back to article 100 mysterious blinking lights in the night sky could be evidence of alien life... or something weird, say boffins

A hundred red objects blinking in and out of existence across Earth’s skies over the past 70 years have left scientists giddy: they believe this could be evidence of previously unseen astronomical phenomena or – and hold tight, now – alien civilizations. The objects were scrutinized by the Vanishing & Appearing Sources during …

  1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    Time for a SWAB link again ....

    I though that direct collapse of starts to black holes had pretty much already been established.

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/startswithabang/2017/12/26/direct-collapse-black-holes-may-explain-our-universes-mysterious-quasars

    About two thirds of the way down are Hubble images of a star that mysteriously vanished somewhere between 2007 and 2015.

    EDIT:Found a better SWAB article about how stars can end their lives.

    https://medium.com/starts-with-a-bang/how-do-the-most-massive-stars-die-supernova-hypernova-or-direct-collapse-9367b8974d32

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Time for a SWAB link again ....

      That was a great read, thank you for the reference !

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: Time for a SWAB link again ....

        You are welcome.

        I do recommend SWAB as a great way to keep up with what is going on in space / astrophysics / cosmology. Ethan does a great job of explaining complex things simply enough for those of us not expert in these fields to understand.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Alien

    "Either way, we'll take a one-way ticket, please. Now. Thanks. Good"

    No, you're not escaping the UK's great filter that easily. As Wikipedia says, "a barrier to the evolution of intelligent life, or as a high probability of self-destruction".

    1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: "Either way, we'll take a one-way ticket, please. Now. Thanks. Good"

      Give a man a fire and he's warm for a day, but set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life.

      T. P.

  3. Jonathon Green
    Pint

    Need a version of this icon with half-a-pint of foaming goodness in the container...

    Optimistic interpretation: We’re observing the appearance of Kardashev level II civilisations, and they’re more common than anyone would have expected.

    Pessimistic corollary: The Nicoll-Dyson laser beams are on their way and they will be here Real Soon Now..

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Need a version of this icon with half-a-pint of foaming goodness in the container...

      Meanwhile, on Earth, we have a Kardashian level II civilisation.

      Rant, moan.

      1. TeeCee Gold badge
        Alien

        Re: Need a version of this icon with half-a-pint of foaming goodness in the container...

        We of the League of Sentients would like to complain about the use of "Kardashian" and "Civilisation" together. Please try not to do that, as it reflects badly on the rest of us.

        1. Disclose!

          Re: Need a version of this icon with half-a-pint of foaming goodness in the container...

          To: The League of Sentients

          A reasonable suggestion, charmingly requested. (Also, I think the comment was not made to insult. Perhaps, it was just a bad choice of words.)

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Remember : it's never aliens

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Are you sure? Politicians keep blaming everything on illegal aliens.

      2. JanMeijer

        According to Rimmer it's always aliens.

        1. Claptrap314 Silver badge
        2. AceRimmer1980
          Alien

          Well who else but aliens could eat *that* much chicken soup in a day. Certainly not Lister, since we ran out of curry sauce.

  4. LucreLout Silver badge
    Joke

    A hundred red objects blinking in and out of existence

    Labour MPs?

    1. N2 Silver badge

      blinking out of existence

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        re:blinking out of existence

        For now. Things go in cycles. The Labour Party was coughing up blood for all the 80s and eary 90s, and yet almost wiped the Tories out in 1997, and looked set for permapower. Right up until they lost it.

        1. Imhotep

          Re: re:blinking out of existence

          I think that is tied to behavior. The party in power will go too far. They always go too far. Then they're punished at the ballot box.

          1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge
            Big Brother

            Re: re:blinking out of existence

            I shudder to think what it will look like when this lot goes too far.

            1. tfb Silver badge
              Terminator

              Re: re:blinking out of existence

              It looks like this.

        2. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

          Re: re:blinking out of existence

          @AC: "almost wiped the Tories out in 1997"

          When we elected the Tory, Tony Blair, you mean?

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Certainly here in Scotland. The lone incumbent in Edinburgh Sth is so far to the right he deserves the title of Red Tory. Just like the late unlamented Jo Swinson who during the Coalition years voted with the Conservatives more often than most of the Tory party is a yellow Tory.

      Scotland decided it wasnae interested in Corbyn ages ago, his campaign events up here featured the same lot of bussed in activists and media tight cropping. Thank goodness for online sources who soon provided wide field views showing a few tightly clustered in large empty fields. Image comparisons soon found the same faces in disparate such events and even their bus was fingered.

      During our wee IndyRef Labour was reduced to bussing in English wannabees. Their battle bus came to Dundee and us in Dundee RIC held a rally in a nearby square at the same time. Then we formed up behind the piper and marched down to and around them and proceeded to be much more vital and engaging and took their audience away. They were all very preppy boys in tight haircuts, slacks and neat jerseys. They might just as easily have been Young Tories to us in the Yes City they looked like it.

      BTW on Thursday last both Dundee seats were retained by the SNP in excess of 50% of the cast votes. This is still the Yes City.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        Unfortunately, just across the bridge from you North-east Fife), the local muppets put a totally untried MP of orange hue in place*. Fortunately**, most of the rest of the country saw sense - here comes IndyRef 2!

