There were several possible explanations for what could have happened to the three stars recorded by scientists in California in the summer of 1952, which completely disappeared in less than an hour.

On July 19, 1952, astronomers working at the Palomar Observatory in California encountered something inexplicable. The specialists conducted a photographic survey of the night sky, during which they had to take several shots of the same part of the sky to facilitate spotting asteroids.

On July 19, at 8:52 p.m., the light of three stars clustered around each other was recorded in one image. It was hard not to notice it: its brightness reached 15 degrees, meaning it was clearly visible. But when the recording was restarted at 9:45 p.m., the three stars were no longer in place, but had completely disappeared in less than an hour.

See also  Neither the Moon nor Mars particularly excite Americans

Since stars not only disappear, but explode at the end of their lives, making them brighter for a period of time than they were before, scientists were puzzled. The pictures clearly showed the presence of the three stars in the sky, but no explanation was found for how they disappeared so quickly. A possible explanation might be that they suddenly vanished, but that also seems to be an explanation. Let’s see.


Another idea – reads arXiv In a study recently published on a preprint server – it wasn’t actually three stars, but a star that suddenly shone. Meanwhile, there could have been a star-sized black hole between the camera and the celestial body, and thanks to the gravitational lensing effect, scientists seemed to see three stars in the image.

The problem with this is, on the one hand, that this kind of thing is extremely rare, and on the other hand, there were many similar cases in recordings made in the 1950s. However, the stars were so close together that their disappearance could not have been due to gravitational lensing.


Another possibility is that they didn’t actually see the stars. Since everything happened so quickly, it is possible that the celestial bodies were closer than two light years closer to each other and became bright due to some external influence. Since then, they have not been found because they have already drifted away from that point.

Another theory is that they are not actually celestial bodies. In New Mexico in the 1950s, several nuclear explosions were conducted, and radioactive dust could have contaminated the slide.

It is not known to this day exactly what happened. Perhaps it will only be possible to say for sure by examining the James Webb Space Telescope. maybe.

If you want to know about similar things at other times, like it The HVG Tech department’s Facebook page, which also reports on scientific discoveries.


In addition to diverse, independent and factual information, our readers who join Pártoló membership can also enjoy a number of benefits for their financial support.
Depending on your membership level, we offer, among others:

  • We send you an exclusive weekly digest of interesting things in the world;
  • You can get an insight into HVG’s work, and you can meet our authors;
  • You can participate in previews of the latest films, in various events;
  • You can purchase HVG books and publications at a discount;
  • You can read hvg360 digital news magazine.