Rumor Mill Churns With NASA’s Upcoming Announcement

This past Wednesday, NASA announced they have scheduled a press conference for next Wednesday, May 14, at 1 p.m. EDT, to reveal the discovery of an object in our galaxy that astronomers have been hunting for more than 50 years. This gives everyone an entire week to speculate, ruminate and in some cases go off the deep end about what the announcement will entail. On the internet the conjecture goes from logical (intermediate or supermassive black holes) to wacko (aliens, Planet X, or something to do with the Mayan calendar) to hilarious (the Death Star or socks lost in the dryer.)

NASA says the finding was made by combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory with ground-based observations, so some of those are obviously wrong (are socks visible in X-ray?).

We’re an impatient species, always wanting to know a secret and know it now, so NASA may have erred in giving us so much time to wonder. And surely, the news will leak out before the 14th because we’re also a species that likes to spill the beans.

To pass the time until the 14th, if you’d like to take a stab at what the announcement might be, post a comment. Intelligent and non-conspiracy theory guesses only, please.

120 Replies to “Rumor Mill Churns With NASA’s Upcoming Announcement”

  1. WITH THE TECHNOLOGY THAT WAS PRESENT 50 YEARS AGO I DOUBT THEY STARTED LOOKING FOR EARTH SIZED PLANETS THEN, IT’S MOST LIKELY WATER ON MARS.

  2. If it’s not how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, then my guess is….or…

    not only definitive proof of a super massive black hole in the center of our galaxy, but also evidence of where it came from.

    (click the link attached to my name for more info)

  3. In order of possibilities;
    1) A true magnastar
    2) Population III white dwarf star
    3) Significant energetic outburst from a neutron star

    Most improbable…
    ET’s underwear !!

  4. Oh!!
    Magnetars are brighter in X rays than they are in visible light, and they are the only stars known that shine predominantly by magnetic power.

  5. We can see only light and lighted objects. We can see nothing in the darkness. We are only capable to see the original objects of solar system within the radius of 150 million kilometer only. Ahead of it everything is mere image into space mirror.
    Visit http://www.spacemirrormystery.com to know the original truth.

  6. Well it is got to be some thing seeable only in the X-ray zone of the spectrum.

    This most likely leads us to some issue about energy in that part of the spectrum.

    What were they looking for in 1957? Not planets. 95% chance it was not signals from another world. Most likely something run of the mill and mundain as usual with N.A.S.A.

    Probably a particular partical, or an energy burst, or another star of some type, maybe another black hole, or some cloud of gas or nebula. Could be just another big dumb rock that they wanna speculate might be heading toward us again.

    Maybe we will get lucky and it will be about Gravity waves. Most likely probably not. Some People get so excited over a little nothing like a rock or such as a flash of light, or some puff of space dust in a cloud.

    I wish they would have something really interesting to say. Something like, they found a way to see a distant planet really close up. Enough to see some terrain features, or discovered something not made by nature or man.

    It would be intresting to find some one that studies the stars in the H2O moleculer frequency part of the spectrum around the goldie-locks zone of idea stars for worlds like Earth sized planets.

    I do not know if that can be achieved in the X-ray zone of the spectrum. As far as anything to do with alien issues or tech, you can hang that up. It wont be anywhere near that exciting. It might be something more towards the lines of we picked up a signal from some probe we launched in 1957 that might still be active out there some where in space.

    Or maybe we recieved an echo reflection of an episode of the Honeymooners bounced back at us from a distant object that we always wondered if it was there or not, and picked it up on that band because of red shift or something.

    It isnt going to be nothing that disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle floating out there found.

    Its probably something to do with the cosmic microwave background and what they believe they discovered about moments after the big bang.

    An object,….. in the X-ray of the spectrum? viewable from the ground even.

    Its probably what they call the Holy Grail of Cosmology. the 4 numbers they use to figure out the size of the universe with the hubble constant. oh well. What ever.

  7. I’d hazard a guess at observational evidence for a Supermassive Black Hole. Failing that, it could be an Earth sized planet orbiting another star, but that’s unlikely in the extreme with Chandra and ground based observations.

