford prize in astronomy) J. N. Willford, March 12, 1991. 'Sizing up the Cosmos: An Astronomers Quest'. New York Times, p. B9