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Author Topic: An astro-physicist's point of view  (Read 6989 times)


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An astro-physicist's point of view
« on: June 17, 2011, 03:38:55 AM »
A friend of mine has put me in touch with her friend's husband, Ralph Holtom. Ralph is a Doctor of Physics (Imperial College, London)  and non-executive director of Frazer-Nash (Midhurst) Limited which makes imaging sensors for NASA, for the Hubble telescope. He is also a psychotherapist with practices in London and Essex.

I wrote to Ralph setting out my anxiety about Comet Elenin. This is what he had to say:

‘I have had a look at what is known about Comet Elenin which I am sure you have read too, but will perhaps try to add a little context if that will be useful. The facts that you report seem to be the prevalent view, that it has a core of a few kilometres and the coma is around 100,000 km in diameter at present. The tail will be millions of kilometres long when fully developed which will not be until it is closer to the sun. The closest approach to the sun is in October and it will be a reasonably bright object from the earth during the winter it is believed, though the brightness of comets is notoriously hard to predict especially long period comets like this one.
‘Perhaps a word or two about comets. They are basically like asteroids but much lower density, what I mean is they are not solid rock, they have been called dirty snowballs so a mixture of dust and ice. They are about 10% of the density of rock. It was a bit surprising when space probes passed close to comets and photographed the core, like Giotto and Deep Space 1 did a few years ago and they were seen to look quite rocky. The conclusion is that they are highly porous and contain most of the ice and gas frozen in the pores of the rock. Comets are in highly eliptical orbits some of them relatively short like the famous Halley with periods of 10s to 100s of years so they are really proper members of the solar system, whilst others are hardly in the solar system at all and spend most of their time way out on deep space where their tenuous orbits are easily perturbed by the gravitation of other stars; they have periods of 10s to 1000s of years. Elenin is estimated to have a period of 10,000 years or so at present but it does change easily.

‘When these objects get close to the sun they warm, the gases vaporise and form a cloud of gas and dust around the comet; the coma. As it gets closer in the to the sun the coma gets blown out, away from the sun (by the pressure of the light) so that it extends into a long tail the brightness being related to the volatility and the quantity of gas available, as well as how close it gets to the sun. Hale Bopp was a big surprise in the brightness of its tail.
‘Elenin is estimated to get to within half our distance from the sun so somewhat inside the orbit of Venus and to pass within about 35 million km of the earth on 16 October. I don’t know for sure if the earth will pass through its tail, it is quite possible as it does happen from time to time. The meter showers we experience regularly every such as the Leonids and the Perseids are both due to passing through the extended debris from the tails of comets and the effect is just that there are more meteorites. If we passed through a dense tail the show might be quite good.
‘I think your concern is about any potential threat to the earth from the comet and I have seen some of the stories on the web. First of all the threat form the tail is very small indeed. The comets itself is quite small only being a few km in diameter. Dust ejected from it is most unlikely to be more than mms to cms. Even if it disintegrated you would not expect chunks greater than a few 10s of meters.
‘I have had quite a lot of contact with the near earth object community in my previous career, I knew the famous Professor Isobe in Japan quite well who started the whole Spaceguard project which now monitors and tracks every object bigger than 1km that could have a feasible impact with the earth in the future. These are the big ones, they will no doubt move down scale in future. An impact with a 1km object would constitute a global catastrophe, so we would need to try to prevent it, and it was this phase of popularisation of the project that spawned the popular (and ludicrous) film Armageddon. There are strategies to prevent an impact by gently pushing the orbit of an asteroid. The target for Spaceguard for is to give around 30 years warning of a potential impact. I would be quite confident that it would be possible to act effectively in that time frame. Objects less than 1km would still be very nasty but not global risks. For example the Tunguska impact in Siberia in the early years of the 20th century was believed to be an object of some 10s of meters and the damage was estimated to be similar to a fair sized nuclear weapon. Interestingly there were some theories that this was due to a comet, but more credible studies seem to point to an asteroid origin.
‘I think you can be pretty certain that an impact with the core of the comet Elenin is just not going to happen; it is simply nowhere near us. The risk from passing through its tail is very slight. There may well be some good meteor showers and in the very worse case some very small meteors that will reach the earth but with trivial damage; unless one lands on your head of course!
‘You did wonder if it could be anything other than a comet. I don’t really think there is any other contender. The only other conceivable thing would be an out of orbit asteroid although the orbital calculations rule that out completely and the coma has been seen already so that is conclusive proof that it is a comet, but even if it were not it would not change anything. The core would be denser than a comet so an impact would be nastier but as I said it is a very great distance away from us so that is no risk. If it were an asteroid it would have no tail so that part of your concern would go away.
‘I am aware that there is the usual crop of claims that all sorts of bad things will attend this comet. I have to say I give them no credence. The physical effects proposed are usually entirely improbable. You mention that they talk of pole shifts. I did look up some of the references and they seem unsure whether they mean the magnetic pole or the axis of spin. The magnetic pole of the Earth does of course shift all of the time and the earth’s magnetic field has at time reversed completely with little ill effect that anyone can prove. I see no mechanism whereby a comet would effect changes to the Earths magnetic field. It derives from the molten iron rich core of the Earth and presumable is related to convection flows deep in the planet. The comet is both tiny and will have no magnetic field as it is mainly ice and so will have no means of interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field. I would dismiss that straight away. As for axis shift, that will only happen as a result of some catastrophic impact; the sheer scale of the energy needed to stop the current spin and start a new spin direction on such a huge object as the earth is inconceivable. Any impact large enough to deposit that much energy would leave little of the Earth left to spin! The Spaceguard and NASA NEO programmes have charted no such large objects and being that big they would be easy to see, so really there is no such risk at all.