  8. They’ve discovered a structure/ship of alien design near Centauri A. They’re taking time to discuss the ramifications of its revelation.

  9. A neutron star in Cas A ?

    A Thorne-Å»ytkow object (these were proposed in 1977) but who knows… 🙂

  10. A distant companion star to the sun, Sol B.

    Or

    A true 10th planet (oops 9th, my bad) .

  11. They discovered a source of stable long term research project funding for astronomers!

  12. A flare of x-rays from our normally quiescent galactic core…proof of the black hole.

  13. let’s see, around 50 years ago, was the day the Earth stood still. Klaatu presented a gift to study life on other worlds, but the gift was shot by a twitchy soldier.

    In light of that, my guess is that we’ve found a signal, in the vicinity of the Alpha Centauri.

    3 months from now, we’ll decipher the signal and realize that it’s only a Notice regarding the construction of a hypergalactic bypass.

    Let me get my e-Thumb ready.

  14. an object in our galaxy that astronomers have been hunting for more than 50 years

    …which means it’s probably not a black hole or especially a neutron star discovery.

    Don’t forget NASA announcements tend to be underwhelming.

    I bet it’s hot galactic gas clouds or something similar extremely fascinating.

  15. Were we looking for black holes 50 years ago?

    What did someone in 1958 suggest might be out there?

  16. It’s gotta be the socks…

    GE secretly modified the construction of dryers and for the last 50 years have been able to create mini-wormholes that suck only socks to a distant point in our galaxy.

    As billions and billions of socks have accumulated, they finally gaines sufficient mass to create a gravitational field strong enough to attract objects as satellites.

    Since socks are not observable using x-rays, it was only by combining both x-rays and ground-based observations to determine the existence of this “planet”.

    The surprising part of the announcement will be new funding for NASA from GE so GE can utilize their “planet” for build new plants to build cheaper white goods.

    Or the remnants of “Vger” last seen in tar Trek: The Motion Picture.

  17. BTW, Jason Oblivion —
    You’re entitled to your viewpoint and your politics, but you might want to consider that President Bush has done a great deal to advance space-based research and development programs, including a schedule for putting a manned colony on the Moon and, eventually, another on Mars, as well as green-lighting New Horizons, which had been stalled for years under the previous administration and was almost given up for dead by the time Dubya gave the OK for it (he wasn’t the only one, but he certainly was involved). The previous administration, on the other hand, did absolutely nothing to advance our space program or cooperate with others’ programs, and only money from private donors kept the few programs we had going alive. Dubya has also signed into law the establishment and ongoing maintenance of what is literally the largest marine preserve on the planet, the offshore waters of the northern branch of the Hawaiian Islands — while the previous administration didn’t do squat for science in general. The logical implication of “George Bush is stupid” is “space programs are stuplid, and programs to preserve and study marine ecosystems are stupid.” Plus, the man graduated from Yale University with an MBA and high grades; a knack for business administration should be a requirement for the job of President of the United States, since the USA is like a giant corporation, one which needs to be managed carefully. I know it’s fashionable to blame President Bush for everything from Hurricane Katrina to the wildfires that nearly consumed Southern California last year — but fashion has no particular relationship to truth, after all. If you’re going to criticize him, which is your right, sticking to facts might be a whole lot better than embracing fringe-group attacks on someone they have decided is the enemy. If the Iraq War is the problem, in spite of MoveOn.org’s endless campaign to obscure the facts, the President never lied about WMDs, only quoted intel given him by the British, which at the time he had no reason to believe was other than truthful. And since then, WMDs *have* been discovered in Iraq — and elsewhere in the Middle East. We did have good reason to go in to Iraq — and, as long as that country needs help staving off insurgent violence, we can only hurt that country by withdrawing before the problem is solved. Entered in evidence.

  18. Oops — almost forgot: In the last couple of weeks, President Bush announced that he has decided that global warming is real, and that we need to start figuring out the best ways to deal with it. That gives MoveOn.org one more reason to hate him — now they can’t scream about Bush’s administration “not caring about the environment.”

