This article requires more attention. It was published in the journal Nature, one of the most prestigious scientific journals. Let me tell you a story about which was written in that article …
Our story begins with the field of astronomy.
One of the most important tools available to astronomers is surveys. Astronomical studies of the night sky. These surveys involve photographing the entire area of the night sky with general-purpose telescopes, rather than aiming the telescope at anything in particular.
These surveys provide astronomers with a wealth of general information about what is in the space around us and can save valuable telescope time by serving as a map of the sky.
Equally important, these reviews don't just show us what the sky looks like, they tell us what it looked like at a particular point in time. Comparing photographs of many years ago with what we see now, it is possible to detect changes or movement of stars, and sometimes you can see transient phenomena from active astronomical objects (quasars, neutron stars, etc.).
Several astronomers first looked at photographs taken as part of one such study - the National Geographic Society - Palomar Observatory Sky Survey (NGS-POSS).
Photographing the night sky is not easy. Glass plate photography was the gold standard until 1998-2000, when CCD sensors became sophisticated enough to supplant them.
These glass plates required long exposures - 30 minutes each.
In NGS-POSS, plates were exposed in pairs. One plate is sensitive to red light, then after 30 minutes - the second plate of the same area of the sky, sensitive to blue light. Add them together and you have most of the color information about the light.
This means that in this study, there were two photographs of each section of the sky, taken 30 minutes apart. That is why our outstanding astronomers, the heroes of this story, looked through these plates.
They were looking for what was visible on one plate, but not visible on the other. Transient phenomenon. Often such transients are not interesting, or is it some form of contamination of the plate, sometimes someone sneezed too close to the plate, and stuff like that.
But sometimes a transitional phenomenon is something really interesting. Many discoveries in astronomy have been made as a result of the search for such transient phenomena.
Astronomers were just starting their search when they stumbled upon something completely startling. Something that has never been noticed in the entire history of astronomy
They found 9 transients that were visible on the red plate, but disappeared after just 30 minutes on the blue plate. Usually, transients are detected separately, and sometimes two at a time. But never 9. Surely it must be pollution. This was their first guess.
And that was the first thing they ruled out. Researchers have extensive experience in identifying the various types of contaminants that sometimes enter these plates, but none of the known forms of contamination could cause these transients.
First, the light from these transients looked exactly like the light from a star. In fact, it looked like the light of yellow dwarf stars - stars of the same class as our Sun.
What's even more interesting is these transients were points. Points. Remember, these are long exposures and the Earth is spinning. This lengthens the stars or any other distant objects, turning them into strokes, short little lines in the direction of rotation.
It was not dust, because dust obscures light, but does not create it. Sneezing spray is not suitable as it creates a trail due to the ballistic nature of the droplets.
Perhaps this could be due to radioactive particles, but then other plates would be affected as well. But even that was ruled out, since the light would be wrong.
They were images of something real
Let me digress for a moment to discuss what is called geostationary (or geosynchronous) orbit.
The radius of the orbit depends on the period of the orbit (how long it takes to pass one orbit). The closer you are to Earth, the shorter your orbital speed should be.
If you want a satellite that will always see (or see) the same place on the Earth's surface, such as a communications satellite (or spy satellite), it must have an orbital period of 24 hours to match the Earth's rotation and remain tidal To her. This is what we call the geostationary orbit. Objects in such an orbit will appear stationary in the sky, even as the stars move and set over the horizon
This also means that the geostationary orbit is a very specific orbit. There is only one very specific orbit that is suitable for this purpose, and this is an orbit that objects cannot naturally fall into, unless they formed with the Earth and the Moon and have not always been there.
This is due to the fact that in order to reach geostationary orbit, the object must accelerate or start the engines after the initial entry into the transfer orbit. This is a very complex orbit, not something that can happen naturally or randomly.
There is a lot of mathematics and real astronomy in the article, which takes this aspect very deeply, but after many difficult scientific questions, the astronomers who wrote this article came to the conclusion that 9 transfer objects were supposed to be objects in geostationary orbitreflecting sunlight from our own star, so they are all very similar to stars of the same type and age as our own.
It is not surprising that there are especially many artificial objects (terrestrial) in this orbit around the Earth. But here's the thing - really, in order to launch new satellites into this orbit, the old ones must first be launched from it… It's very crowded there. And, unfortunately, astronomers have nothing close to a complete catalog of these satellites. Of course, they have "full", minus all satellites that various powers such as the US, Russia or China never mention. Spy satellites or who knows what else. They also exist, and sometimes they surprise astronomers by reflecting sunlight into their telescopes.
You may be wondering, "Yes, okay. So what? Why all this verbosity to tell us that some astronomers have spotted secret satellites, which happens regularly?"
These 9 transients (objects in geostationary orbit) appeared on a photographic plate that was taken on April 12, 1950. This was more than 7 years before the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite into orbit. And 14 years before the first artificial satellite was launched into geostationary orbit
Astronomers have ruled out all but two explanations: either these are reflections from unnatural objects deliberately put into geostationary orbit around the Earth many years before we had such an opportunity, or this is the result of high-energy pollution from radioactive dust that fell on the lens during irradiation … Such dust can only be obtained as a result of the explosion of a nuclear bomb.
However, there is one small problem with this explanation:
In 1950, not a single atomic bomb was detonated
Here is the original article.