Astronomy Magazine

Giant Spaceship Seen Next to Sun! AGAIN! Er… Well, Not Really

Posted on the 16 March 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Giant spaceship seen next to sun! AGAIN! Er… well, not really

The massive alien spaceship refuelling! Or not.

Whoah! Are aliens visiting us – again? Well, no. Remember the spaceship that turned out the be a trick of the light? The same sort of thing has happened again.

A NASA space telescope has apparently captured footage of an object the size of a planet extending a tube into the surface of the sun, which then flies back off into space. The video’s been put on YouTube, and has inspired the usual sort of speculation. “Is it the Death Star refuelling?” asked Gizmodo, with its tongue firmly in its cheek.

It’s not aliens, nor a planet being born. It’s something called a coronoal cavity in a solar “filament” or prominence, which forms over the course of a day, and extends thousands of miles into space. Sorry, alien hunters, but science wins out once more! Although that well known reliable news source, The Weekly World News, said “NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is in contact with the United Nations and they will prepare a “plan of attack” if the Death Star heads for Earth.”

“Filaments, when you see them on the solar disc at certain wavelengths, they appear to be dark because they’re cooler material in relation to what’s in the background. When you see them on the edge of the sun we call them prominences but they’re the same objects. They sit in this kind of tunnel called the filament channel so when you look at it from the edge of the sun, what you see is this spherical object and you’re actually looking down the tunnel,” said C Alex Young, a solar astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, quoted on The Register.

Watch the video of the strange sphere!

Watch Alex Young’s explanation!

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