  19. Maybe they found Schrödinger’s cat, and though still somewhat dead it wants revenge for all the thought experiments it has been subjected to all these years.

  20. According to the Chandra status page at Harvard there’s been a bunch if observations made of cyg-x1 in the last couple of months.

  21. It’s going to be that 20 solar mass black hole that was found late last year. I was listening to one of the great UC berkley classes podcast, and Prof. Filippenko thought that it was a controversial enough find that he checked their math/ observations and brought it up during one of his classes. its the biggest one found so far, and it’s been long enough to back up the findings and have them truly peer reviewed. NASA hasnt said anything about it since the find, which is kinda important, so i think this it.

  22. Considering the clues provided I would guess more solid evidence for dark matter has been found, the event horizon for the supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy, or an intermediate sized black hole.

  23. Yael, you seem to forget that Nasa has a severely cut budget, because the money they used to get is being used for that so-called war. Who’s responsible for that?

    Plus they can’t find Bush’s brain because he doesn’t have one.

    It also amuses me that finding aliens is “wacko” but yet we have SETI. I guess unless they communicate by radio they can’t be real.. like we would be able to understand some raw radio signal anyway. Who says they would use the same equipment we do? That’s not science. But eye witness repots from pilots, scientist, police, etc, that doesn’t count. They are all wackos.

    The closed mindedness of some so called scientific people is appalling. Going out of your way to try and debunk things is not science.

  24. Actually, what they’ve found is evidence that the answer to the question, “What Is The Meaning of Life?” is…

    42

  25. 42 was the answer… what we don’t know was what it was an answer to! The question was never reveled.

  26. Something as simple as a recent supernova in the Milky Way?

    Haven’t all the recent supernova discovered for past few hundreds of years been in other galaxies? The last one observed in the Milky Way being in 1680 in Cassiopeia?

    If a supernova occurred on the other side of the galaxy it would take an X-Ray telescope to detect it thru the crap in the center of the galaxy. And this would be a big event, to say the least!

  27. From the clues given and the recent scientific upheavals, there are a few candidates :
    – it could be the detection of water vapour and organic molecules in a planet in a habitable zone.
    – it could be more information regarding the mysterious anomaly of the mass-luminosity of the galactic clusters or groups.
    -it could also more information about the central black hole in our galaxy…

    but who knows, it could be the socks too….

  28. Hmmm… NASA… Americans…. must be – OIL!

    I would prefer it to be a warp drive signature!

  29. Apparently the calculated mass needed to ignite a star was incorrect. Jupiter is about to light up…

  30. Quote”
    MEDIA ADVISORY : M08-089 NASA to Announce Success of Long Galactic Hunt WASHINGTON — NASA has scheduled a media teleconference Wednesday, May 14, at 1 p.m. EDT, to announce the discovery of an object in our Galaxy astronomers have been hunting for more than 50 years. This finding was made by combining data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory with ground-based observations.”

    The above is the full text of the announcement and it clearly says it is related to Chandra and Earth based observations. In light of recent discoveries by XMM-Newton I would say it is more evidence of Dark matter or the Big Bang.

  31. My bet is they found all the missing air line luggage over the past 50 years. They did it by detecting residual X-rays in the luggage from the security X-ray machines!

  32. Carlos- “more evidence of Dark matter”?? They’ve yet to find ANY evidence of dark matter or of dark energy!!

  33. I just hope they have justification for this teasing. It also concerns me, even though it’s no surprise, that they’ve created this stir. It proves they “control” the information and leaves citizens, a.k.a. taxpayers, in the dark.

    My positive guess: evidence of an event horizon. The NASA site about Chandra even tells of its capability: “detect X-rays from matter swirling as close as 90 kilometers from the event horizon of a stellar black hole”

    My negative guess: evidence that a star is preparing to go supernova within the next 5 years (ref: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/multimedia/photos08-018.html)

  34. You know, Betelgeuse was recently imaged and resolved as a disk rather than a point of light. From a ground observatory too, if I remember correctly.

    It is possible that Cygnus X-1 has also been imaged and confirmed to be a black hole visually. There was ALOT of attention in that area of the sky just recently.

