Chapter 3: About our Sun-Mars binary system
Above: a screenshot from the Tychosium 3D simulator (www.ts.tychos.space) (opens in a new tab)
The first objection people will have to the idea that Mars is the Sun's binary companion usually goes like this: "Nonsense! Mars isn't even considered to be a star - but a planet!" Yes, today's astronomers do indeed refer to Mars as a 'planet' (even though, as we shall see, Kepler himself called Mars a 'star', i.e. "STELLAE MARTIS" in Latin). In any case, the distinction between a "planet" and a "star" is not as clear-cut as it may seem. Many of the latter don't even appear to shine with their own light: for instance, countless red and brown dwarfs are so dim that they remain completely invisible even to our largest telescopes. In fact, red dwarfs are the most common 'stars' in our skies:
"Red dwarfs are by far the most common type of star in the Milky Way, at least in the neighborhood of the Sun, but because of their low luminosity, individual red dwarfs cannot be easily observed. From Earth, not one star that fits the stricter definitions of a red dwarf is visible to the naked eye." — Red dwarf (Wikipedia) (opens in a new tab)
Now, no one can deny that Mars is the only reddish-orange body in our Solar System - even though our naked eyes see Mars shining much like a star as it reflects sunlight. Yet, as any amateur astronomer will know, Mars is a reddish-orange sphere (unlike any of the other planets in our Solar System).
You may now ask:"how do we even know about the existence of invisible 'dwarf stars'?" (i.e. those invisible even to our largest telescopes). We know this thanks to sophisticated apparels called spectroscopes which are routinely used to detect invisible companions of larger stars. The below book extract (by Cecil G. Dolmage) succintly describes the basic workings of the spectroscope:
"There are certain stars which always appear single even in the largest telescopes, but when the spectroscope is directed to them a spectrum with two sets of lines is seen. Such stars must, therefore, be double. Further, if the shiftings of the lines, in a spectrum like this, tell us that the component stars are making small movements to and from us which go on continuously, we are therefore justified in concluding that these are the orbital revolutions of a binary system greatly compressed by distance. Such connected pairs of stars, since they cannot be seen separately by means of any telescope, no matter how large, are known as "spectroscopic binaries."
However, it should be noted that even spectroscopes will fail to determine whether star companions detected in such manner shine with their own light:
"In observations of spectroscopic binaries we do not always get a double spectrum. Indeed, if one of the components be below a certain magnitude, its spectrum will not appear at all; and so we are left in the strange uncertainty as to whether this component is merely faint or actually dark. It is, however, from the shiftings of the lines in the spectrum of the other component that we see that an orbital movement is going on, and are thus enabled to conclude that two bodies are here connected into a system, although one of these bodies resolutely refuses directly to reveal itself even to the all-conquering spectroscope." -"Astronomy of To-day - A Popular Introduction in Non-Technical Language" - by Cecil G. Dolmage (1908) (opens in a new tab)
Today, we know that the vast majority of our visible stars have one (or more) faint or invisible companions - and astronomers are incessantly discovering new binary systems at an ever-increasing rate. Surely, this has to be the most significant, paradigm-changing astronomical epiphany of our modern age? One can only wonder why such persistent findings haven’t yet sparked a major debate questioning the 'implicit exceptionalism' of the Copernican heliocentric theory - what with its unique, companionless 'non-binary' star (the Sun) and its gigantic 240-million-year orbit!
Having said that, there does appear to be some growing realization (within select astronomy circles) concerning the improbable notion that the Sun would be such an exceptional, solitary star. Here's, for instance, a short extract from a recent article published at the Science Alert website (November 2018):
“Our Sun is a solitary star, all on its ownsome, which makes it something of an oddball. But there’s evidence to suggest that it did have a binary twin, once upon a time. Recent research suggests that most, if not all, stars are born with a binary twin. (We already knew the Solar System is a total weirdo. The placement of the planets appears out of whack compared to other systems, and it’s missing the most common planet in the galaxy, the super-Earth.)" -Science Alert (Nov 20, 2018) (opens in a new tab)
Another article published in June 2017 at the PhysOrg website carries this most interesting title: "New evidence that all stars are born in pairs".
