This Week’s Show Notes
Show 89. Notes for March 5th
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New newscaster, John Tobin is in Ireland, so first Andy Fleming’s astronomy report is as follows:
715 Planets Discovered
Most of them are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to the Earth. John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said, “That these new planets and solar systems look somewhat like our own, and portend to a great future when we have the James Webb Space Telescope in space to characterize the new worlds.”
Since the discovery of the first planets outside our solar system roughly two decades ago, verification has been a laborious planet-by-planet process. Now, scientists have a statistical technique called multiplicity that can be applied to many planets at once, when they are found in systems that harbour more than one planet around the same star. It relies in part on the logic of probability, it is a process that ultimately verifies multiple planet candidates in bulk and is unveiling a veritable bonanza of new worlds.” These multiple-planet systems are fertile grounds for studying individual planets and the configuration of planetary neighbourhoods. This provides clues to planet formation.
Four of these new planets are less than 2.5 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s habitable zone, defined as the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet may be suitable for life-giving liquid water. One of these new habitable zone planets, called Kepler-296f, orbits a star half the size and 5 percent as bright as our sun. Kepler-296f is twice the size of Earth, but scientists do not know whether the planet is a gaseous world, with a thick hydrogen-helium envelope, or it is a water world surrounded by a deep ocean.
“From this study we learn planets in these multi-systems are small and their orbits are flat and circular — resembling pancakes — not your classical view of an atom,” said Jason Rowe, research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, and co-leader of the research. “The more we explore the more we find familiar traces of ourselves amongst the stars that remind us of home.”
This latest discovery brings the confirmed count of planets outside our solar system to nearly 1,700. As we continue to reach toward the stars, each discovery brings us one step closer to a more accurate understanding of our place in the galaxy.
Launched in March 2009, Kepler is the first NASA mission to find potentially habitable Earth-size planets. Discoveries include more than 3,600 planet candidates, of which 961 have been verified as bona-fide worlds.
For more information about the Kepler space telescope, visit:
Alejandro Rojas reports on International UFO Congress
Guest Judy Messoline
Judy joins us to talk about the UFO Watchtower and building it, they will come!
The Latest Blogs
Will Our Fate Be That of the Dinosaurs?
February 20, 2014by Andy Fleming
In the 1970s Walter Alvarez, a professor in the Earth and Planetary Science department at the University of California, Berkeley started to form a hypothesis connecting an asteroid impact, the presence of its global Iridium layer in the rock strata, and the loss of the dinosaurs in what has become known as the Cretaceous–Tertiary (or K-T) mass extinction event.
Verified by geological dating, the location of the asteroid’s impact crater was eventually discovered at Chicxulub, in the Yucatán Peninsula. The now confirmed scientific theory made truly shocking reading. It stated that 66 million years ago, our planet was hit by a space rock 10kms in diameter traveling at 40,000kph. Taking two seconds to traverse the atmosphere it buried itself kilometres deep in the Earth’s crust, with resultant molten ejecta traversing the entire globe. Worldwide cataclysmic fires created dense and choking dust and smoke that blocked out most sunlight for years. Temperatures plummeted, and 75% of all species on Earth, including dinosaurs became extinct. In this epic catastrophe, small dinosaurs capable of flight survived to become modern day birds. Tiny underground shrew-like animals that lived on roots also survived.
In terms of longevity of their reign of over 150 million years, the dinosaurs are to this day the most successful creatures ever to walk the Earth. Their sudden demise however, ushered in the age of the mammals that would one day evolve into us. Without the Chicxulub impact, debatably the most intelligent species ever seen on Earth i.e. ‘us’ simply wouldn’t exist. Mammals truly did inherit the Earth.
Well known in the UFO community as an author and as the director of NICAP, Major Donald Keyhoe was a Marine pilot and established author well before the flying saucer craze of the late 1940s. He authored several books on unidentified flying objects, including the classic Flying Saucers Are Real. Although his experience in the aviation field and Pentagon contacts gave him a certain amount of authority, his detractors pointed to some of his other writings to discredit his work.
by Michael Lauck
Faith is an integral part of daily life. Although the word is commonly used in regards to religion, faith is not exclusively connected to one’s religious belief. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary website does offer both “belief in the existence of God” and “a system of religious beliefs” as definitions for faith but the very first definition is merely “strong belief or trust in someone or something.” When one uses this definition, it is easy to find examples of faith in daily life. Most people, for example, start their day thanks to the faith they have placed in an alarm clock.