    Maybe not the X-Ray source itself but the system was imaged, which also contains a blue supergiant. And black holes fit the ‘searching for more than 50 years’ mentioned in the cryptic press release from NASA.

  35. My suggestion:

    The term wormhole was coined by the American theoretical physicist John Wheeler in 1957. However, the idea of wormholes was invented already in 1921 by the German mathematician Hermann Weyl in connection with his analysis of mass in terms of electromagnetic field energy.[1]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wormhole

    Could it be? 🙂

  36. Amazing. These responses may prove more revealing than the answer to the original question. Clearly, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Let’s see. Fifty years may be a clue, or it may be more evidence of ignorance on the part of the press release writer. Then again, NASA’s announcements are nearly as peer reviewed as academic papers.

    On the other hand, Teleconference = Not “earth shattering” in the sense of the “unlikely.”

    If “more than fifty years” is an actual clue, that’s a pretty strong hint the “object” may have been discovered by the earliest satellites and sounding rockets.

    Aerobee (Giacconi? – Cambridge?) found “Scorpius X-1” in 1962, @ 60,000 sols absolute magnitude, later resolved as a neutron star gobbling up a companion, with attendant “death screams of matter” accelerated onto it’s surface. A variable, by as much as a couple of magnitudes, 9000 lyrs away with an eclipsing companion passing nearly edge-on in Earth’s line-of-sight.

    Not very mysterious any longer, and discovered less than fifty years ago, invisible from the ground.

    Other X-ray objects in the sky, Sag. A* – downtown Milky Way, a few novae and other active binaries – in the neighborhood – all invisible from the ground…

    Ground-based observations, they said?

    Chandra = X-rays. Add ground-based observations through a highly X-ray opaque atmosphere and you have a very bright object previously unresolved, then this probably has something to do with resolving the source of the original “X-ray sky,” a smudgy background spoiling medical images, I thought a long time prior to fifty years ago.

    Black holes were predicted, as was their distinctive X-ray scream, but the very first time I can remember hearing the theory of them being at the core of (nearly) all galaxies was 1970, and long before Sag. A* was resolved from orbit.

    I’m going to take a wild guess… Within the past few years the Milky Way’s X-Ray background was resolved as, rather than being a diffuse and scattered radiation into what is believed by many to be a huge under-counting of advanced-in-age white dwarfs and tens of millions of discrete sources – main sequence stars – like our sun (the brightest x-ray source and visible from the ground).

    Perhaps they’ve confirmed this and determined another huge chunk of the the missing mass results from under-counting of stars.

    Regardless, after the “announcement,” whatever it is, you can be sure a lot of us will be checking the “new information” against the “hints” in this press release.

  37. Obviosly :
    1. T hey found the true shape of the Universe and it matches the Physicist- Cosmologist “Surferdude’s” theory almost perfectly.
    or

    2. My personal opinion in laymen’s terms , is that our universe has a leak at a singularity and the “missing dark matter and dark energy” don’t really exist at all and it is simply an external force pulling out everything from our universe into another universe. The laws of conservation of energy etc. merely need to take into account the entire mass of all the multiple universes combined.

  38. What on earth doe this article have to do with George Bush anyway ?
    This article we are commenting on is about NASA and their pending news conference !

    Any how , Henry Kissinger explained to Charlie Rose on his show that “This invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with WMD’S it was just all about payback for 9/11 and merely to send a message to the middle eastern countries who support terrorists not to come over to the USA on our turf and blow up any more buildings”

    Other articles claimed that it was a militarily sound campaign unfolding i.e to drop down into the center of the heartland of your enemy and expand from that center. The mind set of the entire nation was that we were in a War after 9/11 .
    In a War secrecy is paramount so reasons given are not always the truth so forget about George Bush and the WMD’S and stop being so gullible in believing everything you read. I wonder if it is only in the USA that the media blabs out everything they can and the public is naieve enough to believe all the propaganda they are fed.

    Did you ever think that maybe it was many people other than Bush who came to this decision , a group which might have included many ultra conservative zealots including his staff and many behind the scenes.