‘I think the reasons for such alarm are much more sensibly sought in the psychology of those concerned rather than in physics. There have always been those who see catastrophes around the corner and of course comets have always been felt to be portentous, With my psychotherapist’s hat on rather than my physicist’s one I would say that it was much more about suppressed terrors and negative feelings finding a vehicle to return to consciousness and find re-expression than any realistic physical risk. And humanity always does tend towards paranoid fears and conspiracy theories; the only certain thing about these global catastrophes is that they unfailing do not materialise.
‘This has been a rather rambling brain dump and I am not sure whether it has gone any way to reassure you. I would be happy to correspond some more if you can indicate where you are most concerned and we can focus on the main points. If you can say more about the nature of the something out there that you refer to we could think about that, whatever it might be, you don’t have to be able to nail it down!'

I then sent Ralph Holtom most of the descriptions in the Kolbrin referring to The Destroyer/The Frightener and asked him, as an astro-physicist, what kind of phenomenon they suggest to him. Here is his reply:

'I have read about this a bit now and had a think about the writings.
‘Staying purely to the descriptions and what they may be reporting. It is hard to be very clear. The geophysical phenomena reported sound very much like a serious volcanic eruption. The falling hot coals etc would be just how the unfortunate people of Pompeii might have described the experience. They talk of the sky full of clouds of fire and lightening playing etc, which is exactly what happens in an eruption. The talk of mountains heaving and falling down to earth is again a very reasonable description, not even strongly exaggerated. There is talk of a flood and clear references to Noah like experience, but I believe this story is common in pre history accounts?
‘The accounts of celestial activity describe snaking fiery objects but assure us it is unlike a comet; not sure how they could be so sure as they do differ a lot, but for sure the image I got was a something writhing in the sky. The thought that comes to me is that there could be a folk memory of a major impact with an NEO. It is likely that a far sized say 1 Km to 500m in diameter would be a pretty impressive fiery sight in the sky and it would almost certainly breakup with lots of sub objects snaking around as they burn on entry to the atmosphere. If one of these really big objects did hit it could be imagined to do damage to the crust especially if it hit the edge of a plate which would be a pretty volcanically active area. I could imagine it triggering earthquakes, volcanoes and flood. The weakness of this suggestion is the shortage of major craters from such impacts; we only know of five in the last 65M years but sure there were more!
‘I make no comment on the provenance of the documents but if I am asked to what it might refer then I would say the above has some sense but the major problems is the lack of evidence of a major impact that occurred in the last say 5000 years that could have lead to these memories/myths.
‘There was talk of stars falling form the positions. This is nonsense and cannot happen. I make no comment about poetic licence on this occasion and am trying to stick to facts.
‘As to being concerned I am not in the least concerned. We are looking for such events and I believe that if an when they are detected we shall have sufficient warning to have a fighting chance of deflecting there paths to a safer orbit. I am even less worried about comets although I believe people are alarmed by the impact of Shoemaker Levy on Jupiter a few years back. It certainly made a big mess in the clouds of Jupiter, but we are talking about just that, an impact with the upper layers of a gas giant; they looked impressive but maybe were of little consequence to the planet.
‘By the way, there was an interesting publication this week concerning conspiracy theories about 9/11 but it grew much broader and the book covers the human drive to see conspiracies in events and people. I think it has a clear relationship with paranoia, but I am not discussing psychology here though I think it is a richer place to seek understanding of these matters than physics.
‘Hope my ramblings are of some use and please do come back if you think you would like to discuss it some more.'