Fall is starting to settle in around the US, bringing the new television season along with cooler temperatures and falling leaves. As we realize that our loyal listeners probably tear themselves away from their MP3 players and computers at least occasionally to watch a little TV, we thought this week we would present some thoughts on some of the new and returning UFO shows.
60 Min, Destination America
The press releases announcing Alien Mysteries promised state of the art special effects to recreate stories of encounter with extraterrestrials. Unfortunately, this show just does not deliver the effects promised. Instead, the show has primitive CGI effects which are repeated several times each episode. Even relatively simple scenes, such as cars driving down highways, are presented using the poor effects and overall the sub-par effects detract from the show. If you can get past the poor visuals used during the re-enactments, though, Alien Mysteries does a fairly good job using the words of the original witnesses and investigators to tell the stories of close encounters. Each episode focuses on a single event (such as Rendlesham Forest) or the experiences of a single group of witnesses, so Alien Mysteries has the time to explore each story they just unfortunately do not seem to have enough footage for each episode.
Why would an extraterrestrial civilization come here of all places in the universe? This is a commonly asked question by the UFO skeptics and debunkers. Personally, I think this is a rather unimportant question. I really honestly do not expect to understand the motivations of an alien species. Some may consider this taking the easy way out, but our own history is full of examples where cultures misunderstand each other’s motivations and desires. If American Indians did not understand what drove the Europeans, how are we to understand the thought process of an entirely different life form? As of this week, though, the question can be laid to rest.
Dr. Jesse Marcel Jr., the son of Army intelligence officer and Roswell witness Major Jesse Marcel, passed away on Saturday, August 24 of an apparent heart attack. He was 76 years old. Although he was a doctor and not a UFO researcher, Marcel was an advocate for his father’s story of the UFO crash at Roswell and claimed to have seen some of the wreckage himself. In 2008 he co-wrote The Roswell Legacy with his wife Linda.
As a child, Jesse Marcel Jr. was an avid model builder and radio hobbyist. His father was a HAM radio operator and in interviews years later the younger Marcel could still recite his father’s call letters. On July 7, 1947 both men’s live when change drastically when Major Marcel was ordered to investigate a debris field reported by Mac Brazel to Sheriff George Wilcox. Major Marcel and another army officer collected debris that they felt did not come from any conventional aircraft or weather balloon. On his way back to the Roswell Army Air Field from the crash site, which was several miles away, the major made a fateful decision. Excited by the discovery, he decided to stop by his home despite the late hour.
One of the common arguments used by skeptics and debunkers is that UFO witnesses are actually inserting pop culture imagery into their memories or interpretations of an event. For example, they will state that abductees see “Greys” because the Grey alien archetype was prominently featured on book covers and in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Of course this argument completely (and conveniently) overlooks the fact that the creatures depicted on these book covers and in the film were based on descriptions of experiencers who had not seen the movie or books. Nonetheless, the argument is still put forth confidently and is often not even questioned. How can this assertion be derailed?
Ivan T. Sanderson is probably best remembered today as a cryptozoologist. In fact, he is credited with coining the term cryptozoology. However, in addition to his work as a zoologist and monster hunter he also investigated unidentified flying object encounters. He wrote several books on flying saucers and was one of the first investigators to focus on unidentified submersed objects, or USOs. Sanderson was also commissioned by a magazine to investigate the so-called Braxton County Monster and spoke of the incident in radio interviews.
One of the most sensational abduction cases of the 1970s, the Pascagoula Incident remains unsolved to this day. On October 11, 1973 two co-workers out fishing claimed to have been taken by three strange looking aliens into their spaceship, examined and released. The two men attempted to report their encounter to a nearby military base who referred them to the local sheriff. Thinking that the two men could be caught in a lie that would expose a hoax the sheriff left the men together in a room with a hidden microphone after his initial interviews. Much to the surprise of law enforcement, the men did not reveal a hoax but instead had a conversation that just reinforced their claims. The story spread from local media to international wire services and was investigated by Dr. J. Allen Hynek and others. Detractors note that nearby security cameras should have seen the craft the men described but other witnesses have reported seeing the craft on the same night.