Skip to comments.Jupiter: Our Cosmic Protector? (How the planet protects us from cosmic disaster)
Posted on 07/26/2009 7:02:22 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Jupiter took a bullet for us last weekend.
An object, probably a comet that nobody saw coming, plowed into the giant planets colorful cloud tops sometime Sunday, splashing up debris and leaving a black eye the size of the Pacific Ocean. This was the second time in 15 years that this had happened. The whole world was watching when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 fell apart and its pieces crashed into Jupiter in 1994, leaving Earth-size marks that persisted up to a year.
Thats Jupiter doing its cosmic job, astronomers like to say. Better it than us. Part of what makes the Earth such a nice place to live, the story goes, is that Jupiters overbearing gravity acts as a gravitational shield deflecting incoming space junk, mainly comets, away from the inner solar system where it could do for us what an asteroid apparently did for the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Indeed, astronomers look for similar configurations a giant outer planet with room for smaller planets in closer to the home stars in other planetary systems as an indication of their hospitableness to life.
Anthony Wesley, the Australian amateur astronomer who first noticed the mark on Jupiter and sounded the alarm on Sunday, paid homage to that notion when he told The Sydney Morning Herald, If anything like that had hit the Earth it would have been curtains for us, so we can feel very happy that Jupiter is doing its vacuum-cleaner job and hoovering up all these large pieces before they come for us.
But is this warm and fuzzy image of the King of Planets as father-protector really true?
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I’ve never understood why some consider Jupiter to be a great protector. Actually Jupiter doesn’t cover all the bases at all times and doesn’t make distinctions.
It catches a few, sends a few off into the outer reaches of the solar system, and it flings a few our way. Very likely it does these things in what I would assume to be fairly equal numbers.
This sounds an awful lot like “Intelligent Design.” The massive gravity of the sun on one side and the significant gravities of the gaseous giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune on the other. Think of Aircraft Carrier Earth in the middle of the protective fleet.
This from famed Physicist and Astronomy professor, Michio Kaku...
Jupiter, 318 times more massive than the earth, acts like a cosmic vacuum cleaner, sucking in or deflecting debris left over from the solar systems birth 4.5 billion years ago. If it werent for Jupiters colossal gravitational field, we wouldnt be here, since the earth would be hit with deadly comet and meteor impacts every month or so. Most of the U.S. would just be an empty graveyard of bleak craters.
The bad news is that a comet impact could happen to us. A black eye for Jupiter would be a body blow to the earth. We got a taste of this back in 1908, when something the size of an apartment building plowed into Tunguska, Siberia. This city-buster flattened 100 million trees with the force of a hydrogen bomb. But this recent Jupiter comet, much larger and coming in at perhaps 100,000 miles per hour, would have unleashed the power of hundreds of H-bombs. It might have engulfed most of the East Coast in a huge firestorm, triggering a massive tsunami and destabilizing the weather.
Jupiter’s real benefit to us is probably in the fact that it helps corral the asteroids into a fairly stable asteroid belt. (with help from our little buddy Mars of course)
I hope Algore does not get ahold of this.
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Ok you do have a point,it would explain the astereoid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
I live and learn.
Bump for later reading
Distant object found orbiting Sun backwards [ 2008 KV42 ]
New Scientist | Friday, September 5, 2008 | Jeff Hecht
Posted on 09/09/2008 1:43:56 AM PDT by SunkenCiv
I’ve seen this claim before... I think astronomers are saying that it got bumped out of its orbit 10 - 100million years ago, eventually hitting us 50,000 years ago.
I believe what happens is... Depending on their orbital periods, these things have orbited the Sun hundreds of millions, even billions of times, just like the earth has. Sometimes, when they cross the orbit of Jupiter, Jupiter is nearby, sometimes it’s not. On those occasions Jupiter is nearby, it perturbs the asteroid/comet’s orbit a little bit, bending it toward the planet, so that on its next close pass, it passes even closer to Jupiter. Over billions of years, if it hasn’t already hit the sun or an inner planet, it gets drawn nearer and nearer to Jupiter until... BLAMO!... Jupiter eats it.
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