Comets of Ice
Dr. Ibrahim B. Syed
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
Consider the following Qur'anic
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
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
'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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.