I then set out the various physical events which have been happening to our planet and said to Ralph that when laymen such as I try to join up the dots, we think that something out there is pulling at the insides of the Earth and tilting it. This is what he had to say:

‘Just to comment briefly on these matters that you report again trying to stick to the scientific rather than the psychological!
‘Changing weather patterns are always hard to comment on. We understand climatic physics of the atmosphere so badly that it is really is hard to know what is going on! All I can say is that weather patterns viewed over a long enough base line all look very odd and I don’t believe anyone can say that the last 20 years have been extreme. Human ability to make long term comparisons is notoriously bad.
‘This ocean floor story is an interesting one. I reviewed the web accounts. In a Google search found tons of references, but not a single one from a reputable agency or a proper scientific body, not one! And I reviewed about 8 pages of the search. I think that has to be a pretty compelling indication that the story has no validity. I read a few of the sites and it seems that a depth reading from a hydrograph indicated a much shallower depth after a period of a some days and they divided one by the other to come up with this 13 feet/day figure. It is highly misleading as they imply a steady movement when in fact no one has any idea what happened. Maybe the hydrometer was recalibrated or came loose from its moorings! The fact that no credible source even comments in it is sufficient for me to just forget it.
‘The two suns story is also popular and again attracts zero attention from competent sources. It is almost certain that it is either a hoax or an optical aberration. The physics are inconceivable. You just cannot move up a body as massive as a star without causing catastrophic disruption tote solar system. It is completely impossible.
‘I am afraid the moon story is like the sun one; impossible. The phases of the moon which is what is mainly being reported namely that they seem to dance around and sometime appear upside down or some such is again just not possible. The phases of the moon are about where the sun illuminates and our viewing angle, all easily demonstrated with an orange and light bulb! For the phases to appear in the wrong sequence then the orbit would have to be changing erratically which means it would not be a stable orbit at all, which is plainly not the case or the sun would have to be moving about all over the place which clearly is not happening.
‘There is lots more but unfortunately much is just plain wrong, for example the suns increasing activity. In fact the opposite is true. Only today a group of serious NASA scientists reported that the sun’s low activity levels are showing no sign of hotting up. They predict that there could even be a cooling of the earth as happened in the early sixteenth century something that might save us from global warming!
‘As you can see I call serious question on this evidence much of which really does seem to insubstantial or incoherent. As I see no reliable evidence at all I don’t need to seek causes, and even if I did the various events reported are not connected by any obvious single cause I can imagine. There is much talk about magnetic pole shifting but it really is pure fantasy that any such effect would cause the things that are believed to be happening; for me it is very much in the vein of blaming the bad weather on nuclear testing as was popular in the 60’s!
‘I do think we have to come back to the psychological to gain a better understanding.
‘You also ask if there could be anything coming behind the comet. I guess it is possible but not the massive object you have in mind. If a huge mass was coming you would see its gravitational disturbance on the comet and any other object that was close.
‘I am not being overly coherent tonight, it is late I am afraid.
‘I am happy to continue the discussion but the more I read the more sure I am that we should look at why some of these web site owners are so predisposed to look for catastrophes and how conspiracy theorists link in with paranoia and early experience?
‘Hope I don’t put you off; I am genuinely interested in this phenomenon!’


  • Guest
Re: An astro-physicist's point of view
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2011, 04:30:29 AM »
This is a good point of view.  Its similar to mine.  I have not felt anything negative about this comet.  Sometimes I have felt that this comet's negative reporting is one big sysop.  A distraction from what is really coming.


