books about asteroids, comets and cosmic impacts – page one –
for a wide selection of books that challenge orthodox views of prehistory on our planet
and it’s catastrophic interactions with our ancient solar system environment
Below are a selection of books that will give you a background in understanding the growing appreciation that many ancient cultures have, periodically, been destroyed by impacts of asteroids, cometary debris and meteorite storms. Besides the ‘cosmic impact’ event of 65 million years ago which is now accepted as having caused the final demise of the dinosaurs, the focus of attention is increasingly on ‘narrowest-tree-ring’ events that have been discovered in the 7,500-year dendrochronology records. Narrow tree-rings indicate poor annual growth, and indicate abrupt climatic downturns at various epochs in the past several millennia of the history of our planet.
It is also becoming increasingly accepted that our upper atmosphere periodically becomes dust-loaded with minute particles of cometary debris when the orbit of the Earth passes through meteoroid streams along each comet’s orbital path. This can lower the Earth’s temperature, cutting out sunlight and undermining agricultural civilisations. One of these ‘narrowest-ring’ events occurred around the 2350 BC period, when many Bronze Age societies around the world collapsed simultaneously, and recent research (August 2001) indicates that this date corresponds to the date of the‘fall’ of Jerico.
Another date that is causing a lot of interest is the period around AD 536 – 545, at the start of the times we refer to as the European Dark Age. Are the legends of the Arthurian ‘wastelands’, and of the ‘yellow pestilence’ that devasted King Arthur’s homeland in South-East Wales at this same time in history, connected to the environmental downturn which is evident in the tree-ring records from places as far apart as Scandinavia, North America and Ireland? If so, when can we expect to endure similar episodes of dust-loading and bombardments of cometary debris in the future?
You can keep up with current developments via links on our Spaceguard
page, and access many calendars which give details of meteorite storms on a monthly basis to help plan your skywatching sessions ahead of events. To us, the ‘shooting-stars’ we see during meteor storms seem like benign light-shows. But ancient peoples seem to have known otherwise …
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“Could a giant asteroid or comet crash into the Earth and destroy life as we know it? Many astronomers who formerly discredited the risks are now convinced there is a grave danger. In Rogue Asteroids and Doomsday Comets, astronomer Duncan Steel explores the scientists’ fascinating and often chilling findings. Director of one of three global asteroid and comet search programs, Steel is one of the world’s leading experts. He tells the intriguing story of the scientific detection work that pieced together mounting evidence to uncover a stunning history of impacts. Massive comet and asteroid impacts scarred our planet frequently in the past – a comet was almost surely responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs.”
“Exodus to Arthur: Catastrophic Encounters with Comets”
“Based on the scientific analysis of tree rings, this text argues that the Earth has undergone several catastrophic encounters with comets and their debris in the last five millennia, with mythology preserving the story better than history. It reveals extraterrestrial bombardment events. This intriguing challenge to traditional views of history, provides explanations for many of the myths and legends that continue to haunt humankind. In particular, it argues that, in the last five millennia, the Earth has undergone several catastrophic encounters with comets and their debris–and that mythology has preserved these events better than so-called “factual” records.”
“This groundbreaking volume explores evidence indicating that life on Earth began with the arrival of comets four billion years ago. It also theorizes that life on Earth is not unique, as the general scientific community tends to believe, and postulates that all living matter derives from the cosmic matter that make up comets that were formed in the early days of our galaxy. Also discussed are the numerous ways comets could bring an end to life, such as by introducing bacteria and viruses that cause epidemics, or by creating a new ice age from comet dust shrouding the planet from the sun.”
“Collision Earth!: The Threat from Outer Space: Meteorite and Comet Impacts”byPeter Grego & Peter Greco
“A fresh entry in the recent crop of books on comet/meteor impacts with earth, this time by a British astronomer. Nowadays, the selling point of any book on comets and meteors is the probability of a collision with one, ending in the destruction of civilization. As the title indicates, Grego’s publisher clearly wants to emphasize the book’s comments on that topic. There are clear accounts of known meteor impact events and of the craters left by prehistoric events; there is even a brief discussion of people known to have been killed or injured by such impacts (surprisingly few, with several tons of meteoric material entering the earth’s atmosphere every day). “
“Cosmic Pinball: The Science of Comets, Meteors and Asteroids”
by Carolyn Sumners, Carl Allen, Caroline Shoemaker (Foreword)
“Go beyond the hype–the real story of the science behind the “rocks” from space. Based on the latest scientific research, Cosmic Pinball details what is happening right here in our planetary neighborhood. It pieces together the story of “rogue rocks”–from the benevolent Lenoid meteor showers, to Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9’s powerful impact on Jupiter, to the KT Event asteroid that is currently credited with wiping out the dinosaurs. Going beyond millennial hype, Cosmic Pinball provides a unique framework tying together both history and today’s research–to present a sound overview of the science of comets, meteors, and asteroids.”
“Comets, Asteroids and Meteorites (Starting with Space)“
by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson, Bill Slavin (Illustrator)
“‘Comet and Asteroid Impact Hazards’ explores the anticipated consequences of comet and asteroid impact. It presents the first computer simulations of the hazards of comet and asteroid bombardment of a populated Earth. Previous estimates of fatality and damage rates on the 100 to 10,000 year time scale are shown to be too low because they neglect rare, highly lethal outriders of the populations of bombarding objects, those with exceptional strength, unusually low entry velocity, and near-horizontal entry angles. This is the first realistic assessment of both the mean casualty rate and the expected statistical fluctuations in that rate. This book is written so that anyone with college level experience in the physical sciences can understand it. It includes a disk that allows the reader to simulate impact catastrophes.
“Rain of Iron and Ice: Very Real Threat of Comet and Asteroid Bombardment” byJohn S. Lewis
“‘Rain of Iron and Ice’ shows us the unmistakable evidence-from space-probe flybys of the planets to the scars on our own Earth-of cataclysmic comet and asteroid impacts. By comparing what we know about the earth’s geology and paleontology with the ages of the other planets and moons in our solar system, Lewis makes the strongest case yet of the sudden, dramatic extinction’s and assesses the risks to planet Earth.”
“Martian Fossils on Earth?: The Story of Meteorite Alh 84001”
“The cover looks like the trailer for a vintage sf movie of the 1950s (a connection the target audience may not make), but this isn’t fiction. It’s solid science and intriguing scientific speculation. Crisscrossing geology, chemistry, and astronomy, Bortz delves into the hoopla and controversy surrounding the meteorite ALH 84001, which has yielded evidence suggesting the possibility that life once existed on Mars. He begins with the rock’s discovery in Antarctica and goes on to describe the scientific methods used to unlock its secrets and the impact of the discovery on the scientific community. A helpful glossary is included, though Bortz has done a wonderful job of explaining terms and concepts as he goes along.”
“Grade 4-6-As scientists have recently discovered, it is not always necessary to send probes out into space to learn more about the solar system. Sometimes parts of the solar system come to us, with effects that range from pretty streaks in the night sky to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Though most meteorites have a cometary origin, in Asteroids, Bonar discusses the rocky debris that has taken up closer residence-not just between Mars and Jupiter but all over the inner system-debris that intersects Earth’s orbit often enough to engender an international search and mapping effort. Profusely illustrated with color photos, attended by captions specifying computer manipulations and enhancements, and end with lists of books and Web sites.”