    Do you Bush bashers really believe he was all alone in what happened since 9/11 ?

    If another major terrorist event took place , what would you want your president to do ?
    The public opinion sways with the winds of fortune no matter who is elected President.

    It was not too long After 9/11 that some major airlines complained about US Marshal’s taking up first class seats. They complained about the idea of issuing training and weapons to pilots of airliners in order to protect the cockpit. They worried about profiling passengers and screening them more than the safety of the plane .
    Personally , If a group from my own particular race continually brought down airplanes and trains and skyscrapers , I would be very happy to be triple checked before I got on a plane and any politically correct treatment as far as on board screening towards me would not be as important as my life.

  39. As the announcement says that the discovery involves an object, I very much doubt that the discovery was about missing dark matter or dark energy.

    My question is, why are they waiting so long to make the announcement about the discovery? It had better be something really good to create this much suspense.

    I bet there are a whole lot of people at NASA reading comments such as this and absoluting killing themselves laughing at our attempts to guess what it will be. Pity there’s no prize for guessing correctly!

    BTW, the question was “What is 7 x 6?”

  40. Something to do with the intergalactic medium perhaps. But x-ray astronomy isn’t really 50 years old, the first x-ray source was discovered in the early 60’s.

    GRB’s in the late sixties. In the fifties I suppose the discussion was still much on the structure and evolution of galaxies, as it is today. OOohh .. I cant wait ….

  41. the subject is defitely water in liquid form whichever planet it may be apart earth.

  42. If it’s such a secret then how does “Universe Today” know that it was an “object” that was detected? I think researchers have finally detected the ever elusive gravity wave resulting from the merger of either two neutron stars or black holes in our galaxy. Such an event would not only produce x-rays, along with gamma-rays but gravity waves as well. And a GRB was detected on May 5, 2008 by Swift, about which information is curiously enough being withheld. I’m just speculating, of course, but then so is everyone else here. 😉

  43. My guess is as follows —
    We have received a message from deep space: ………………>> “SEND MORE CHUCK BERRY” !!!

  44. I think it might be another planet, or something inside one of the planets we already know about. I’d say alien life but we’ve been looking for that for much, MUCH longer than 50 years.

  45. For 50 years the plans for an interstellar freeway have been kept on a habitable planet of alpha-centauri A. Waiting for any objections from the local community.

    Our planet needs to be demolished to make room for this freeway and we have not lodged any objections and time is up!

    We have not taking any interest in local affairs and the Vogan fleet are on their way to plough the road…

  46. The first quasars were discovered with radio telescopes in the late 1950s.
    It can be connected with them.
    And nobody earlier mentioned this option here ;).

  47. They decided that Earth is the only object in the solar system that gets the label of “planet” all the others are re-labeled extra solar orbiting masses…

  48. I think it is a wormhole.

    I highly doubt it’s population III star because even if one is discovered, I don’t see why it should be kept in secrecy.

    I do hope though that it is something alien to us, whether is be intelligent or not.

  49. For NASA to do this type of release about an announcement, it’s got to be something of relevance. I wouldn’t be disappointed if it’s about a blackhole or dark matter/energy, but I would feel like “Ohhh here it comes!!! Oh, well it’s a blackhole.” I need for it to be a wormhole or a definite discovery of water somewhere close. With it being the Chandra project, I’m starting to doubt that it’s water. Would a wormhole give off X-Ray emissions, in theory?

  50. They are going to discover that the lens was dirty and it was “just a dust spot, sorry”.

  51. If it was something with our own system, they would not have said “galaxy”, so it must be something other than planetary, unless exo-said. I’m guessing something related to the super-massive at the heart. Per us entering the galactic plane (coupled with new tech), perhaps this position offers a better ‘look’ at it?

  52. I’ll further clarify my earlier guess, I think they directly imaged the accretion disk surrounding Cygnus X-1, visually confirming that blackholes exist.

  53. NASA doesn’t get excited about the same things we normal people get excited about. This new discovery is some ‘egghead only’ thing of interest that will take numerous talking heads a half a year to explain in plain English to the rest of humanity.

