Ancient Egyptian Calendar Reveals Earliest Record of 'Demon Star'
Ancient Egyptians may have chronicled the flickering of a star known as "the Demon," perhaps the earliest known record of a variable star, astronomers suggest.
The ancient Egyptians wrote calendars that marked lucky and unlucky days. These predictions were based on astronomical and mythological events thought of as influential for everyday life. The best preserved of these calendars is the Cairo Calendar, a papyrus document dating between 1163 and 1271 B.C. The entry for each day is prefaced by three hieroglyphics that indicate either good or bad luck, with the characters often derived from events of mythology.
Astronomers at the University of Helsinki in Finland had previously discovered that some of the fortunate days recurred in a pattern, every 29.6 days. This almost exactly matches the length of the lunar cycle — the time between two full moons. New moons may have been associated with bad luck.
Rare Transit of Venus Puts Spotlight on Planetary Sun Crossings
A rare opportunity to see the planet Venus cross in front of the face of the sun is coming up next week.
On June 5 to 6, Venus will "transit" the sun for the last time until 2117, joining the ranks of the handful of planetary transits that have occurred since the dawn of modern astronomy.
From our vantage point on Earth, we occasionally have the chance to see two planets — Venus and Mercury — pass in front of the sun, as these are the only two planetary bodies between us and our star.
Transits of Mercury are more common than Venus transits, with an average of 13 occurring each century. Venus transits come in pairs separated by eight years, with more than a century usually elapsing between one pair and the next. [Gallery: Transits of Venus Throughout History]
"The first transit ever observed was of the planet Mercury in 1631 by the French astronomer [Pierre] Gassendi," Fred Espenak, an astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., wrote on the NASA Eclipse website. "A transit of Venus occurred just one month later, but Gassendi's attempt to observe it failed because the transit was not visible from Europe. In 1639, Jeremiah Horrocks and William Crabtree became the first to witness a transit of Venus."
A group of high school students may have come close to Bigfoot during a class project in the Idaho wilderness.
A dark, mysterious creature was caught on tape for a few seconds near Mink Creek before it retreated into the treeline.
"It just didn't look human-like. I don't know what that is, it's not a bear, it's not a moose or anything. It was big and bulky and black," said the student who captured the video. He spoke to ABC News' Idaho affiliate but did not want want to be identified on camera.
The students climbed to where they saw the potential Sasquatch and photographed the large footprints it left in the dirt.
"I'm not going to say yes it was a Bigfoot or no it wasn't, because I don't know., and nobody knows," the student told the news station.
The Animal Planet show "Finding Bigfoot" plans to visit Pocatello, Idaho in June to investigate claims that Bigfoot could be in the area.
Secret mission accomplished: America's mysterious space plane to land after a YEAR in orbit - and no one knows what it did up there
The X-37B has been circling the Earth at 17,000mph and was due to land in California in December
Mission of highly classified robotic plane extended for unknown reasons Will now land in mid- to late-June
Transit of Venus Begins! Venus Crosses the Sun for Last Time this Century
NEW YORK — It's finally here! The historic transit of Venus, the skywatching event of the year, has begun.
The planet Venus has started its nearly seven-hour trek across the face of the sun. Today is the last time Earthlings will see such a view until 2117.
The Venus transit officially began today (June 5) just after 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT), and will last six hours and 40 minutes.
Venus will look like a small black disk as it crosses the bright sun, which can be viewed only with protective eyewear. The sight is visible from North America, Europe, Asia and eastern Africa. Because of the International Date Line, some parts of the world are witnessing the transit on June 6.
Venus transits occur in pairs separated by eight years that come around less than once a century. The last Venus transit was in 2004, while the one before that was in 1882. [Watch Live! See Transit of Venus Webcasts Here]
In the movie "Prometheus," a sci-fi thriller and prequel to "Alien," moviegoers may be wondering about the meaning of the name.
The story focuses on a galactic ship called "Prometheus," which is on a search for the origins of humanity. Things don't exactly turn out as planned: The explorers must deal with some kind of alien menace outside the ship, along with fear and loathing that sets in with the crew.
So why are the space vessel and the movie named for a figure in Greek mythology?
The myth itself is this: Prometheus, a Titan, is credited with having made the human race out of clay. According to Edith Hamilton's book "Mythology," the name Prometheus means "forethought," and he was "very wise, wiser even than the gods."
Prometheus was said to have been so enthralled by his human creation that he stole fire from the gods to help the humans along.
Zeus punished Prometheus for his crime with an unimaginable torture -- chaining him to a rock and having an eagle eat his liver. The organ grew back at night, and every day, the eagle came back to peck it out.
In modern times, the story of the Titan has tended to be more of a cautionary tale for humans as the unintended consequences of scientific discovery. In fact, the full title of Mary Shelley's book "Frankenstein" is "The Modern Prometheus."
The ship isn't the first to be named from mythology. In "Alien," the escape craft is called "Narcissus."
In the latest Ridley Scott movie, we can probably take the name of the ship to be a subtle hint of what's to come. It's safe to say it's nothing good.
The only tv I pretty much watch is "NCIS" and the NBA Playoffs(at least for now) - this movie is rated R, but they were really, really pushing the ads during the basketball games for weeks(unlike all of the other overhyped "blockbusters"), despite the fact that younger audiences generally are the majority for the NBA.
