World astronomers from various countries have identified a curious occurrence. This pertains to nine star-like objects that appeared and vanished in a small region within half an hour on an old photographic plate.
These astronomers are collaborating to track vanishing and appearing celestial objects. They will be comparing old images of the night sky with the new and modern ones.
That will help them probe deep into such phenomena to record changes in the universe.
Scientists from Sweden, Spain, the US, Ukraine, and India, including Alok Gupta from the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, Nainital will be looking into this unnatural phenomenon.
They investigated an early form of photography that used glass plates to capture night sky images of April 12, 1950, exposed at the Palomar Observatory in California.
Possibility of stars’ occurrence
These astronomers detected these transient stars. Surprisingly, they were not to be found in photographs half an hour later and not traced since then. Therefore, such phenomenon has been detected for the first time in the history of astronomy.
Moreover, the astronomers have not found any explanation in well-established astrophysical phenomena. These could range from gravitational lensing, fast radio bursts or any variable star. These could possibly be responsible for this cluster of fast changes in the sky.
The study was published in Nature’s Scientific Reports. It was led by Beatriz Villarroel of the Nordic Institute of Theoretical Physics, Stockholm, Sweden, and Spain’s Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias.
The astronomers used the 10.4-metre Gran Telescopio Canarias at the Canary Islands in Spain. The astronomers are still examining other possibilities. It could be that the photographic plates were contaminated with radioactive particles, causing false stars on the plates.
The astronomers belong to the collaboration Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations (VASCO). They have still not sorted out the root cause of the nine simultaneous transients.
The collaboration will now look for more signatures of solar reflections in these digitised data from the 1950s in the hope to find aliens.
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