On July 19, 1952, the Palomar Observatory, located in San Diego County (California, USA), took pictures of the night sky as part of a project to detect unusual objects, such as asteroids.
About an hour apart, they photographed the same part of the sky and then compared the resulting images.
At 20.52 pm they photographed an area with very bright stars, including a cluster of three stars located close to each other. They were too bright to be asteroids, so everyone agreed that they were stars and not something else.
Nearly an hour later, at 9:45 pm, astronomers re-photographed the same sky region and were astonished to find that the cluster of three stars had vanished completely, not merely shifted. They appeared to have ceased to exist within that short time frame.
The sudden disappearance of stars is highly unusual; typically, stars may undergo changes such as explosions or dimming, but they do not vanish without a trace.
In this case, the stars’ potential dimming would have to be on a colossal scale—by a factor of 10,000 or more—to account for their disappearance from the photographs.
This enigma leads to speculation about the catastrophic event, possibly of universal proportions, that could cause such rapid and complete star extinction.
Recently, Enrique Solano’s research team re-examined this incident and made several assumptions.
The first theory proposed was that there were not three stars, but one. And that it temporarily became very bright due to a fast radio burst, and then a stellar-mass black hole passed between it and the Earth, causing the burst to gravitationally disperse briefly into three stars.
The problem with this idea is that such an event is extremely rare. Almost exceptional.
Secondly, it was suggested that the cluster in the photo was not actually stars, but were other objects, possibly from the Oort Cloud, that some event had simply caused them to temporarily become very bright.
A more extravagant theory was that the photo was accidentally exposed to radioactive dust.
The fact is that the Palomar Observatory is located relatively close, according to the authors of the theory, from the New Mexico desert, where nuclear weapons tests were actively carried out in the 1950s.
Radioactive dust from the tests may have contaminated the photographic plates, creating bright spots in the first image. In the 1950s, scientists repeatedly noticed spots of radioactive dust on photographic plates, so the theory is quite real.
The truth is that the distance from the desert where the nuclear tests were carried out to the observatory is actually more than 700 miles. In fact, the whole state of Arizona is located between them. Isn’t the distance too long for radioactive dust?
As for ufologists, they have long believed that Californian astronomers accidentally photographed huge alien ships, which soon simply flew away to another place at superluminal speed, which is why they were not in the second picture.