‘Backwards’ comet perplexes scientists

Photo: www.nasa.gov Loke Kun Tan (StarryScapes) Comet Hyakutake

by David Catchpoole

Published: 27 January 2009(GMT+10)
This is the pre-publication version which was subsequently revised to appear in Creation 31(4):38–39.

The origin of comets presents a challenge to evolutionary cosmologists. Being ‘dirty balls of ice’, with every pass by the sun they lose mass at such a rate that they cannot be more than thousands of years old (otherwise they would long ago have disappeared). That fits perfectly with the Bible’s timeframe but leaves evolutionary ‘big bang’ billions-of-years proponents scratching for ideas. (See Comets—portents of doom or indicators of youth?)

And the recent discovery of a comet dubbed ‘Dracula’ (officially named 2008 KV42), observed to be orbiting backwards around the sun on a 104-degree tilt, is reported to be ‘perplexing’ evolutionary scientists as to its origins.1

“This is the first time in the outer solar system that something’s going backwards,” said Dr John Kavelaars, one member of the international team of astrophysicists who first spotted the comet. It was so odd that they originally thought it was an error, he added. However, after confirmation via other telescopes around the world, the new discovery has changed astronomers’ assessment of 2002 XU93, a similar-type outer solar system comet tilted at 77 degrees—‘a virtual mirror orbit to Dracula’.

“Before, they thought it (2002 XU93) was a weird oddball,” said Kavelaars. “Now there’s two, and this one (Dracula) is so unusual you can’t ignore it.”

The reason for the bafflement is that evolutionary astronomers accept the ‘nebular hypothesis’. This 18th-century naturalistic idea proposes that the sun, the earth and the rest of the solar system formed from a nebula, or cloud of dust and gas. And such a collapsing cloud would result in objects orbiting in the same direction. Hence the puzzlement about a counter-orbiting planet. There are many other problems with the nebular hypothesis—see for example  Revelations in the solar system.

Thousands-of-years-old comets and ‘mirror orbits’ are no accident. As the Psalmist (19:1) wrote, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’

References

  1. Chan, C., Backwards comet ‘Dracula’ discovered, perplexing scientists, Canwest News Service, canada.com, accessed September 2008. Return to text.