Piet Hut, another Dutch astronomer fifty years younger than Jan Oort, decided to take seriously the possibility that comet showers are periodic. If they are periodic, the theory that they are caused by the random passing-by of alien stars cannot be right. If showers are periodic, they must be explained by a different theory. Piet Hut and his friend Rich Muller found an alternative theory to explain the periodicity in case it turns out to be real. The alternative theory is called Nemesis. Nemesis is an imagined star belonging to our own solar system. It is gravitationally bound to the Sun and forms with the Sun a binary star. We know rather accurately how far away it is, if it exists. It is 2.5 light-years away. But we do not know even roughly in which direction it lies, and we do not know whether it is bright enough to be seen with a telescope. Several astronomers are searching for it but nobody has found it. It may turn out, after all, to be a chimera, a mythical creature made out of dreams and travelers' tales.

Piet Hut's theory assumes that Nemesis has an elongated orbit, as many double stars do. Most of the time it will be at a large distance from the Sun and will have no effect on the comets in the Oort Cloud. But once every 26 million years it will come rather quickly through the part of its orbit which is close to the Sun. As it passes by the Sun it will disturb the comet orbits and cause a comet shower, just as an alien star would do. Since the passages of Nemesis occur at regular intervals, the comet showers will be periodic.


Folksonomies: astronomy hypotheses

/technology and computing/consumer electronics/camera and photo equipment/telescopes (0.652740)
/art and entertainment/music/music reference/music composition and theory (0.393375)
/business and industrial/energy/renewable energy/solar energy (0.230801)

Piet Hut (0.915443 (negative:-0.327370)), Nemisis Piet Hut (0.728085 (neutral:0.000000)), friend Rich Muller (0.568246 (neutral:0.000000)), alternative theory (0.550657 (negative:-0.430134)), Jan Oort (0.460206 (neutral:0.000000)), comet showers (0.451873 (negative:-0.501897)), comet orbits (0.439714 (neutral:0.000000)), Nemesis (0.438216 (positive:0.429039)), comet shower (0.433907 (neutral:0.000000)), Dutch astronomer (0.424197 (neutral:0.000000)), Oort Cloud (0.412171 (neutral:0.000000)), random passing-by (0.412066 (negative:-0.443506)), alien stars (0.408899 (negative:-0.443506)), different theory (0.394670 (neutral:0.000000)), mythical creature (0.394069 (negative:-0.491528)), regular intervals (0.385528 (negative:-0.487015)), binary star (0.381874 (positive:0.619602)), large distance (0.375781 (neutral:0.000000)), alien star (0.373188 (negative:-0.235768)), double stars (0.369629 (neutral:0.000000)), Sun (0.351106 (positive:0.619602)), light-years (0.259218 (negative:-0.321468)), periodicity (0.255125 (neutral:0.000000)), chimera (0.245546 (negative:-0.255685)), possibility (0.244795 (negative:-0.423246)), astronomers (0.241564 (neutral:0.000000)), comets (0.237115 (neutral:0.000000)), telescope (0.236791 (positive:0.489674)), case (0.236085 (neutral:0.000000)), direction (0.235932 (neutral:0.000000))

Nemisis Piet Hut:Facility (0.842043 (negative:-0.327370)), Nemesis:Company (0.749366 (neutral:0.000000)), Jan Oort:Person (0.384500 (neutral:0.000000)), Oort Cloud:GeographicFeature (0.321228 (neutral:0.000000)), Rich Muller:Person (0.245957 (neutral:0.000000)), solar system:FieldTerminology (0.228598 (positive:0.843879)), 26 million years:Quantity (0.228598 (neutral:0.000000)), fifty years:Quantity (0.228598 (neutral:0.000000))

Star (0.981037): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Planet (0.916603): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Comet (0.821414): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Oort cloud (0.794102): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Sun (0.729391): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Moon (0.726152): dbpedia | freebase
Solar System (0.707415): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Milky Way (0.610609): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago

 Infinite in All Directions
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Dyson , Freeman J. (2004-07-22), Infinite in All Directions, Harper Perennial, Retrieved on 2012-04-25
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: religion


    30 JAN 2015


    Nemesis > Similarity > Nemisis
    The idea that a periodic close encounter of our solar system with a star shakes comets loose in the Oort Cloud and causes mass extinctions.
    Folksonomies: hypothesis nemesis
    Folksonomies: hypothesis nemesis