Still believing in aliens invasion in 2012?

The news about so-called space ships found by SETI shaking internet community for more than a month now (though origin of the news I found on some blogs and youtube video are more than a year old). There was several debunking articles from respective authors, but the rumor still around and time to time we are getting e-mails and phone calls from worrying visitors of sky-map about “suspicious objects”. I just stumbled on SETI press release with an explanation. Check it out – Internet Rumor of Inbound 2012 Spaceships Untrue: NO Spaceships Headed for Earth

Another good article on Bad Astronomer blog by Phil Plat who particularly explains the imaging artifacts on Digitized Sky Survey you can find here.

Here’s one of the recent discoveries by our visitors: (06h34m46.99s, +51°04′49.0″). It’s just another image arifact, but looks pretty cool :) . Scroll down to the left for more “objects”

New SDSS-III sky survey is now available on WikiSky

We have added sky images from latest data release of Sloan Digital Sky Survey – SDSS-III DR8

The release contains all of the imaging data taken by the SDSS imaging camera, now covering 1/3 of the whole sky (over 14,000 square degrees out of 41,253 square degrees of whole sky)
In addition all existing images from previous data releases have been rebuilt with higher quality. The imaging survey contains about a million fields 3 mega pixels each, that totals to 3 Terra pixels of imaging data.
Latest release is available as “SDSS-III DR8″ from “DSS” menu on front page. It also replaces DR7 survey for default “SDSS” survey id in direct link, i.e. Previous DR7 is available using “SDSS7″ survey id: as We still working on some image defects cleanup. New update will be available shortly.

We’ve received several requests from our users for ability to invert colors of sky map images for printing purpose. You can now find “Negative” checkbox on our snapshot tool page.

Due to constantly growing visitors traffic to our resource and growing amount of data available on sky-map our existing servers reached its capacities and require a serious upgrade. We have opened fundraiser campaign. Please read this page for details. We would appreciate any help. Thank you!

January 2011 status update

End of 2010 was quite hot for our servers. Visitors traffic grown from usual 300,000 visits per month to over 1,500,000 visits in December alone. Our poor 6 years old servers reached it’s capacities on all ends – processors power, disks space and IO performance. We had to shut down some services in order to keep our servers up.

In other news, Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) last week released new version – SDSS-III (DR8). It is most significant update since probably DR3. It now covers 1/3 of whole sky. In addition all existing fields has been rebuild with higher quality. The imaging survey contains about a million fields 3 mega pixels each, that totals to 3 Terra  pixels of imaging data (compare to 1 Terra pixel of whole sky DSS2 sky survey). We are currently working on adding new SDSS data to our sky map.

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In my opinion Wikipedia is absolutely the greatest information resource on Internet. It showed true meaning of Internet itself – open share of Knowledge with ability to contribute to it by everyone. It inspired our project. WikiSky team contributed a lot, specifically into astronomical section – information and imagery data.
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About “Giant spaceships heading towards Earth” news

As I mentioned in previous post our site flooded with visitors looking for space ships on the sky map. The majority of traffic is coming from Russia and Eastern Europe. I found several news site posted the news about some SETI officials pointed on some images of space ships on sky map. I tried to find the source of that claim and found this 11 month-old video on youtube:

It looks like someone made a joke linking recent news about discontinue SETI program and that video with “space ship”.
Here’s more recent video:

According to our traffic jump, the news caused nation-wide paranoia. Wow, the power of mass media!

More video:

“flying saucers” on SkyMap?

For the last three weeks the SkyMap has been flooded with visitors looking for “flying saucers”. The source is the news bouncing from blog to blog and lately carried by larger media sites about some mysterious space ships detected by SETI. Here’s one of the iteration of the news:

3 very large object flying to the Earth
space ship?

The length of the “flying saucers” – tens of kilometers. We(SETI) just have to tell: three very large object flying towards our planet. Landing, according to calculations of scientists, held in mid-December 2012. Date coincides with the end of the Mayan calendar.

Concerned about the management of SETI (the project on Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) issued a statement whose meaning is placed in the name of the sci-fi thriller “Alien invasion”.

- A few very large objects rapidly approaching the Earth – says astrophysicist Craig Kasnov. – You can verify this!

He recommends to go to a map Space site and enter the coordinates of the giant UFO:
19 25 12 -89 46 03 – the first large object
16 19 35 -88 43 10 – a cylindrical object
02 26 39 -89 43 13 – the object as a circle
The project participants are assured that the facilities are absolutely real, and the American space agency NASA is trying to conceal important information.

Post scientists immediately divided the earthlings into two opposing camps. Some believe that these ships are flying save humanity from the terrible calamities that can happen on Earth in a short time, others are preparing to star wars.

- In any case, the only thing we can do now – wait for it – says Kasnov. – Soon celestial objects will be visible in a good telescope”

Here’s one of the article

I don’t know about SETI’s claim on space ships, but I can assure you that what you can find on DSS here is mostly telescopes, photographic plates and image processing defects.

DSS all sky survey is a digitized version of two half sky surveys that took place about 30 years ago. The original surveys were taken on photographic plates (there wasn’t digital photography back then, well, at least not in that massive form as we see it today). About 10 years ago the plates had been scanned and digitized. The process probably introduced artifacts like scratches and dust in addition to telescope reflection and photo plates defect artifacts.

What I want to say is anything suspicious you find here on DSS survey must have explanation without involving little green creatures.

Newly discovered planet in Gliese 581 may be first truly habitable exoplanet

Astronomers have announced the discovery of a planet with about three times the Earth’s mass orbiting the nearby red dwarf star Gliese 581. That in itself is cool news; a planet like that is very hard to detect.

But the amazing thing is that the planet’s distance from the star puts it in the Goldilocks Zone: the region where liquid water could exist on its surface!

See the Bad Astronomy Blog post for details.

Unidentified object mystery solved

In previous post I asked about unknown object on one of the latest APOD images. I thought it could be a supernova. But it appears to be a simple image processing error. Mystery solved!

Supernova near NGC 5216?

Beautiful image of NGC 5216 on today’s astronomy picture of the day ( I notice some new object at (13:32:39 62°42’52″). Does anyone know what is that? Supernova?

Looking for Nibiru. Please check out this video

For those who are looking for Nibiru please check out this video first: