From Centauri Dreams:
This looks like a case of extremely poor science reporting, but because I’ve already received e-mail about it, I will point you to a report from KTVU, a San Francisco television station, claiming that a mystery signal has been received at Arecibo, with obvious SETI implications. Cosmic Variance has also picked up on this and seems as skeptical as I am. A quick call to the SETI Institute revealed there is absolutely no buzz about any sort of successful reception making the rounds there. I have a voicemail in to Seth Shostak in hopes of a comment.
Paul Gilster runs Centauri Dreams and is a good source for credible science such as astronomy, SETI, METI (Messenging ETI), physics and astrobiology. If he says there was no ET signal that was credible, you can count on it being fact. And he’ll be one of the first to call someone on crappy reporting.
From Bad Astronomy:
The Sun is a variable star. Sunspots — dark regions on the surface of the Sun — increase in number over the years, peak, and then slowly decline once again. The pattern repeats every 11 years. Sunspots are regions of magnetic activity, and that is what fuels the massive eruptions of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) off the Sun. These can play havoc with all sorts of human activities: radio communications, GPS satellites, and even lay waste to our power grid (Quebec had a massive blackout in 1989 due to solar activity).
Obviously, astronomers pay close attention to the Sun.
The last cycle waned a few years back, and our nearest star has been pretty quiet. The predictions were that the new cycle would start up soon… and it looks like it’s poking its head through the door.
This image (from SOHO) shows the newest spot to blemish the Sun. We can tell it’s part of the new cycle because of the Sun’s magnetic field: sunspots reverse their (magnetic north and south) polarity every cycle, and this spot shows that reversal. So welcome the first spot for Cycle 24!
Sunspot activity typically means that the weather is going to be more screwy than it has been during this current La Nina season. I don’t know how the global warming by human beings crowd is reacting to this news, but I think it should be food for thought.
And from Newslink Indiana:
As for Wesseler’s second dream, he believes that the village inhabitants may have seen the star of Bethlehem . Evidences that lead him to this theory are the sacred Indian mounds built throughout Indiana, the largest of which located in Anderson at Mounds State Park . Most notable about the mounds are their shape and design. At an interview at Mounds State Park , Wesseler explains the shape of the mounds located there. “What I believe…is that they [the Indians] saw something in the sky…We’ve got this big mound in the middle that looks kind of like a full moon. It is surrounded by a ditch that was dug out and the dirt then was thrown up around the surrounding ground to form a C-shaped mound that could be representative of a halo, of something that was shining brightly in the sky.” Pointing to a pathway going to the center of the mound, he said, “And to our west here, or behind us, would be the causeway, kind of like a beam of light that made a shaft down to earth.”
I have ranted recently about the short shrift Amerind/Mesoamerican civilizations have gotten concerning their cultures before the arrival of Europeans. Here is an example of a culture that knew astronomy in North America. And that they were studying a curious anomaly in the sky that was out of the ordinary.