(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘extraterrestrial

“I’m sure the universe is full of intelligent life. It’s just been too intelligent to come here.”*…



Artist’s impression of the first interstellar asteroid/comet, “Oumuamua”


Or not…

On October 19th, 2017, the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System-1 (Pan-STARRS-1) in Hawaii announced the first-ever detection of an interstellar asteroid, named 1I/2017 U1 (aka, ‘Oumuamua). In the months that followed, multiple follow-up observations were conducted that allowed astronomers to get a better idea of its size and shape, while also revealing that it had the characteristics of both a comet and an asteroid.

Interestingly enough, there has also been some speculation that based on its shape, ‘Oumuamua might actually be an interstellar spacecraft (Breakthrough Listen even monitored it for signs of radio signals!). A new study by a pair of astronomers from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has taken it a step further, suggesting that ‘Oumuamua may actually be a light sail of extra-terrestrial origin…

As for what an extra-terrestrial light sail would be doing in our solar system, [Harvard astronomers Shmuel Bialy and Prof. Abraham Loeb] offer some possible explanations for that. First, they suggest that the probe may actually be a defunct sail floating under the influence of gravity and stellar radiation, similar to debris from ship wrecks floating in the ocean. This would help explain why Breakthrough Listen found no evidence of radio transmissions.

Loeb further illustrated this idea in a recent article he penned for Scientific American, where he suggested that ‘Oumuamua could be the first known case of an artificial relic which floated into our solar system from . What’s more, he notes that lightsails with similar dimensions have been designed and constructed by humans, including the Japanese-designed IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative with which he is involved.

“This opportunity establishes a potential foundation for a new frontier of space archaeology, namely the study of relics from past civilizations in space,” Loeb wrote. “Finding evidence for space junk of artificial origin would provide an affirmative answer to the age-old question “Are we alone?”. This would have a dramatic impact on our culture and add a new cosmic perspective to the significance of human activity.”

On the other hand, as Loeb told Universe Today, ‘Oumuamua could be an active piece of alien technology that came to explore our solar system, the same way we hope to explore Alpha Centauri using Starshot and similar technologies”…

More provocative detail at “Could ‘Oumuamua be an extraterrestrial solar sail?

* Arthur C. Clarke


As we ask if we’re alone, we might recall that it was on this date in 1572 that Wolfgang Schüler first noted a supernova in the W-shaped constellation of Cassiopeia.  It was subsequently seen by other observers, including Tycho Brahe, who included an account of the sighting in his De nova stellaConsequently, the supernova– one of eight visible to the naked eye in historical records– is known as “Tycho’s Supernova.”


Star map of the constellation Cassiopeia showing the position (labelled I) of the supernova of 1572; from Tycho Brahe’s De nova stella




Written by LW

November 6, 2018 at 2:01 am

“Who you gonna call?”*…


Let’s say your house is on fire, or overrun by a gang of psychotic raccoons. You don’t hesitate—you take out your phone, and you call the fire department, or animal control, and then firemen/raccoon-wranglers are promptly dispatched to your home. These are well-established protocols, essential to the maintenance of a mostly not-on-fire, feral-animal-free society.

But what about UFOs? What about extraterrestrial beings? Faced with some six-eyed slime-being rooting through your trash, or a spacecraft idling above your backyard (provided it’s not Elon Musk’s “nuclear alien UFO” again), who exactly would you think to call? And what would whoever you called do, when you called them?…

Find out at: “If You Find Aliens, Who Do You Call?

[Picture above: source]

* Ray Parker, Jr., theme from Ghostbusters


As we let our fingers do the walking, we might recall that it was on this date in 1953 that the Air Force declassified and released a file in which Lt. David C. Brigham, the pilot of an F-84 “Thunderjet,” reported that a small, metallic, disc-shaped object made a controlled, sweeping pass at the American jet fighter-bomber over the Sea of Japan.  “It closed rapidly and just before it would have flown into his fuselage, it decelerated to his air-speed almost instantaneously, the pilot reported.  “In doing so it flipped up its edge at approximately a 90-degree bank. Then it fluttered within 20 feet of his fuselage for perhaps two or three seconds, pulled away and around his starboard (right) wing, appearing to flip once as it hit the slipstream behind his wing tip fuel tank…  Then it passed him, crossed in front of him and pulled up abruptly, appearing to accelerate, and shot out of sight in a steep, almost vertical climb.  It did so more sharply than a plane could have done.  Its maneuvering throughout was always clear and precise.”

F-84 “Thunderjet,” ca. 1952




Written by LW

January 27, 2018 at 1:01 am

%d bloggers like this: