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Never happened in history: Astronomers on disappearing stars

An international collaboration of astronomers has identified a curious occurrence of nine star-like objects that appeared and vanished in a small region within half an hour. The phenomenon was captured in an old photographic plate.

Astronomers found it a very unnatural phenomenon and are investigating the changes in the universe. They are tracking the vanishing and appearing of such celestial bodies by comparing old images with the new ones. They have not found any explanation in established astrophysical phenomena like gravitational lensing, fast radio bursts, or any variable star that could be responsible for this cluster of fast changes in the sky. 

This appearing and disappearing stars has never been found on the photographic plates in the history on astronomy, said astronomers. Scientists from Sweden, Spain, USA, Ukraine, and India, including Dr Alok C Gupta, Scientist from ARIES, investigated early form of photography that used glass plates to capture images of the night sky. The study led by Dr Beatriz Villarroel of Nordic Institute of Theoretical Physics, Stockholm, Sweden, and Spain Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, used the 10.4m Gran Telescopio Canarias (the largest optical telescope around the world) at Canary Islands, Spain, to do deep second epoch observations.

Astronomers have identified that the photographic plates were contaminated with radioactive particles causing false stars on the plates. But if the observation is proven to be real, another option is solar reflections from reflective, unnatural objects in orbit around Earth several years before the first human satellite were launched. 

“The only thing we can say with certainty is that these images contain star-like objects that should not be there. We do not know why they are there,” says Dr Gupta.

The astronomers from VASCO (Vanishing and Appearing Sources during a Century of Observations) are now eager to look for more information and compare data from 1950s in a hope to find aliens. 

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