Doomsday Comet?

Posted on October 18, 2011 by

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With the end of the Mayan Calendar coming up in December next year it forces you to step back and think.  Was it just an oversight?  Did they have some sort of insight into the world ending in 2012, or did they just decide to stop after a certain point?  How close have we come to an end of the world catastrophe in the past?  According to three astronomers in Mexico, pretty close.

On October 12 2011, Hector Javier Durand Manterola, Maria de la Paz Ramos Lara, and Guadelupe Cordero published a paper (pdf) about the observations made in 1883 by Jose A. y Bonilla.  Bonilla observed hundreds of objects passing in front of the sun through his telescope.  He was not entirely sure what he was seeing; it could have been birds or insects.  The paper that was posted on October 12 seeks to prove that it was something completely different, a broken up comet.

Manterola and company put forth this theory of a broken up comet based on other observations of broken up comets passing by the Earth.  They believe that some of these pieces were the size of the asteroid that struck Tunguska in Siberia in 1908.  The fact that these pieces were an estimated 600-8000 km from Earth shows how close we possibly came another mass extinction.  As amazing as this sounds, there are some facts that are not addressd.  Namely if these were pieces of a comet, why didn’t anybody else see them?  Objects of that size passing that close to Earth would have been observed by a good number of people.  Meteor showers from this comet entering the atmosphere could have even been seen during the day.  Yet, nobody else is known to have seen it anywhere else.

The evidence against this reexamination seems to keep stacking up.  It shows a possible reason why this was posted online and not in a reputable scientific publication.  Perhaps it was still under peer review.  Or maybe it is just another example of sensationalist thinking with the end of the Mayan calender approaching.

What do you think?

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