Talk:Fred Lawrence Whipple

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Untitled[edit]

Do somebody know where Fred Whipple is born??? Quelqu'un sait-il est né Fred Whipple??? ¿¿¿Alguien conoce el lugar de nacimiento de Fred Whipple???

Read the text: Red Oak, Iowa Awolf002 00:12, 10 October 2005 (UTC)

From 'confimed' to 'widely disputed'[edit]

I would like to see a reference to support this recent change. As far as I know comets still contain ice, do they not? Awolf002 20:05, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

It's right on the comets page under "Debate over comet composition". I can cite other sources if necessary. ottojack 21:02, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

You are misreading that article. It only dicusses that there is no large amount of surface ice. The researcher cited still insists there is ice inside the comet, and so he subscribes to the "icy conglomerate" model. Please, give other sources to support this change. Awolf002 22:30, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Researching suitable sources. Will provide. ottojack 22:40, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Okay, in the meantime I will put a disputed tag on the article. Awolf002 22:45, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

Thank you. ottojack 23:07, 14 February 2006 (UTC)
Start with this one: The dust-to-water mass ratio was much larger than 1.
These fine gentlemen make an eloquent case for the Electric Comet Model which is a direct refutation of Whipple. ottojack 00:07, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I think you are assuming that if there are any "dissenting" voices regarding the "icy conglomerate" theory than there must be a "dispute," and so you should write now widely disputed "dirty snowball" theory. This is not correct. The theory in question is AFAIK the main model of comets in mainstream science and as such published many times in research papers (see your first reference). The ratio of water to dust has to be zero to invalidate this, I think, so that second paper also does not dispute the theory. Note most importantly, that the authors do not make such a claim! The last paper is from a non-mainstream source, which is not suggesting the adjective "widely" at all. So, for now I can not see any support for your change according to WP:V and WP:RS. I will change back to the original, but keep the "disputed tag" to give you a chance (for a limited period) to come up with a source showing "wide dispute" of the theory in mainstream science. Awolf002 00:38, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Propose we remove the words "now-confirmed" from the first sentence as a compromise. That theory is as yet not fully confirmed. This will probably be the case until the Rosetta mission is completed successfully. The last paper liberally refers to "mainstream" sources. Also, if it's "now-confirmed" why is it still referred to as a theory? ottojack 01:43, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Please, do not make the mistake of assuming a scientific concept called a theory is "just a theory". The prediction of the theory we are discussing is that comets are made from "icy bits," and based on the reports on observations from the ground and from spacecraft that "theory" still holds up great. So, I think this word should stay. Awolf002 02:11, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Icy bits? Is that a technical term? LOL I never used the word "just" in regards to a "theory", so please don't put words in my mouth. Whipple put forth that comet were composed of primarily water ice. Instead, I vigorously re-assert that this theory is not "now-confirmed" and therefore that particular wording is inappropriate. The "dirty snowball" theory, as proposed in 1950, is already subsequently disproven by the results of the Deep Impact probe. The words "icy dirtball" are now being used to portray discoveries within the last several years about comets. That is absolutely not the same thing as a "dirty snowball" I am easily able to search engine sources that are reporting the DI results prove that ice is not the primary material in comets. Indications are that they typically have a solid rocky core covered in lots of dust and some ice. A snowball would not have had the energetic reaction of Shoemaker-Levy9 evidenced when hitting Jupiter, after breaking apart. Sublimation of water ice does not explain cometary comas forming outside the orbit of Jupiter such as Hale-Bopp evidenced. There is not enough solar radiation at that distance to turn ice directly into a gas. The Rosetta Probe will land a probe on the surface of a comet in a few years, and seems to have the equipment to generate more empirical evidence. Also, I have yet to find press releases that interpret all the spectroscopic evidence from the Deep Impact aftermath. Until then, I urge you to reconsider my compromise. ottojack 02:43, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

cite cite cite ottojack 03:03, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Here is the quote from the original paper written by Whipple (p 376 of part I):

I propose that these primitive gases constitute an important, if not predominant, fraction of mass of a "new" or undisintegrated comet

Also, he defines as "primitive gases" (see abstract of part I):

... such as H2O, NH3, CH4, CO2 or CO, and other possible materials volatile at room temperature, combined in a conglomerate with meteoric materials, ...

Although the word "predominant" is definitely challenged by the reports you are describing, there is no sign that these "ices" are not important. I think his proposed theory of the composition of comets is still well founded and widely accepted by astronomers. Awolf002 12:56, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

This discussion is not over, just because the word "now-confirmed" is not currently in this article. Any more things to add? Awolf002 20:42, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

You're very good. I am having to dig deep for this excellent debate. I submit this as evidence that water is not that 'important' on comets. The power unleashed when Comet Shoemaker Levy 9 collided with Jupiter indicates a more rocky mass, not a snowball. ottojack 22:50, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

SL9 BDGLNQ12R hst19.jpg

Alright, what would you say if we changed this:

He is best known for writing an influential paper in Astrophysical Journal in 1950, in which he proposed the "dirty snowball" theory of comet composition (although he originally used the term "icy conglomerate").

To this

He is best known for writing an influential paper in Astrophysical Journal in 1950, in which he proposed the "icy conglomerate" theory of comet composition (later called the "dirty snowball" theory). The basic features of this theory were later confirmed, however the exact amount (and thus the importance) of ices in a comet is an active field of research, with most of the recently obtained data pointing to a low contribution of ices to a comet's mass (dubbed the "icy dirtball" theory).

What do you think? Awolf002 23:54, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I really like it. If the Mods see this we are going to get a cookie for a pro-active and polite dispute resolution. It was fun debating you. You made me do a lot of research to back up my points. :) ottojack 00:40, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

I found things like this during my travails [First Spectra from Deep Impact's Infrared Spectrometer] which may be of interest to you. ottojack 00:48, 17 February 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your hard work in researching this! I think we found a good NPOV solution. As you say, we may have a cookie this evening :-) Awolf002 14:46, 17 February 2006 (UTC)