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A Dusky Ring of Particles

It is the low velocity of escape of the smaller bodies of the solar system, such as the moon and satellites of the major planets, that has gradually stripped them of the atmosphere they may have originally owned; for the molecular velocities of atmospheric gases exceeded the velocity of escape of these small members of the solar system. Any object ejected from the earth with a velocity less than five miles a second would fall to its surface eventually. A series of objects ejected with velocities from five to seven miles per second returns to the same point after traveling in elliptical orbits of different sizes. The time of their return would depend upon the velocity of ejection. They would not fall to the surface of the earth but would continue to move around the earth in these orbits.

It is doubtful if any objects escaping from the earth's surface, and becoming satellites in this manner, would ever be of sufficient size to be seen. It is quite possible that the earth already possesses a great number of minute meteorites satellites revolving around it at various distances, and in periods of revolution ranging from a few hours to a number of days. They may be inside of, or if the period of revolution takes place a month, beyond the orbit of the moon. They could not exist within 100 miles of so the surface of the earth without being consumed by friction with its atmosphere. Meters typically flash forth to incandescence at heights of 60 or 70 miles, sometimes at significantly greater heights.

It is doubtful if any satellite of the earth of meteoric size could revolve continuously round the earth even within 200 miles of the surface. Any manmade satellite ejected from the earth with an initial velocity of five miles a second, so as to move close to the surface in a near circular orbit, would probably soon fall to the surface in the form of meteoric dust as a result of atmospheric resistance . If ejected to a distance of several thousand miles, with somewhat greater initial velocity, a small mass weighing a number of tons, and exceeding in size the largest meteorites that have fallen to the earth, may revolve around the earth indefinitely in an elliptical orbit.

It would, however, be more hopeless to look for it once it was launched on its career as a man-made satellite of the earth than for the proverbial needle in the haystack. It is quite possible that our planet has a small dusky ring of meteoric particles revolving around it in equatorial regions, where such small masses could revolve around the earth in reasonable numbers outside of its atmosphere without being observed.


Source by David Bunch

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