    It’ll be some Muon and a Gluon meets a dark matter black quack attack.

    When eggheads get excited it’s dictionary time for the rest of us.

    Don’t get too speculative nor excited it’s just another ‘proof of physics so I won the bet’ thingie.

  54. hmmm…an outer sun or any form or signal or even the tiniest microscopic bit of a life form would constitute “a big announcement” to me….but that is probably asking too much…i just don’t think most people care about every little speck of dust or particle that may remotely might effect them. It’s hard to get excited but I’m hoping it’s something big and relevant.

  55. Yes, Nemesis, called also the Death Star, or Sol B, in other words probably a brown dwarf star in binary system with our Sun, or a giant planet orbiting it in a bigger distance – it is not such a bad bet, and quite consistent with the use of Chandra’s X-rays for the detection.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_(star)

    On the other hand the theory of Nemesis related dinosaur extinction is only 24 years old, so unless there was another theory about the Sol B before, or unless the 50 years is a false indice, it is probably not the right guess.

  56. Well since you haven’t heard the White House stating a big announcement is due it’s nothing of any interest to the general public.

    It’s as I posted earlier some nonsense only an egghead would be interested in that no one speaking English would ever care about nor understand.

  57. Guess what, one of the commenters got the correct answer – which has been made available to serious science writers today already. Under a strict embargo, of course, so I won’t tell you which one is the winner …

    Daniel

  58. So, after all these years, they finally found dark matter and Klingons around Uranus.

  59. I hope they’re announcing the discovery of that monolith that we should have discovered back in 2001, if humankind had progressed as Arthur C. Clarke anticipated.

  60. It is a high likelihood of something to do with the supermassive black hole in the center of our galaxy., or perhaps conclusive evidence that frame-dragging predicted by Einstein is correct. Other possibilities would be conclusive evidence of the existence of dark matter and dark energy.

    Maybe the universe is really quarked up to what it is suppose to be.

  61. I wish they would hurry up and tell us that Planet X (NIBIRU) to be real or not. We are a highly evolved and intelligent species and need to know the truth as time is of the essence.

  62. looks to me like they have discovered that we actually live in a bianary solor system and there is a brown dwarf start in an eliptical orbit around what we know as the curent solar system . and elvis, jesus and l ron hubbard are all going to be resserrected and rule the earth for a thousand years and raise bunnys and grow chia pet herb gardens and do there laudry in chocolate rives and there will be bunnies. lots of bunnys.

  63. POSTED:JamesB Says:
    May 10th, 2008 at 8:10 am
    Carlos- “more evidence of Dark matter”?? They’ve yet to find ANY evidence of dark matter or of dark energy!!

    Anyone who does not believe in “dark energy” has not met my kids! And “dark Matter”, their rooms are full of it.

    And please, no bunnies!

    But seriously, The “GREAT HUNT” was for what the bunnies left behind…the plastic Easter Eggs full of teeny tiny galaxies that contain teeny tiny intelligent alien life….Who knows where else they may be found (NASA found this one in Jersey)….I WANT TO BELIEVE…..

  64. Come on, some one probably found a doughnut shop where a deli used to be (damn those old out of date maps!!)

  65. Why is it ridiculous to conjecture some sort of alien evidence? Not that I think NASA is ready to reveal such a thing- but are you living in ther 1950s when this sort of thing was laughed at? Get with it people.

  66. Damn! I was really hoping they had finally found that one girl I banged back in college….

  67. I think x-rays are not needed for near Solar System inspection, so it could be something near the centre of Galaxy. May be the discovery of mysterious Dark Matter and Dark Energy. Could also be an interstellar Black Hole of small size.

    Or just simply could be a supernova ramnent near Galaxy’s centre in dust.

  68. I told you guys this announcement would be an “Egghead Only” type of anouncement because only NASA would get excited about this to the point they assumed we’d give to snots about it worthy of a press conference with suspense. It’s a great scientific discovery and will add to the knowledge of the workings of the cosmos, but as an attention grabber it’s about as exciting as watching socks dry.

    We can see 46,000 light years away but NASA still can’t tell us if there are planets at the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri.

    Go figure.

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