"Astronomers have speculated about the origins of binary and multiple star systems for hundreds of years, and in recent years have created computer simulations of collapsing masses of gas to understand how they condense under gravity into stars. They have also simulated the interaction of many young stars recently freed from their gas clouds. Several years ago, one such computer simulation by Pavel Kroupa of the University of Bonn led him to conclude that all stars are born as binaries.(...) We now believe that most stars, which are quite similar to our own sun, form as binaries. I think we have the strongest evidence to date for such an assertion." -"New evidence that all stars are born in pairs" (June 14, 2017) (opens in a new tab)
Interesting, isn’t it? If all stars are born in pairs, how and why did our Sun separate from its original companion? Did our Sun get a divorce on the grounds of its partner’s infidelity? Was it a consensual separation? Or did they part ways due to assorted cosmic 'turbulences and perturbations' that somehow ruined their primordial, magnetic relationship? Oh, well, it happens all the time between human beings, doesn’t it? Jokes aside, if it were eventually found that all the stars in our universe have a binary companion, this would have profound implications for the entire realm of astrophysics - and this isn't just my personal opinion: it was none other than Jacobus Kapteyn (the world's foremost expert in stellar statistics) who famously stated at the end of his illustrious career that...
“If all stars were binaries there would be no need to invoke ‘dark matter’ in the Universe.”
We just saw that, according to modern astronomy studies, that all stars are now reckoned to be born in pairs; further on (in Chapter 28), we shall see that a most recent discovery (September 2022) has determined that stars also "die in pairs"! As previously mentioned, the evidence that 100% of the stars may be binary is mounting day by day, yet our Sun is still steadfastly claimed to be a 'single star' or - if you will - a poor, lonesome bachelor...
We have all heard of “dark matter” - but what exactly is it meant to be? Apparently, it is some elusive and invisible (i.e. entirely postulated) “stuff” that our modern astrophysicists are desperately attempting to detect in our Universe (yet, so far, with no luck). They currently contend that about 80% of our universe is made of “dark" (or "missing") matter because the observed, highly scattered distributions (and erroneously-estimated orbital speeds) of our universe’s celestial bodies and galaxies appear to violate both Kepler’s and Newton’s hallowed laws (as well as the infamous “Big Bang” theory). Here's an extract from a Wikipedia page titled 'Galaxy rotation curve' (my bolds):
“Since observations of galaxy rotation do not match the distribution expected from application of Kepler's laws, they do not match the distribution of luminous matter. This implies that spiral galaxies contain large amounts of dark matter or, in alternative, the existence of exotic physics in action on galactic scales. These results suggested that either Newtonian gravity does not apply universally or that, conservatively, upwards of 50% of the mass of galaxies was contained in the relatively dark galactic halo.”
Evidently, both Kepler's and Newton's sacrosanct laws (on which modern astrophysics rely upon) have some serious problems nowadays. Yet, the world's scientific community doesn't seem to worry too much about it. Let's now take a brief look at what is popularly known as "black holes".
The above title is the actual headline of an article published at Science News.org in April 2022. That's right: according to this quite recent discovery, binary stars keep 'masquerading' as black holes! In other words, what astrophysicists have been calling "black holes" during these last decades may just be illusory artifacts caused by (formerly unsuspected and still undetected) binary star systems!
Here's an extract from this fascinating article published at Science News.org - on April 4, 2022:
"As astronomy datasets grow larger, scientists are scouring them for black holes, hoping to better understand the exotic objects. But the drive to find more black holes is leading some astronomers astray. “You say black holes are like a needle in a haystack, but suddenly we have way more haystacks than we did before,” says astrophysicist Kareem El-Badry of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. “You have better chances of finding them, but you also have more opportunities to find things that look like them.” Two more claimed black holes have turned out to be the latter: weird things that look like them. They both are actually double-star systems at never-before-seen stages in their evolutions, El-Badry and his colleagues report March 24 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. The key to understanding the systems is figuring out how to interpret light coming from them, the researchers say." SCIENCE NEWS, April 2022 - "Binary stars keep masquerading as black holes" (opens in a new tab)
Hmm... so two recently-discovered "black holes" turned out to be "double-star systems at never-before-seen stages in their evolutions"!... That article is pure dynamite, if you ask me, and is well worth reading in its entirety - but let me submit another excerpt of it:
“The problem was that there was not just one star, but a second one that was basically hiding,” says astrophysicist Julia Bodensteiner of the European Southern Observatory in Garching, Germany, who was not involved in the new study. That second star in each system spins very fast, which makes them difficult to see in the spectra. What’s more, the lines in the spectrum of a star orbiting something will shift back and forth, El-Badry says. If one assumes the spectrum shows just one average, slow-spinning star in an orbit - which is what appeared to be happening in these systems at first glance - that assumption then leads to the erroneous conclusion that the star is orbiting an invisible black hole."
