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The Oddities in the News Page

On this month's Oddities in the News Page:

Alien Probe? Or just an anomoly? Harvard University weighs in


Loch Ness
Donald Trump Look-Alike
A Real Killer Clown
New Dinosaur
Elisa Lam

cigar shaped

Oumuamua (artist's rendering)

light sail

Space sail

Harvard University gives its opinon on a cigar-shaped UFO

November 1, 2018, CNN and NBC -- The object, nicknamed Oumuamua, meaning "a messenger that reaches out from the distant past" in Hawaiian, was discovered in October 2017 by the Pan-STARRS 1 telescope in Hawaii.

Since its discovery, scientists have been at odds to explain its unusual features and precise origins, with researchers first calling it a comet and then an asteroid before finally deeming it the first of its kind: a new class of "interstellar objects."

new paper by researchers at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics raises the possibility that the elongated dark-red object, which is 10 times as long as it is wide and traveling at speeds of 196,000 mph, might have an "artificial origin."

"Oumuamua may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization," they wrote in the paper, which has been submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Scientists have been puzzling over Oumuamua ever since the mysterious space object was observed tumbling past the sun in late 2017. Given its high speed and its unusual trajectory, the reddish, stadium-sized whatever-it-is had clearly come from outside our solar system. But its flattened, elongated shape and the way it accelerated on its way through the solar system set it apart from conventional asteroids and comets.

Now a pair of Harvard researchers are raising the possibility that Oumuamua is an alien spacecraft. As they say in a paper to be published Nov. 12 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, the object "may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth vicinity by an alien civilization.

The researchers aren't claiming outright that aliens sent Oumuamua. But after a careful mathematical analysis of the way the interstellar object sped up as it shot past the sun, they say Oumuamua could be a spacecraft pushed through space by light falling on its surface — or, as they put it in the paper, a "lightsail of artificial origin."

Who would have sent such a spacecraft our way — and why?

"It is impossible to guess the purpose behind Oumuamua without more data," Avi Loeb, chairman of Harvard's astronomy department and a co-author of the paper, told NBC News MACH in an email. If Oumuamua is a lightsail, he added, one possibility is that it was floating in interstellar space when our solar system ran into it, "like a ship bumping into a buoy on the surface of the ocean."

Earthlings have launched simple solar-powered lightsails of our own, and Loeb is an adviser to Breakthrough Starshot, an initiative that plans to send a fleet of tiny laser-powered lightsail craft to the nearest star system. But the technology is in its infancy — at least here on Earth.

Loeb and his collaborator, Shmuel Bialy, a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, acknowledge that the alien spacecraft scenario is an "exotic" one. And perhaps not surprisingly, other space scientists have strong doubts about it.

"It's certainly ingenious to show that an object the size of Oumuamua might be sent by aliens to another star system with nothing but a solar sail for power," Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, said in an email. "But one should not blindly accept this clever hypothesis when there is also a mundane (and a priori more likely) explanation for Oumuamua — namely that it's a comet or asteroid from afar."

See the entire article HERE and HERE

See The Horror Zine page about a UFO in Los Angeles HERE

See a youtube video about Oumuamua HERE

What makes Oumuamua so unusual?

First it was an asteroid, then a comet and now a group of Harvard researchers suggest the enigmatic ‘Oumuaua could be an alien-built light sail. The half-mile-long flying whatever-it-is was discovered on October 2017 with the Panstarrs-1 telescope on Mt. Haleakala in Maui. Like similar discoveries, the object was too small to appear any larger than a point of light like every other asteroid. And that’s exactly what astronomers though it was — at first. Then it began exhibiting weird, comet-like behavior. Let’s examine what makes ‘Oumuamua so unusual:

  • It came from outside the solar system because of its extremely high speed of 196,000 mph (87.3 km/sec). Objects bound to the solar system don’t travel that fast except for a brief time when they’re very close to the sun. Mercury, the fastest moving, races along at a comparatively leisurely 48 km/sec. Some asteroids and comets get much closer to the sun than that and travel at faster speeds but only for a short time.
  • Its orbit was hyperbolic. In other words, it wasn’t a closed loop but completely open-ended. Instead of following an elliptical path and returning to the sun time and time again, ‘Oumuamua’s orbit was a hyperbola — inbound, outbound and gone!
  • Its dramatic variations in brightness over time suggested it was highly elongated, possibly up to 10 times as long as wide. The object also tumbles in two different ways: end over end and around another axis, making one complete rotation every 7.3 hours.
  • It doesn’t look like a comet but behaves like one. Heat from the sun vaporizes comet ice to form jets made of gas and dust. As the material shoots away from the comet, it kicks back against it, changing the object’s speed. As ‘Oumuamua left the vicinity of the sun, instead of slowing down, something made it speed up yet no jets, dust or gas were detected.

Shmuel Bialy and Abraham Loeb, with the Harvard Center for Astrophysics, took a broad look at the problems posed by the object and concluded it was possible that the observed increase in speed is the result of solar radiation accelerating a large, thin sheet of material through space. Their calculations show that such an object could survive even after traveling more than 16,000 light years even after getting pinged by dust grains and twisted about by gravitational stresses along the way.

In other words, they consider possibility that it might be a light sail of artificial origin, propelled by the light of the sun on a potential reconnaissance mission of the our solar system. Did I just write that? They admit it’s speculative but are at a loss to find a better explanation.

See the entire article HERE