The ring forecast update

On December 31 we forecast that the gentler weather we were seeing around the New Year would end on January 6, bringing harsh weather that will not end until March.  Today is January 9, and as forecast it has more or less come to pass – we had a bit of snow the night of January 6 and the cold has been deepening.  The Weather Service evidently does not quite have the driver in their models, considering that each episode of snow this week is being forecast only a day or two in advance – beyond that, they don’t see it coming.  There is indeed something out there they don’t know about.

Now we repeat the forecast that the weather will be anomalously cold until June – not winter until June, just a cold winter, followed by a cold spring.  On or about the first week of June, temperatures should go back to normal.  This is because the sun has been shaded by the second ring in the system since about December 11, and will be until about June 11.

Since we like to be careful, we may add that since we think the extra cold is due not only to the regular circulation of this ring into position to shade the sun (as it does for nine years of every eighteen) but also due to an extra density of ring thickness as a consequence of low solar activity, we also say that if the sun becomes much more active, then the ring will weaken and the harsh cold will be moderated as the ring is perturbed and weakened and dissolved.  In that case, the climate would revert to patterns of 18 years ago, and would cease breaking all-time cold records.

If on the other hand that doesn’t happen, then we predict outbreaks of bubonic plague, which is what happens in cold climate periods:  6th to eight century outbreak extinguished by the onset of the warmer Climate Optimum; then bubonic plague returned with the colder weather that began approx. 1348 and troubled Europe through the Little Ice Age, and then retreated. Well, we say it’s coming back.  Oh how we wish we did not believe ourselves.

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Gegenschein – have we seen a ring and misidentified it?

Here is one of Stéphane Guisard’s photos from Paranal, apparently taken from a point of view looking straight up toward the zenith.  Thus the ragged edge around the picture would be trees and buildings on the horizon.  The vaguely glowing arc is the Gegenschein.  Here it is particularly clear that the Gegenschein looks just as a ring in the plane of the lunar orbit ought to look: as to location (ecliptic), illumination (a march across the sky of moon phases), and as to shape – narrow and focused when seen high in the sky.

In short I think we have seen an Earth ring already and mis-identified it as planetary dust in orbit around the Sun, when it is dust in orbit around the Earth.  O’Keefe’s daughter Jane Meyerhofer has remarked that the optical effect to which the Gegenschein is usually attributed (“glory”) should not vary with observer location as the Gegenschein does.   We may ask as well, if it’s a “glory”, why does this arc appear to have so much structure?

Stephane Guisard's photo of the Gegenschein

Stephane Guisard’s photo of the Gegenschein from Paranal. © Stéphane Guisard.  Shown here with permission. And see
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The earth-ring weather forecast: From January 6 a very cold winter

The earth-ring-based weather bet is on a very cold winter in the Northern Hemisphere from January 6 to March 21.  After March 21, a colder-than-usual spring/summer, lasting until June 10.   And then, after June 10, a quick transition to hot summer.

In mid-November, anomalous cold will return, arriving earlier than it did in 2010, which was earlier than the year before.  Not because Nature is persecuting us but because the eclipse season is moving backward through the year, and with it the moment when the Sun slips behind the shade of a ring in the plane of the lunar orbit, if there is one.  And we hypothesize there is, from which the rest follows.

Meantime the Southern Hemisphere will be hotter than usual until June 10.  Its cold anomalies will be when ours are not.

Overall, temperatures may warm, despite the cold anomalies.  This would be the result of ongoing, long-term erosion in the ring in the equatorial plane.  It is the ring in the plane of the lunar orbit that would account for the wintry cold anomalies of the last few years, and will later account for summery cold anomalies.

Let’s see if it’s true before providing further explanations of what may not be.

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Meteor showers and space dust (S. Blanton)

Meteor Showers and Tons of Space Dust

(1) There are nearly a dozen “Meteor Shower” events each year. The QUADRANTID shower is on the night (Monday) of Jan 3rd-4th. When Earth passes through an old comet trail, we see particles of debris that fall into the atmosphere. There is absolutely no reason that other particles could not be simultaneously entrained in a ‘Ring Field’. Gravity works both possibilities simultaneously and shows no known partiality. According to various websites, ‘the USGS says at least 1,000 million grams, or roughly 1,000 tons of material enters the atmosphere every year and makes its way to Earth’s surface.’ This suggests a lot more material in orbit around Earth.

(2) Meteor strikes on the moon blast debris from the surface into space. With the right trajectory and velocity, some particles could be injected into an Earth Ring field. “On Dec. 14, 2006, we observed at least five Geminid meteors hitting the Moon,” reports Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office in Huntsville, AL. Each impact caused an explosion ranging in power from 50 to 125 lbs of TNT and a flash of light as bright as a 7th-to-9th magnitude star. The explosions occurred while Earth and Moon were passing through a cloud of debris following near-Earth asteroid 3200 Phaethon. This happens every year in mid-December and gives rise to the annual Geminid meteor shower: Streaks of light fly across the sky as rocky chips of Phaethon hit Earth’s atmosphere.