Amazing, isn't it? So, in short, "black holes" may merely be illusions created by double / binary star systems - one star of which would spin so fast as to be invisible in the spectra! Since this astonishing discovery was made as recently as early 2022, we may perhaps expect - sooner or later - a major revolution in the field of astrophysics: could perhaps all "black holes" be illusory? Let's now read the final lines of that Science News article:
“Everyone was looking for really interesting black holes, but what they found is really interesting binaries,” Bodensteiner says. These are not the only systems to trick astronomers recently. What was thought to be the nearest black hole to Earth also turned out to be pair of stars in a rarely seen stage of evolution. Of course, it’s disappointing that what we thought were black holes were actually not, but it’s part of the process,” Jayasinghe says. He and his colleagues are still looking for black holes, he says, but with a greater awareness of how pairs of interacting stars might trick them."
In conclusion, it would appear that "dark matter" and "black holes" may just be mere figments of imagination engendered by our poor understanding of binary systems - and the 'optical tricks' generated by their various interactions.
To see how the basic configuration of a Sun-Mars binary system would look like, let us begin with a classic binary star system - as illustrated in the astronomy literature:
Notice that, if we substitute the above “high mass star” and “low mass star” with the SUN and MARS respectively (as I have done in the below adaptation) we obtain a neatly-balanced binary system that incorporates the two moons of the Sun (Mercury and Venus) and the two moons of Mars (Phobos and Deimos). In addition, please separately observe the additional “plot twist” of paramount interest to the TYCHOS model:
In the TYCHOS, Earth is positioned near (or at) the center of mass of the Sun-Mars binary system.
We can see just how harmonious such a binary system would be: Earth embraced by the Sun-Mars binary duo, each of the two binary companions hosting a pair of lunar satellites. You may now rightly ask yourselves: "why has no one noticed this until now?" A possible reason for why the Sun and Mars have never been considered to be a binary pair may be due to the fact that Mars returns "in opposition" (i.e. on the other side of Earth with respect to the Sun) every TWO solar years - instead of every SINGLE solar year (as we might expect a 'classic' binary system to behave). This 2:1 ratio is however not so evident over shorter periods of time (it is estimated to be around 2.13:1) - due to the eccentricity of Mars's orbit. As we shall see further on, this ratio will - in the long run - "average out" to an exact 2:1 ratio: the Sun will return in the exact same place in our skies in 25344 years - whereas Mars will do so in 50688 years (i.e. 25344 X 2).
You may now wonder: "why Mars? Why wouldn't Jupiter, for instance, be the Sun's binary companion - since it's the largest planet in our system? This is when you will have to ask yourself the following questions: Isn’t Jupiter supposed to be a “gas planet”? And isn’t Mars, on the other hand, supposed to be mostly composed of iron and rock? Has anyone ever put Mars and Jupiter on a bathroom scale and compared their weights? Of course not. Now, I trust we can all agree that the density (and hence, relative weight) of iron and rock are several orders of magnitude greater than that of any known gas existing in nature.
Furthermore, aren’t we told that the Sun itself is mostly composed of hydrogen (70%), helium (28%) plus a negligible 2% of other, denser elements? In this light, how difficult would it be to imagine that Mars might, perhaps, have a similar mass to the Sun (in spite of their “David-and-Goliath” difference in diameter) and would thus nicely accommodate Newton’s sacrosanct gravitational laws? This said, my research for the Tychos model has - ever since day one - “left Newtonian and Einsteinian physics at the door”, so to speak; it has focused instead on the all-important (empirically testable, repeatable and verifiable)** observational data** gathered over the centuries by our world’s most rigorous observational astronomers. To wit, one cannot possibly formulate any physical / or astrophysical theorems about our Solar System - without having first correctly determined its geometric configuration: this would be tantamount to putting the proverbial cart in front of the horse.
Mars is the only body of our Solar System that can transit on both sides of Earth (in relation to the Sun) and whose farthest-to-closest transits from Earth exhibit a whopping 7:1 ratio (with a mean apogee of 400 million km and a mean perigee of 56.6 million km). This is a strong indication that Mars - and no other body in our Solar System - is the Sun’s binary companion. The below screenshot from the Tychosium 3D simulator should make this clear:
As we shall see in the following chapters, there are innumerable reasons to conclude that Mars - and no other body of our system - is the Sun's 'special' binary companion. Perhaps the best evidence we have that Mars is indeed unique among the components of our system is the fact that Kepler formulated his entire set of “laws” exclusively around the motions of Mars. As astronomy historians have thoroughly documented, Kepler, who was recruited by Brahe for the sole purpose of resolving the “incomprehensible behavior” of Mars, spent over half a decade in what he called his “War on Mars”, obsessively trying to solve the befuddling Martian riddle. Mars was truly the N°1 problem posed by Tycho Brahe's exceptionally accurate observational tables.
