TNRTB Archive – Retained for reference information
New measurements in a special class of comets by an American astronomer provide another test for competing creation models. Young-earth creationist organizations have published claims that the current existence of short-period comets stands as proof that the solar system cannot be more than several thousand years old. The astronomer conducted the first-ever systematic measurements on a class of comets known as the Damocloids. The Damocloids are comets of the Halley-type family, for which there is no evidence of outgassing—a sign that their gas reservoirs have been exhausted. The researcher determined that whereas the surfaces of comets (e.g., Kuiper Belt objects) that never get close to the Sun possess ultrared matter, all the Damocloids lack such matter. He concluded that since the Damocloids do reach temperatures sufficient to cause water sublimation, the lack of ultrared matter results from repeated episodes of outgassing. The time necessary to explain such complete outgassing far exceeds the maximum time frame of the young-earth creationist model. Thus, the existence of the Damocloids confirms an important prediction of the old-earth creationist model while refuting the corresponding young-earth creationist prediction.
- David Jewitt, “A First Look at the Damocloids,” Astronomical Journal 129 (2005): 530-38.
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