An alien spacecraft parked next to Mercury?
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Last Updated: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 17:36
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 spacecraft.

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.


First Published: Thursday, December 08, 2011, 17:36

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