> An up-to-date review of comets has been written by the creationist
> astronomer Dr Danny Faulkner, Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal
> 11(3):264-273, 1997. Danny sets out the status quo on the issue of the
> comets and is still convinced that the short-period comets are a
> powerful argument for a young Solar System and a young Earth. He deals
> in far more detail with the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud than does Morton,
> and he is a qualified astronomer which Morton isn't."
The fallacy in the argument that an old solar system wouldn't have
short-period comets lies in the assumption that the short-period comets
have always been short-period comets.
By elementary physics it is easy to see that if a comet passes
sufficiently close to a planet, its orbit (hence also its period) will be
noticeably changed. An elementary astronomy text will tell us that, in
contrast to the long-period comets, the planes of the orbits of the
short-period comets usually are only slightly inclined to the planes of
the orbits of the planets, and most of these comets orbit in the same
direction as the planets. This is just what one would expect if they were
former long-period comets that had been `captured' when they passed too
close to a planet.
Department of Mathematics
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0395