Hhhhmmm...remember it wasn't too long ago, after Columbine and before 9/11, when the government was trying to crackdown on marketing R-rated movies to teens? Where's all the outrage over it now?
Rather than being a missing link between man and the apes, Bigfoot may possibly be an alien entity. This intriguing possibility is derived from evidence in several solid UFO cases.
The earliest clues date back to 1888, when a cattleman described an encounter with friendly Indians in Humboldt County, California. They led him to a cave where he saw a hefty humanoid creature covered in long, shiny black hair, with no neck, sitting cross-legged.
One Indian told him three of these "Crazy Bears" had been cast out of a small moon that dropped from the sky and landed.The "moon" then ascended back into the air. So it's highly likely the "Crazy Bears" were really Bigfoots, and the "moon," a spacecraft.
Now fast-forward almost 100 years to 1973... and Mrs. Reafa Heitfield. She and her 13-year-old son were sleeping in a trailer in Cincinnati, Ohio on the morning of October 21. Reafa arose at 2:30 a.m. to quench her thirst, and noticed strange lights in the adjoining parking lot. Looking out the window, her attention was drawn, in particular, to an inexplicable cone of light, shaped like a huge bubble umbrella -- about seven feet in diameter.
Think of it as a win for the little guys. Astronomers using a small ground-based telescope have discovered two unusual alien planets around extremely bright, distant stars.
The two extrasolar planets are gas giant worlds detected using the Kilodegree Extremely Little Telescope (KELT) in southern Arizona, which has a lens that is roughly as powerful as a high-end digital camera, the researchers said.
"KELT is slightly more diminutive than Kepler, but we like to think it's small but fierce," said Thomas Beatty, a doctoral student at Ohio State University in Columbus. NASA's Kepler space telescope is an orbiting observatory specially built to seek out distant planets.
Beatty presented the findings on June 13 at the 220th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Anchorage, Alaska.
The UN has developed detailed instructions in case of a first contact with aliens, Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka said answering a question on Chinese TV.
“The UN and representatives of China have developed detailed instructions in case of the first contact,” Padalka said.
The cosmonaut shared his opinion saying that human beings are not alone in the universe. “Sooner or later we will meet our like-minded brothers,” Padalka added.
A teleconference between Mission Control and the International Space Station marked the launch of China’s Shenzhou-9 spacecraft with three crew members on board, including China’s first female astronaut, 33-year-old Liu Yang, Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang.
Can Psychedelic Drugs Help us Speak to Aliens?
Scientific research with the powerful psychedelic drug DMT reliably produces alien contact experiences.
A primary chemical ingredient in ayahuasca--the hallucinogenic jungle juice commonly used in the Amazon--is called dimethyltryptamine, or DMT.
Fascinating research has been done with this remarkable psychedelic substance, with results that seem far more astonishing than any science fiction.
It appears that DMT has the extraordinary power to open up an interdimensional portal into another universe--often referred to as “hyperspace”--and to reliably allow us to establish contact with the intelligent beings who reside there.
DMT is a profound mystery in many ways.
One of the strangest puzzles in all of nature revolves around the fact that DMT is naturally found in the human body--as well as in many species of animals and plants--and no biochemist knows what it does, or what function it might serve, in any of these places.
In a move that seems to have come straight from 'The X-Files,' the British government recently released a trove of data relating to the U.K.'s response to the possible existence of UFOs. The 25 files and 6,700 pages of data document UFO policy, issues with media outreach, public correspondence, and, of course, reports of UFO sightings from the public.
The Ministry of Defence received more than 10,000 reports of UFOs between 1950 and 2009. The sightings ranged from events that could be easily explained -- aircraft lights, satellites -- to more credible reports from police officers, pilots, and members of the military. Nick Pope, a UFO desk officer from 1991 to 1994, said, "These are probably the most fascinating and bizarre government files ever made available to the public."
The release includes the admission that at least one intelligence official desired to weaponize alien technology. The official is quoted as saying, "If the reports are taken at face value, then devices exist that do not use conventional reaction propulsion systems; they have a very wide range of speeds and are stealthy. I suggest we could use this technology, if it exists." The documents are causing a stir in conspiracy theorist circles as well, or, as Pope put it, "It's been suggested that this release program is disinformation ... and a phrase that you often hear is, 'All the good stuff's been kept back. '"
New Planet Found, Smaller Than Earth, Orbiting Distant Star
Thirty-three light-years away, in the constellation Leo the lion, astronomers say they have found a world considerably smaller than Earth, orbiting a dim red-dwarf star.
That's something to think about. While scientists have confirmed the existence of more than 700 so-called exoplanets since 1995, most of them have been giant -- many considerably larger than Jupiter. This new world, say the researchers who found it, may be only 5,200 miles across, about two thirds as large as Earth.
"People have been picking at the low-hanging fruit, since Jupiter-sized planets are easier to see," said Kevin Stevenson, the young researcher at the University of Central Florida who led the team making the find. "Now we're really pushing the limits of what our telescopes can find."
The newly found world is, for now, called UCF-1.01, and Stevenson and his colleagues found it with NASA's Spitzer space telescope in Earth orbit. It orbits a star called GJ 436. They spent a year watching it to confirm that it was indeed a distant world. They are publishing their find online Thursday in the Astrophysical Journal.
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