(3) Tektites (from Greek τεκτός tektos, molten) are natural glass rocks up to a few centimeters in size, which most scientists argue were formed by the impact of large meteorites on Earth’s surface. Tektites are typically black or olive-green, and their shape varies from rounded to irregular.
Tektites are among the “driest” rocks, with an average water content of 0.005%. This is very unusual, as most if not all of the craters where tektites may have formed were underwater before impact. Also, partially melted zircons have been discovered inside a handful of tektites. This, along with the water content, suggests that the tektites were formed under phenomenal temperature and pressure not normally found on the surface of the Earth.
NASA scientist John A. O’Keefe published numerous papers between the 1950s and 1990s discussing the lunar, rare-earth, isotopic and other chemistries, and how they relate to tektite glass. Thus, some tektite researchers continue to strongly disagree with the popular terrestrial-impact theory; they suggest tektites are more likely … ejecta from the Moon.

(4) The whole Solar System can be compared with a gravitational dust bowl. Earth has a dust tail not because the planet itself is particularly dusty, but rather because the whole solar system is. Interplanetary space is littered with dusty fragments of comets and colliding asteroids. As Earth orbits through this dusty environment, a tail form akin to swaths of fallen leaves swirling up behind a street sweeper. “As Earth orbits the sun, it creates a sort of shell or depression that dust particles fall into, creating a thickening of dust – the tail – that Earth pulls along via gravity,” explains Werner. “In fact, the tail trails our planet all the way around the sun, forming a large dusty ring.”

Comment: In science, the hypothesis that there is ‘nothing-to-look-for’ is generally not acceptable until after a serious search has been done.

November 12, 2010: Did you know that the Earth has a dust tail? The Spitzer Space Telescope sailed right through it a few months ago, giving researchers a clear idea of what it looks like. Spitzer’s recent observations have helped astronomers map the structure of Earth’s dust tail and figure out what similar “tell-tale tails” attached to alien planets might look like.

If Earth has a ‘dust tail’, there is an increased probability that it has an “O’Keefe Ring”.

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Searching for an Earth ring

does the Earth have a ring system? does it affect weather?

In 1980, John O’Keefe suggested that an Earth ring could have caused the onset and breakup of an Ice Age (Nature 285, 309-311)  The idea is difficult to test observationally.  Yet it becomes more intriguing and perhaps likely as time goes by, as more and more planetary rings are discovered.  And it is a physically beautiful thing to consider.

How can we test the idea, short of flying a special purpose satellite toward the Sun where it could look backward to see the illuminated ring?  Well, here’s an idea.  Let’s see if we can forecast the weather accurately, months ahead, by hypothesizing that a ring system exists and working out what the consequences should be.

Here  is the first effort:

Very first ring-based weather guess.

Today is December 31, 2010.  From the second week of January 2011 forward, winter in the Northern Hemisphere will undergo a deep chill compared to today and compared to average Januaries (and Februaries, and Marches).  The cold anomaly will lighten somewhat on or about March 21, 2011, but the weather will still remain unusually cold until June 10 approx.

While the Northern Hemisphere is cold, however, the Southern Hemisphere will be having a relatively hot summer up to March 21.  The Southern Hemisphere will not rise to new levels of high temperature on any single day, but it will have many hot days.  Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere will suddenly cool, though, on or about the first week of June.

Here is the reasoning. (i) A ring in the equatorial plane (most common orientation, so let’s assume Earth has one of these) would shade the northern hemisphere from the Sun from September 21 to March 21.

(ii) A second ring orientation is also possible, a ring in the plane of the lunar orbit.  Saturn has one so we hypothesize that we have one too.  Such a ring would shade the Sun every year from the day of the Sun’s passage downward across the Moon’s orbit until the Sun’s passage upward across the Moon’s orbit (I think there is a name in Hindu for these two moving points on the ecliptic, “Rahu” and “Ketu”).   This year, the shaded period in the Northern Hemisphere would be approx December 11, 2010 to approx June 10, 2011.  The Southern Hemisphere, meantime, is shaded exactly when the North is not.

(iii) Last year’s winter was harsh, at about the time frame that would be accounted for by the lunar-plane ring, so we hypothesize that the lunar-plane ring must be particularly dense.  We further suppose that it is dense because of the quiet sun.  Solar activity can knock satellites out of their orbits so we can reasonably suppose that it tends to erode a ring too, by knocking material out of the marginally stable orbits.  OK, so the ring is dense, and it will stay dense until something perturbs the orbits.

(iv) The Southern Hemisphere is un-shaded when the Northern Hemisphere is shaded, so when NOrthern Hemisphere shade is diminished on March 21, the Southern Hemisphere receives that shade.  And when Northern Hemisphere shade from the lunar-plane ring is withdrawn entirely in June, then just then the Southern Hemisphere falls into shade.

(v) The reason weather may become more harsh in the second week of January than it is now (December 31) would be that, as O’Keefe noted in 1980 and as geometry readily confirms, the shading of the Sun by a ring in the equatorial plane should become less as the winter solstice nears.  The Sun is behind less and less material.  At tropical latitudes, the Sun probably fully emerges below the shade of the ring.  But at all latitudes, the shade is reduced as the solstice nears.  After the solstice, the Sun begins to rise upward toward the equator, and doing so, it slips again behind the shade of the equatorial-plane ring.  The cold therefore will return as the Sun is now making its way upward toward the equator.

Let’s see.

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