Posted in sun

Sun UFO: what WAS that thing?

SOHO watchers spotted something near the sun the other day. LiveScience opens their article about it like this:

“UFO hunters have spotted a curious object near the sun in a new NASA image. It is, in the words of a blogger for the website Gather, “what looks like a metallic, jointed spaceship with a gigantic extension, perhaps a boom arm, anchored off its lower end.” The YouTube video drawing attention to the object has quickly made its way to discussion forums and the tabloid press, and many seasoned UFO believers are calling it a definite “spot.””

I’ll get back to the LiveScience article after a minute. Here is the UK Daily Mail’s treatment of the sight (UK Daily Mail is more tabloid and thus less restricted in their willingness to theorize and use hyperbole)

“A strange object flying close to the sun looks unnervingly like a huge, metallic ‘mothership’ familiar from Hollywood blockbusters. The picture was released by Nasa’s sun-watching Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, known as SOHO – and has become an immediate cult hit on the internet. … ‘The unidentified flying object, which bears no resemblance to anything ever spotted near the Sun, somehow manages to withstand the blazing heat thrown off by solar flare activity and the incredibly high temperatures emanating from nuclear fusion generated on the surface of the star. What is it?’ asked the site.”

An enlargement of the object makes the enormously
large UFO look like a ship straight out of a Hollywood movie
Above, UK Daily Mail included a movie fictional alien spacecraft to compare

‘There is no way this object is merely vapour, as the shape of it is rigidly straight and grooved and appears to be manufactured in some way,’ says the UFO fan site. ‘Also, there seems to be some intelligent design involved. It’s beyond human engineering to create.’

the LiveScience site has an explanation: “According to Nathan Rich, lead ground systems engineer in the NRL’s (US Naval Research Lab] solar physics branch, the “spaceship” is merely a collection of streaks left by cosmic rays, charged particles from space, which whizzed through the camera’s sensor, or CCD, as the image was taken. “The streaks in question are consistent with energetic particle (proton) impacts on the CCD, something which is apparent in just about every image,” Rich told Life’s Little Mysteries.”

Ah! So it’s lens flare. Conspiracy theorists will get a kick out of that.


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.