A new photograph of the sun taken within the past year had UFO enthusiasts speculating about a mysterious black square on one image.
The photos were taken by Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), a spacecraft developed by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) that has been taking breathtaking images of the Sun since its launch in 1995. The sun is a notoriously difficult thing to photograph because it's a big bright yellow nightmare (I'm struggling with summer heat) but we got the most clear image of the sun ever taken this year. However, the image included a black square ten times bigger than the Earth.
What could it be? Is it a massive alien vessel? Are monsters beyond the stars siphoning our sun's heat and energy? Should we get reading to fight back like in Independence Day?
“This is of course complete and utter nonsense,” Bernhard Fleck, SOHO project scientist and mission manager said in an email to Vice . “The black square is due to a missing (corrupted) telemetry block.”
“Most missing blocks are indeed filled by our pipeline processing, but this doesn't always work, and not all missing blocks are filled correctly,” Fleck explained. “The final level-0 science data are not affected by this.”
“I can send you tens, if not hundreds of similar images (with even bigger ‘UFOs’),” Fleck said.
“Missing blocks are multiples of 32x32 pixels, which is the smallest unit of a telemetry block,” he added. “So even if only one byte was corrupted, a whole 32x32 block is blacked out.”
SOHO is located in a halo orbit about a million miles from Earth, and the images it sends are bound to drop a few pixels over time.
OR SO THEY SAY.
NASA regularly posts updates from the SOHO project but they say that the data is “intended just for visual inspection, not analysis as it is not of science quality” on the gallery website. NASA has run into this issue before and posted an article in 2003 called “How to Make Your Own UFO” that outlined why SOHO images of completely natural phenomena end up with features that resemble flying saucers, or can be enhanced to look like alien spacecraft.
“Ever since launch, there's been a number of people who've claimed to have seen flying saucers and other esoteric objects in SOHO images,” NASA said in the 2003 article. “Although some of these supposed pictures of UFOs can seem quite intriguing, they have always turned out to have a quite ordinary cause when examined by experienced SOHO scientists.”
Still, this could just be a false flag operation to get us used to the UFO presence in our skies. I'm still gonna wear my tinfoil hat and leave glasses of water around, just in case space commies come to take my AR-15.