70-year-old photographic plates in ‘alien’ anomalies mystery

Science News
Researchers have been attempting to determine the source of several unexplained light flashes in the decades-old images.

The plates, which feature images captured by the Palomar Observatory Sky Survey between 1949 and 1958, cover a large part of the sky visible from the northern hemisphere.

More recently, a small research team headed up by Beatriz Villarroel from the Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics has been working to determine the source of several anomalous points of light which appear on some of the plates and then seem to disappear without explanation.

“We found one image where nine stars were out there, and they vanished,” said Villarroel. “And they are not there half an hour earlier, and they are not there six days later.”

“And you wonder, ‘Is this real?'”

The search for answers has been a difficult one. The anomalous flashes don’t seem to conform to any known astronomical objects and at the time the images were taken, there were no satellites.

There are certainly still conventional possibilities – the flashes could be related to rocket tests conducted at the time or they could even be photographic blemishes.

As things stand, however, there is still no definitive explanation, which opens the door to the possibility that these mysterious flashes could be extraterrestrial in nature.

“We are very careful when we write our papers, because we are not sure if they are real or not,” said Villarroel. “We need to always assume that it is the most boring explanation.”


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