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Comets of Ice

 Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed
Clinical Professor of Medicine
University of Louisville School of Medicine
Louisville, KY 40292
President, Islamic Research Foundation International, Inc
7102 W. Shefford Lane
Louisville, KY 40242-6462


Comets orbiting a distant star have been discovered to contain water. In the Journal Nature dated July 12, 2001 scientists claimed that it is the first time the ingredient considered key to life has been discovered in objects circling a star other than our sun which is also a star. This discovery supports the theory that other planetary systems may be similar to our own solar system and may contain chemicals that are essential to the formation of life, as we know it. This particular star is identified as CW Leonis and is located some 3,000 trillion miles from Earth in the constellation Leo. Scientists have no way of knowing whether life ever existed on any comets or planets orbiting this particular star. One conclusion is that no life could exist there now. The reason for this conclusion is that this star has burned out the last of its nuclear fuel and the star has swelled and increased in luminosity, engulfing nearby objects and melting comets in orbits as distant as Neptune is from our own sun -- releasing the water that astronomers spotted using a radio-telescope in outer space. 

Gary Melnic, chief scientist on the project and an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, regrets that the existence of these bodies is measured through their destruction. He says that there could have been water closer to the star, bolstering the idea that life may have existed outside our solar system. Scientists have believed that the comets helped build life on earth. The comets along with important chemicals bring the water in our oceans as they hurtled through earth's atmosphere. 

The amount of water estimated from the distant comets is about 10 times the mass of earth. By peeking at the dying star far in the distance and therefore long in the past, scientists said they had also glimpsed for the first time a vision of the fiery future of our won world. As our sun begins to die in about 6 billion years, it will also first grow larger and hotter, vaporizing earth's oceans, reducing planets and comets to cinders. Scientists have never before seen the effects of a dying star on its surroundings, although the process is not thought to be uncommon. Every star in the galaxies comprising of billion stars in the universe will go though similar cycles of destruction. 


It has been shown that Islam is not in conflict with science and that Al Qur'an does not contradict or negate modem scientific findings or discoveries. On the other hand, Western scholars have praised and credited Islam for the preservation and advancement of scientific knowledge by Muslim scientists, physicians and technologists. 1,400 years later, modem science is bringing to light the truths or confirming what has been revealed in Al Qur'an. A learned Muslim will find in the Quran scientific truths and realities. 

Consider the following Qur'anic Verse: 

      Have you not seen how Allah wafteth the clouds, then gathers them, then makes them layers, and you see the rain come forth from between them,………… Surah An-Nur 24: 43 (first half) 

Here Allah Ta'ala is describing the formation of rain clouds and the rainfall from the clouds. This phenomenon is very common and known to every human being. But what is not known to the human beings are the truths that are found in the following ayah from the Noble Qur'an. 

        'Wa anz'ala min'assa maai' Ma'an….'  

'And causeth water to descend from the heavens. '

…. 'Surah Baqara 2: 22, Surah Ibrahim 14: 22 and Surah An-Nahl, 16: 10, & 65. 

Now the question is why does Allah Ta'ala says that He causes the water to descend from the heavens, in apparent contradiction to the An-Nur, 24: 43 first half of the verse cited above. If carefully studied, the following verse makes no sense and the disbelievers would belittle the Noble Qur'an : 

'...He sendeth down from the heaven mountains wherein is hail…"

……………Surah An-Nur, 24: 43 (Second Half) 

All the Mufassareen (interpreters of the Qur'an) did not give the right Tafsir (interpretation) of this verse. Hail is frozen rain or stones of frozen water. This ayah very clearly states that Allah sends down from the Heavens Mountains containing ice or comets of ice. According to this ayah, mountains of ice or comets of ice are sent down from the heavens (space) towards the earth. Until 1986 mankind did not know this phenomenon. In 1988 this phenomenon has been confirmed scientifically. 

Scientific Discovery 

The story of this startling scientific discovery and its confirmation by experimentation is worth mentioning here. Dr. Louis Frank a Physicist at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, studied the data gathered from 1981-1986 by Dynamic Explorer I satellite. The satellite took ultraviolet Images of the earth, particularly to study the air glow around the earth. In these images Dr.Louis Frank found holes punched through the atmosphere. These holes could not be explained. He discarded dozens of explanations after analyzing them. He finally concluded that snowballs or comets of Ice coming from space could only make the holes. He estimated the weight of each comet to be 100 tons and they are coated with black hydrocarbons. They are falling on the earth at the rate of 10 million a year (27,397 per day or 19 every minute.) 

The snowball or comet of ice measures about 30 feet across. Dr.Clayne Yeates, a Physicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California told this writer that the comets of ice or snowballs are moving at 10 kilometers per second (21,600 MPH) relative to the earth and at about 1000 km (600 miles) above the earth. They break up (into hail) due to tidal waves and would then flash to vapor in the atmosphere. Finally the vapor would fall as rain and joins the earth's water cycle. Dr. Louis Frank's calculations show this would contribute the equivalent of one Inch of water all over the earth's surface every 10,000 years. The earth was formed 4.9 billion years ago and if this has been happening since formation of the earth, the process would provide enough water for the oceans and the polar Ice packs. 

Experimental Proof 

Dr.Yeates used a powerful space search telescope at the Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona. Using this telescope he scanned the heavens for the snowballs or icy comets. By swinging the telescope, similar to a shotgun at a skeet shoot, he photographed the descending icy comets approaching each. He told this writer that viewing through this telescope he was able to see the icy comets 150,000-km (kilometers) or 90,000 miles above the earth (or the heavens). Dr.Yeates said. It was remarkable. The results agreed exactly with the predictions. 




Seeing a comet with the naked eye is a somewhat rare occurrence. On the average we get a naked-eye comet once every five or six years and this includes comets that become barely visible to the naked eye. Classic comets with long tails only appear about once every 10-12 years. The motion is very difficult to detect and comparing its place with naked-eye stars over several days is the only way to see it move. In general, comets are best observed with telescopes or binoculars.

    What are They?

Comets are primarily composed of ice and dust, causing some astronomers to refer to them as "dirty snowballs." They typically move through the solar system in orbits ranging from a few years to several hundred thousand years. Comets are not on fire. As they approach the sun, the sun's heat melts the comet's ices and releases dust particles, which are most evident as the comet's tail. Comets rarely come within a few million miles of Earth and, thus, have a slow apparent motion across our sky. Typical comets remain visible for periods of several weeks up to several months.



Meteors appear as fast-moving streaks of light in the night sky. They are frequently referred to as "falling stars" or "shooting stars." Most are white or blue-white in appearance, although other frequent colors are yellow, orange. The colors seem more related to the speed of the meteor rather than composition. Red meteors occasionally appear as very long streaks and are usually indicative of a meteor that is skimming the atmosphere. Green meteors are also occasionally seen and are usually very bright. The green color may be a result of ionized oxygen.

    What are They?

Meteoroids are the smallest particles orbiting the sun, and most are no larger than grains of sand. From years of studying the evolution of meteor streams, astronomers have concluded that comets produced clouds of meteoroids orbiting the sun. Meteoroids can not be observed moving through space because of their small size. Over the years numerous man-made satellites recovered by manned spacecraft have shown pits in their metal skins, which were caused by the impact of meteoroids.

Meteoroids become visible to observers on Earth when they enter Earth's atmosphere. They are then referred to as meteors. They become visible as a result of friction caused by air molecules slamming against the surface of the high-velocity particle. The friction typically causes meteors to glow blue or white, although other colors have been reported. Most meteors completely burn up in the atmosphere at altitudes of between 60 and 80 miles. They are rarely seen for periods of more than a few seconds.

Occasionally, a large meteor will not burn up completely as it moves through Earth's atmosphere. The subsequent pieces that fall to Earth's surface are known as meteorites.



Out of more than 10 thousand numbered asteroids, only Vesta has consistently been a naked-eye object if the observer has extremely dark skies and the asteroid is moving in relatively star-poor regions of the sky. The motion of asteroids is similar to that of comets in that the position must be plotted on a star chart over two or three days for motion to be detected.

    What are They?

Asteroids, or minor planets, have been described as "mountains in space." They are large rocks typically ranging from a few feet to several hundred miles across. The vast majority of asteroids move between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter in what is commonly called the "asteroid belt." They always appear starlike and their motion with respect to the stars is usually so slow that several hours may pass before any movement is noticed. Most asteroids within the asteroid belt never come closer than 100 million miles from Earth, but there are some asteroids which come close to and even cross Earth's orbit. These objects can occasionally pass within a few million miles of Earth, and even within the orbit of the moon, and then exhibit a rapid motion that is discernible after only a few minutes. Asteroids within the asteroid belt can be observed every year, while the ones passing especially close to Earth may only be visible for a few weeks or months.


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