The internet was going wild this weekend after NASA’s STEREO satellites reportedly spotted a weird round object passing across the face of the Sun. As you can imagine, conspiracy theorists gobbled this right up and started spewing their mumbo jumbo.
Image Credit: STEREO
Claims went as far as saying it was related to aliens and government conspiracies, but according to NASA, that’s not the case. In fact, there’s a perfectly logical explanation for where this strange object came from.
It turns out that these kinds of things can happen when STEREO’s onboard camera sensor becomes overloaded. This causes what’s known as an image corruption. In this case, what we’re seeing is an image where there was a jitter in recording data properly.
The conclusion is shared on the STEREO website. This sort of thing reportedly happens from time to time simply because technology isn’t perfect, and it will contiue to happen.
“On rare occasions, the SECCHI image processor onboard STEREO becomes overloaded, and produces corrupted images,” the website explains. “Generally, these take the form of images from one telescope processed as if they were from another telescope.”
“Because the images from the Heliospheric Imager (HI) telescopes are built up from a large number of exposures added together, this sometimes results in "double exposures", where data from several telescopes appear in the same image.”
So, about that big round object you see in the image… It’s not coming from aliens at all. In fact, it doesn’t even exist; it’s just a malfunction in the camera.
For conspiracy theorists, that’s a hard pill to swallow. But rest assured, no one knows space equipment better than NASA does, and they’re the most qualified group in the world to come up with these conclusions when strange things occur that we can’t explain.
Source: DailyMail, STEREO