More than seventy years ago, three stars disappeared from the sky without a trace. To this day, there is no satisfactory explanation for this strange phenomenon, wrote the astronomy portal Cosmos Today.
On July 19, 1952, the Palomar Observatory participated in a sky survey program. The gist of this is that they take several photographs of the same area of the sky, and then try to identify different astronomical objects based on the images.
At approximately 20:52 that evening, a photographic plate captured the combined light of three stars. Stars of magnitude 15 were very bright in the image. At 21:45, the same area of the sky was photographed again by astronomers, but this time the three stars could no longer be seen. In less than an hour They have completely disappeared.
The strange thing is that the stars don’t just disappear.
It may explode or shine for a short time, but it does not disappear without leaving a trace. But the evidence collected by the observatory points to this seemingly impossible phenomenon. The three stars are clearly present in the first shot, but no faint trace of them can be seen in the second shot. So the assumption is that it may have suddenly disappeared, but even that is difficult to accept. Subsequent observations found no evidence that the stars were dimmer than magnitude 24. This means that the stars were likely dimmed by ten thousandths or more. The question is what could cause this phenomenon that apparently contradicts scientific knowledge?
There are three possible explanations
According to one idea, scientists actually saw not three stars, but only one. The error may be caused by the presence of a black hole passing between the Earth and the star, which led to distortion of the images. However, such events were very rare and the stars were very close to each other.
Another theory is that the objects in the pictures were not stars. Taking into account the rules of the speed of light, the comet’s zonal objects, the Oort cloud, which are no longer included in subsequent images, are likely to be captured because they have moved in their orbits.
The third theory says that there are no astronomical formations in the pictures, but rather a secret military experiment was revealed by chance. The Palomar Observatory is not too far from the New Mexico desert where nuclear weapons were being tested at the time. Radioactive dust from the tests may have contaminated photographic plates, causing bright spots to appear in some images but not others.
In the 1950s, similar anomalies were also observed on other photographic plates, so the latter idea may be the most plausible explanation for the mysterious disappearance of stars.
Of course, none of the above theories can solve the mystery 100%, so in the future we can only know the full truth by studying similar phenomena more thoroughly.