As for why the Sun would most likely have a companion, these 6 points listed by Gene Ognibene (in 2018) are well worth the read:
In the TYCHOS model, Mercury and Venus are the Sun’s two moons. Similarly, Mars also has two lesser-known (tidally-locked) moons: the martian moons, Phobos and Deimos, were only discovered as recently as 1877 by Asaph Hall (meaning that Tycho Brahe, Newton or Kepler never observed them).
A closer look at the moons of Mars brings up some interesting interrelationships with their bigger sisters Mercury and Venus. Under the Copernican model (where Mars is just another planet orbiting around the Sun) there would be no conceivable motive for these four celestial bodies to exhibit any sort of 'sympathy' with each other. In the TYCHOS model, on the other hand, this is just one of many 'harmonious resonances' that seem to pervade our Solar System - as will be thoroughly expounded further on.
Consider these comparative facts about the moons of the Sun (Mercury and Venus) and the moons of Mars (Phobos and Deimos).
Mercury’s diameter is 2.5X smaller than Venus’ diameter.
Phobos’ orbital diameter is 2.5X smaller than Deimos’ orbital diameter.
Deimos’ diameter is 1.8X smaller than Phobos’ diameter.
Mercury’s orbital diameter is 1.8X smaller than Venus’ orbital diameter.
Curious, isn't it? To my knowledge, you won't find any mention of these remarkable 'reciprocities' in astronomy literature. Furthermore:
Each year, Mercury revolves ca. 3.13 times around the Sun; whereas each day, Phobos revolves 3.13 times around Mars. As a way of comparison, think of the Sun that revolves once every year around Earth, whereas Earth rotates once every day around its axis. This may sound like a bizarre comparison (between a revolutional period and a rotational period), unless you know that our Moon revolves around Earth in the same time as the Sun rotates around its axis (approx 27.3 days - the so-called "Carrington number"). Moreover, Mercury's synodic period (116.88 days) is 5X shorter than Venus' synodic period (584.4 days), while Phobos orbits Mars near-precisely 4X faster than Deimos.
All this appears to indicate some sort of 'kinship' between these two pairs of moons (of the Sun & Mars) which, under the Copernican model, would have to be attributed to some sort of random, “accidental happenstance”. Conversely, under the TYCHOS model, all these orbital resonances can be interpreted as a natural consequence of Mercury and Venus & Phobos and Deimos being, respectively, the moons of the Sun and the moons of Mars.
You might now justly ask yourself: “Why are Mercury and Venus the only ‘planets’ of our solar system with no moons of their own?”
As a matter of fact, this is one of astronomy’s longstanding (and still unsolved) mysteries. The truth of the matter is: no one actually knows why Venus and Mercury are “moonless” - and no compelling theses on this vexing subject have been forthcoming to this day! Here are, for instance, NASA’s (timid and tentative) explanations of this major cosmic enigma.
“Most likely because they are too close to the Sun. Any moon with too great a distance from these planets would be in an unstable orbit and be captured by the Sun. If they were too close to these planets they would be destroyed by tidal gravitational forces. The zones where moons around these planets could be stable over billions of years is probably so narrow that no body was ever captured into orbit, or created in situ when the planets were first being accreted.” — "Why don’t Mercury and Venus have moons?" - by NASA for Imager for Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (opens in a new tab)
Here’s another (perhaps more intellectually honest) quote from another nasa.gov website:
“Why Venus doesn’t have a moon is a mystery for scientists to solve.” "How many moons?" - by Kristen Erickson for NASA Space Place (2017) (opens in a new tab)
As it is, the TYCHOS model has a short answer to this “mystery”: Venus and Mercury have no moons due to the simple fact that they are moons. Moreover, they are the two moons of the Sun much like Mars, its binary companion, also has two moons. In fact, the notion that Venus and Mercury are moons (rather than planets) can be deduced and backed up in multiple ways. What follows should make it glaringly obvious that Mercury and Venus are moons - rather than planets.
