In 1883, the eruption of Indonesian volcano Krakatoa — one of the strongest in the history of mankind. But then no one has connected a natural disaster with the cosmos. Meanwhile, recently a group of astrophysicists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico came to the conclusion that if the Earth narrowly escaped a collision with a giant comet. In August of that fateful 1883 astronomer José Bonilla, a Mexican, too, during the observation of the sky drew attention to the strange and veterenoobraznye cigar-shaped objects that are at a high speed crossing the solar disk. Bonilla counted some 450 objects, and each of them lasted a noticeable tail. Somehow, no one of his colleagues Bonilla, this phenomenon has not fixed.In 1886, scientists published in the magazine L `Astronomie article on the subject, accompanied by her photographs, but was unable to explain the phenomenon of what he saw. The magazine's editor gave comments on the article, which suggested that the mysterious objects might be birds, insects or dust particles adhering to the lens telescope. Later, there are other versions, one of which was associated with the passage of a whole squadron of UFOs.Not long ago, fellow Bonilla led by Guadalupe Cordero conducted a new analysis of pictures taken astronomer in the late XIX century. And they came to an unexpected conclusion: Bonilla observed in his telescope nothing like shards falling apart large comets!But why is not noticed by other astronomers? Cordero and his colleagues believe that to blame the so-called parallax: the fragments of Comet could fly so close to Earth that they can be seen only with a very limited part of the earth's surface. In the area just got a Mexican state of Zacatecas, where the observatory was located Jose Bonilla. At the same latitude are the Sahara, northern India and south-east Asia, where in the late nineteenth century, almost not conducted astronomical observations. In other places of the comet debris or covered surface of the planet itself, or they go unnoticed by the bright daytime sky.According to the researchers, the distance between the Earth and the comet fragments ranged from 540 to 8,000 kilometers, which, in space standards, very little. The width of the fragments, according to scientists, was 50-1000 meters in diameter, which means that the diameter of the comet could be tens of kilometers, while it would weigh billions of tons.Since Bonilla was watching only 3.5 hours for two days, and an average of 131 hours of observations recorded the object, it can be concluded that for about 3275 objects were missing them.
So how far the largest of the fragments are comparable in size to the Tunguska meteorite, scientists say it is possible to imagine what would have happened if the comet was flying in a slightly different path and not fall to pieces! Consequences of a collision would have been the most dramatic, and most of life on Earth, most likely, would have been destroyed, just as once a global cosmic catastrophe destroyed the dinosaurs (at least, that is one of the hypotheses of extinction).Yet the mini-apocalypse in 1883 took place. August 27 (Bonilla and his observations led 12-13 August) exploded volcano Krakatoa, located in the strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra. Blast wave lifted the tsunami reached 30 meters in height. Was washed away into the ocean 295 towns and villages, killing about 36,000 people. Experts estimate that the power of the explosion was 200,000 times higher than in the explosion of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima. The shock wave caused the planet to shudder, and yet within a few years the earth's atmosphere was contaminated by volcanic ash.It is possible that the span between the comet and the volcanic eruption is a direct connection: a large piece of the cosmic body could well cause a cataclysm like the Tunguska …But what is this terrible comet? Cordero's team suggest that it could be a short-period comet Pons — Brooks, in 1883, just cruised around the Earth. The next time it is close to us in 2024, to which the individual forecasters have promised end of the world … Let's hope that a global catastrophe is still not going to happen.