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A new theory of the origin of the terrestrial planets—that Jupiter’s gravity pulled them inward from the outer solar system—solves longstanding scientific riddles and offers a rich agenda for further investigation.

The origin and distribution of water on the terrestrial planets make a good place to start investigating this theory. Radiation pressure and the solar wind pushed water molecules out beyond the “snow line” around 4.5 AU, so how did Earth come to have a relatively significant amount of water?

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ring_of_fire_crop_sharp_350pxThere are good reasons to think that Earth and Mars originally formed a single protoplanet—Terramars—outside the orbit of Jupiter.  Then, over 4 billion years ago, Terramars was pulled by Jupiter’s powerful gravitational field past the gas giant.  As Terramars neared Jupiter, tidal forces heated it to the melting point, and Jupiter tore Mars away from Earth, leaving the Pacific Basin.  Both planets, now turned into red-hot comets, sped off into the inner solar system.

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Lunar Eclipse

Curiously, even though the Babylonians reported many details of celestial phenomena, the astrologers of Babylon are said not to have relied on actual observations.

According to a leading expert, “The existence of Babylonian omens for eclipses beginning and clearing in all four directions, or areas of the moon, despite the fact that a lunar eclipse will never begin on the western edge of the moon, indicates a lack of concern with observational veracity in favor of schematic order.”1

But there is another explanation that makes more sense of what the Babylonian astrologers were up to. Continue reading »

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