Mercury employs 58.44 days to rotate around its axis source: "MERCURY" - University of Arizona Press (opens in a new tab) Mercury revolves around the Sun in 87.66 days. For every two of its solar revolutions (175.32 days), it thus rotates precisely three times around its axis (175.32 / 58.44 = 3).
Venus employs 116.88 days to rotate around its axis - exactly twice as long as Mercury (58.44 X 2 = 116.88). As Venus returns to perigee (closest to Earth) every 584.4 days (i.e. every 10 mercurial rotations), it always shows the same face to earthly observers - another fact which is still today considered as a 'mystery' by modern astronomers! During this period, Venus rotates precisely five times around its own axis (584.4 / 116.88 = 5) - as stated in Isaac Asimov's "Book of Physics" (quote translated from Italian):
"Between one approach to the minimum distance from the Earth and the next, Venus makes exactly five rotations on its axis, so it always shows us the same face when it is at its closest position to us."source: "IL LIBRO DI FISICA" - by Isaac Asimov (opens in a new tab)
Continuing the series of 'curious' facts that astronomers are still befuddled about, here's what we can read at Science Jrank.org :
"A curious relationship exists between the length of the Venusian day and the planet's synodic period. The synodic period of Venus, that is, the time for the planet to repeat the same alignment with respect to Earth and Sun, is 584 days, and this is five times the Venusian day (584 = 5 × 116.8). It is not known if this result is just a coincidence, or the action of some subtle orbital interaction. The practical consequence of the relationship is that, should a terrestrial observer make two observations of Venus that are 584 days apart, then they will "see" the same side of the planet turned towards Earth." "The Rotation Rate Of Venus" - Science JRank (opens in a new tab)
Needless to say, since the Earth-Moon system is believed to revolve around the Sun - and thus, around Venus and Mercury (whereas, in the TYCHOS, the three moons all revolve around the Earth), most current / official reckonings of the rotational rates of Venus and Mercury are in error. Let us now compute the respective rotational speeds (around their axes) of our Moon, Venus and Mercury:
The Moon rotates around its axis in 27.322 days (or 655.73 hours). The Moon's circumference is 10920.8 km. Hence, a distance of 10920.8 km covered in 655.73 hours computes to a (equatorial) rotational speed of 10920.8 km / 655.73 hours ≈ 16.65 km/h (or about 100 times slower than the Earth's equatorial rotational speed of 1674 km/h).
Venus rotates around its axis in 116.88 days (or 2805.12 hours). Venus’ circumference is 38024.5 km. Hence, a distance of 38024.5 km covered in 2805.12 hours computes to a (equatorial) rotational speed of: 38024.5 km / 2805.12 hours ≈ 13.56 km/h (or about 18.6% slower than our Moon).
Mercury rotates around its axis in 58.44 days (or 1402.56 hours). Mercury’s circumference is 15329 km. Hence, a distance of 15329 km covered in 1402.56 hours computes to a (equatorial) rotational speed of: 15329 km / 1402.56 hours ≈ 10.93 km/h (or about 19.4% slower than Venus).
These are all, of course, exceptionally slow rotational speeds - as compared to all the other bodies in our Solar System: in fact, they are all in the rotational speed range of a children’s merry-go-round! You may now ask yourselves: “Are any other celestial bodies in our system reckoned to have such extremely slow rotational speeds as our Moon, Mercury or Venus?” The answer is no: for instance, Jupiter rotates around its axis at a brisk 43000 km/h - and Saturn at about 35000 km/h. These are, of course, hypersonic speeds completely unlike the sluggish lunar rotational speeds. And what about Mars's axial rotational rate? Well, we shall see about that later (at the end of Chapter 20), as Mars’s axial spin turns out to be synchronous with the Earth’s axial rotation (i.e. just about 24 hours).
DEFINITION OF A "MOON" (or "lunar body")
In view of all the above considerations, we may thus formulate a set of peculiar properties which distinguish a 'moon' from a 'planet':
- No moons have satellites of their own, since they are moons themselves.
- Moons rotate exceptionally slowly around their own axes – compared with all other celestial bodies.
- Moons always show the same face to their host star or planet (in astronomy jargon, they are 'tidally locked').
In the next chapter, I will illustrate the basic configuration of the TYCHOS model - and introduce you to the interactive TYCHOSIUM 3D simulator. Although it may seem somewhat premature to unveil it at this early stage of the book, I believe it is necessary in order for the reader to get a general overview of the TYCHOS' geometric configuration before tackling the successive chapters.