        *And an ex-copper at that, FFS.

        **Not so fortunate for Stephen Gethins - a very good constituency MP, though.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    In a galaxy far far away

    There's a Death Star!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In a galaxy far far away

      I believe the politically correct version would be a "life-impaired star".

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: In a galaxy far far away

        I believe the politically correct version would be a "life-impaired star".

        Differently metabolised person of public renown(*).

        (*) "Impaired" is ableist, "star" is too unequal, everybody is a star in their own way.

  6. NomadUK

    Phenomen{on|a}

    'Rapid changes over 70 years suggest stranger phenomenon...'

    'A stranger phenomenon' or 'stranger phenomena'. Pick one.

    1. Oh Matron!
      Coat

      Re: Phenomen{on|a}

      A stranger Philomena makes much more sense.

      I'll get me coat

  7. steelpillow Silver badge
    Devil

    blinkenlights

    So the boxen which run the simulation we live in have blinkenlights, quelle surprise.

    If the lights ever stop altogether, be afraid, be very afraid...

    1. TRT Silver badge
      1. Imhotep

        Re: blinkenlights

        Before I clicked on that link, I knew where it was going. I loved that show: I put it on a petty stool.

        1. Crypto Monad
          Headmaster

          Re: blinkenlights

          I think you'll find the correct term is "on a pedal stool"

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: blinkenlights

            Unless it's an in joke I'm not up on the term is 'on a pedestal.'

            1. Crypto Monad

              Re: blinkenlights

              It's an IT crowd in-joke. Sorry it's a bit of a damp squid.

  8. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Why aliens?

    Why would aliens want to make stars blink? I can't think of anything artificial that would be likely to cause that to happen as a side-effect. Every 70 years ... if it's an intergalactic communication signal, that's a heck of a slow baud rate.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Why aliens?

      Put it into perspective, how old is the universe?

      1. Dinanziame
        Angel

        Re: Why aliens?

        5 minutes.

        ...No? And what's your proof?

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: Why aliens?

          Because the simulation of the universe we're running in only has memory to run for up to a minute. Afterwards the the beings who are observing the simulation take down their results, delete it, and set up another one, of course.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why aliens?

            hm i like the idea that if we look really hard in their direction, the computer running us in some enclosing universe makes some pricks game jitter cos it's having to simulate whole extra civilizations in more detail now :V

    2. Ron187

      Re: Why aliens?

      Umm... it's not every 70 years, they've been doing it over the last 70 years(they've only been observed for the last 70 years). Your reading comprehension is pretty bad... maybe they're not stars, maybe they are something that aliens use for creating stuff. Some kind of method to convert something into massive amounts of energy. It probably isn't anything to do with aliens, but theres a small possibility.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why aliens?

      Christmas lights ?

    4. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: Why aliens?

      > Why would aliens want to make stars blink?

      Maybe they are not stars. These type of observations often involve only a few pixels, relying on the spectra to learn more. So calling them stars is an educated guess, likely correct, but we don't know the spectra of all the disappeared items.

      We need to identify a few items that suddenly appeared, rather then disappeared, so we can't study them to figure out if they are typical star spectra or some new unknown, possibly modulated, phenomena.

  9. Fr. Ted Crilly

    Hmm

    ah its the Bussard ramscoops powering up, still if its only 100 or so there's enough left (maybe) to prevent ring rub

    1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

      Re: Hmm

      Or maybe the reflection from light sails? It they turn bright then they are decelerating in our direction. Maybe it's time to restock that bunker.

  10. Tom Paine Silver badge

    It's good, isn't it?

    Isn't it marvellous? Simply splendid in every way. Yo, barmaid, can I have another pint please? This one's gone all salty for some reason....

  11. herman Silver badge
    Pint

    Olde Fashioned Neon Blinkies

    Here you go: https://www.aeronetworks.ca/2019/11/tis-season-of-blinky-lights.html

  12. Mark192

    But is it aliens?

    Thank you. Every article about weird space stuff should deal with the 'but is it aliens' question head on.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: But is it aliens?

      If you'd like to find out, try gerfingerpoken.

  13. Winkypop Silver badge
    Alien

    Roxanxyzxxllx

    You don't have to put on your red light...

    1. WallMeerkat

      Re: Roxanxyzxxllx

      And then the Arctic Monkeys come along 30 years later

      "And he told Roxanxyzxxllx to turn on her red light...."

  14. Ugotta B. Kiddingme Silver badge

    queue the orchestral opening

    Are some of these blinking lights in galaxies far far away, and therefore these actions happened a long time ago? Asking for Sith friend.

  15. gnarlymarley Bronze badge

    Astrophysicists, faced with poring over 600 million objects, whittled down their search to just 100 by focusing on observations of objects in space that simply just disappear, or ones that have rapidly fluctuating brightness levels that vary over a 70-year time period.

    Or maybe this is just the flashing, twinkle, or change in brightness level that happens when a heat source between the observer and the light causes the air to move. Sometimes if you look at a neighboring city's lights, you can see this same thing happen.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aliens Part Deux

    Or maybe the "vanishing stars" are due to said aliens building Dyson Spheres aroud them.

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