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Re: An astro-physicist's point of view
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2011, 05:09:42 AM »
I dont know what to believe anymore.

So many good arguments from both points of view.

Gotta ask yourself. If this is all going down this year, with major preparations underway by many board members, why is the website named 2012 and not 2011?

I think Im gonna live a normal life without worry from here on out.


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Re: An astro-physicist's point of view
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2011, 06:03:35 AM »
I dont know what to believe anymore.

So many good arguments from both points of view.

Gotta ask yourself. If this is all going down this year, with major preparations underway by many board members, why is the website named 2012 and not 2011?

I think Im gonna live a normal life without worry from here on out.
A very good idea to live that normal life, at the same time it never hurts to be prepared none the less even due to the financial woes of the world.


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Re: An astro-physicist's point of view
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2011, 07:51:07 AM »
I knew there was nothing to worry about with this or any comet.

Alfred Williams

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Re: An astro-physicist's point of view
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2011, 03:34:49 PM »
So we need these latest SP telescope of the big red object behind it or at least somewhere back there. And is there any more on that massive body NASA has eluded to outside the Oort. Meanwhile let us not take our eye off of the fast moving geo-social meltdown. Keep preparing for those hard days because like many in the midwest already feel. They have a long way to go yet, our thoughts go out to those in dire circumstance{{:>)
It is not what you know.
It is what you do with what you know!!


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Re: An astro-physicist's point of view
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2011, 06:27:02 PM »
Like all of you, my personal jury on Elenin is out. I would encourage everyone to listen to Marshall's past few shows. The guests are top notch and they discuss a lot of what is going on with these events.
And on Tuesdays' 5:00 PST live


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Re: An astro-physicist's point of view
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2011, 06:42:36 PM »
"I dont know what to believe anymore."

Join the club.  Last week, one site predicted that Japan would all go under the ocean on June 15.   But, it didn't happen, obviously.  Fortunately, I did not post that warning in this forum.

Well, I suspect that the closer the time comes to the real thing, the more false messages, disinformation, lies, etc. will appear.  As far as I know, December 2012 is still the date with the most support, and then October 2011 is favored by some people, and then some later dates are also presented by others.  Personally, I suspect that serious financial/economic decline will occur in October 2011.

In regard to comet Elenin, it is still true that the alignments that happened did coincide with major earthquakes, at least if JPL's orbit simulator is correct.  The mechanics of that interaction has not been fully identified yet, as far as I know, although some partial hypotheses have been presented (plasma discharge, and resonance in Earth's mantle).  Another possibility is that those earthquakes were deliberately triggered by "baddies" on Earth (yes, they have that capability) on the dates of alignment with Elenin in order to create fear about what might happen during the next alignment.  Their motives?  1) To set up a scapegoat,  2) to hasten collapse and depopulation,  3) for an ego trip.  (They are smart but not rational beyond their short-term agenda)


  • Guest
Re: An astro-physicist's point of view
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2011, 07:01:19 AM »
Yes Jim, other folks are thinking the same thing:

Another possibility is that those earthquakes were deliberately triggered by "baddies" on Earth (yes, they have that capability) on the dates of alignment with Elenin in order to create fear about what might happen during the next alignment.  Their motives?  1) To set up a scapegoat,  2) to hasten collapse and depopulation,  3) for an ego trip.

I do not know if this has already been posted but it is related to your comment:



  • Guest
Re: An astro-physicist's point of view
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2011, 12:21:29 AM »
I am not a scientist, and if we all were to absorb von baths friends reports then i suppose i would have to agree with the previous comments - a theme of `there you are then lets get on with things`.     however, for someone like me who has had visions that played like a video in my head - armed with my own intelligence - iq 144 - messages that i believe are being given to me to look beyond this life that tells us what to wear , what car to drive , and HOW TO THINK. I could say david ike - i could say graham hancock - who i admire greatly - ive read his books and yes he was slated by scientists because he has the courage and vision to think outside the box.    I have arrived and joined this site - planet x - because I believe ive found the answers to my questions - i believe that niburu is real and from a distance bringing change to this planet. 
     forgive my ramblings for it is late.        stephen


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