Washington: A giant object the size of a planet that appeared lurking near Mercury in a NASA footage has caught the attention of alien-hunters who say it could be a "cloaked" spaceship parked near the planet.
The object appears from nowhere in a sequence of images
of a coronal ejection from the Sun taken by NASA`s STEREO
In the footage, one sees a huge spurt of plasma and other
solar ejecta washing over Mercury; peculiarly, the material
seems to flare up as it hits another nearby object, too.
"It`s cylindrical on either side and has a shape in the
middle. It definitely looks like a ship to me, and very
obviously, it`s cloaked," YouTube-user siniXster said in his
commentary on the footage which has gone viral and been viewed
by more than 100,000 users on the video-sharing site.
There`s "absolutely no explanation" for the mystery
object other than that it`s a spaceship. "What object in space
cloaks itself and doesn`t appear until it gets hit by energy
from the sun?" the user asked.
However, experts said that there is no alien race hiding
away in our solar system, a website reported.
The image from the telescope was analysed by the US Naval
Research Laboratory, with engineer Nathan Rich explaining that
the "mysterious object" is actually the image of Mercury from
the previous day.
To make sure that the solar flare stood out, researchers
compared the image with one taken a day before and subtracted
anything that appeared twice. In this process stars are easily
eliminated, but moving objects, such as planets, are more
difficult to remove, Rich explained.
"When (this averaging process) is done between the
previous day and the current day and there is a feature like a
planet, this introduces dark artifacts in the background where
the planet was on the previous day, which then show up as
bright areas in the enhanced image," Rich told a website.