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scientific study of UFO (UAP)

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#1 drollere

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 03:18 PM

i'm posting here as a member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU; https://explorescu.org ). i do not speak for that group nor endorse it, but point out that both SCU and the harvard university "Galileo Project" ( https://projects.iq....du/galileo/home ), now joined by oxford and cambridge universities along with other citizen or public organizations, are approaching the topic of UFO (or, in the military nomenclature, UAP) as a serious, valid scientific research problem.

 

i will add that amendments proposed to the national defense authorization act (NDAA) for 2022 mandate the creation of an "office of UAP studies" or "anomaly resolution" to be jointly administered by the ODNI and DoD. you have no more certain measure of the seriousness with which this topic is taken by the US government than the fact that congress will require two rivalrous arms of the defense/intelligence establishment to collaborate in its study in order to "replicate any advanced characteristics and performance" of UFO -- in other words, to collaborate in the pursuit of weapons development.

 

my general question has to do with civilian surveillance and measurement that can produce evidence toward the purely scientific clarification of this issue. the question is not "are aliens among us?" but specifically how do these things behave, where do they appear, and what can be said about their physical and dynamic characteristics?

 

amaetur astronomers are known to be scientifically informed, invest in expensive hardware, tinker a bit, and spend long hours at the task. and they form a global community. there is also already off the shelf hardware designed explicitly to record UFO appearances, for example here . so the basic elements of technological solutions are already available.

 

my query is open ended. what is the general interest of the amateur astronomical community to pursue this novel astronomical category? how might tools already used by visual or astrophotographic hobbyists be utilized? where have amateur astronomy groups displayed an interest in this topic in the past?

 

my general call is to the average amateur astronomer: is this a topic we should be taking up? and who among us is willing to participate in what may be groundbreaking research?

 


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#2 ButterFly

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 03:56 PM

People take a stand one way or the other without any evidence whatsoever.  It's a little too heated for ordinary people to approach stoically.

 

The biggest issue is the timescale of some of the unexplained phenomena.  It can be hard to slew over fast enough to get a good shot through a scope.  People are rarely waiting camera in hand at just the right moment at just the right time.  All sky cameras are great, but also not at the same time for resolution or identification.  The hardware that amateur astronomers use is not very well suited for quick things.

 

In the future, I could see pairing an all-sky camera with an automated tracking mount.  Check for satellites, issue a goto command, guide with the guide scope, scope camera clicking away.  For slow things, that's not hard at the moment.

 

The last time I recorded something through a scope when I had no idea what it was is here.  It took some effort and didn't come out very well.  There are plenty of things I see and don't know what they are.  I really would rather just look.  The above ended up as a little spiral galaxy floating away.


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#3 freestar8n

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 04:35 PM

 

 the question is not "are aliens among us?" but specifically how do these things behave, where do they appear, and what can be said about their physical and dynamic characteristics?

 

One tell-tale sign is that they understand English and can communicate with humans freely, but their own language lacks capital letters.  So they avoid using them entirely.

 

Frank


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#4 dhkaiser

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 05:36 PM

From the late 1980's to the early 2000's I conducted a sky survey with a 35mm camera and 135mm lens.  Took over 5000 images and discovered over 40 new variable stars.  Was able to ID everything on all my images.  Good luck with this project.


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#5 Michael Covington

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 06:14 PM

Ruppelt's book about Project Blue Book in the 1960s helped to awaken my interest in science (and, separately, my wife's; we didn't know until within the past 10 years that we had both read it in our childhood!).

I think unidentified phenomena are worth studying, with the assumption that they need not all be the same thing and need not be space aliens (there is at present, in my opinion, no reason to suppose they are space aliens).  

We can discover new things about astronomy, the atmosphere, aviation, and human vision.  The Air Force is also interested in 2 more things: the possibility of seeing secret experimental craft put up by other countries, and whether our own high-altitude experiments are being seen.

Sadly, my impression over a very long term is simply that unidentified objects are badly observed objects, objects seen by people who aren't equipped to observe or remember them accurately, and often seen by people with strong preconceptions of what they want the objects to be.  It is striking that amateur astronomers don't see UFOs.

Even if I believed in space aliens, I would be grateful to UFO skeptics for clearing away the cases that are clearly something else.  Even if *some* UFOs were space aliens, most still would not be, and would need to be cleared away.

 


Edited by Michael Covington, 23 November 2021 - 08:45 PM.

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#6 Michael Covington

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 06:16 PM

One last whimsical thought.  A friend once asked me if I had ever seen an alien spacecraft.  Well, I replied, I see lots of satellites and such, and generally don't identify them.  An alien craft, from any appreciable distance, would look just like one of our own...



#7 Organic Astrochemist

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 08:02 PM

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.
https://www.defense....ena-task-force/

Perhaps someone should inform Harvard, Cambridge and the DOD that a relatively small number of astronomers are observing anything “in the air”.

Perhaps these people could be of more assistance:
https://act.audubon....ASAAEgJp1vD_BwE
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#8 vsteblina

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 09:06 PM

I have been a amateur astronomer for almost 60 years now.  I also worked as a forester for 50 years sleeping under a open sky, and on my own spent many a night in the middle of somewhere sleeping under an open sky.

 

All that...and THREE initial unexplained objects sighted.

 

A half disc moving quickly across the sky...a retinal burn of the moon on my eyeball at age 13.

 

At age 44, a half disc object moving across the southern horizon, without lights, but illuminated by the city lights of Wenatchee from the bottom. Worse yet, the guy NEXT to me saw it!!   

 

Thank god, the entire National Forest was burning down and we were accepting crews at Moses Lake throughout the night that weekend!!!  When I showed up for work Monday morning, a fellow employee told me about the military war games at Moses Lake that weekend, including the Stealth 117A?? fighter.  Yeah, that look just like a flying saucer.

 

At age 53??,  I was driving home from a fishing trip at dusk when I noticed a "daylight comet" in the twilight in the western sky!!!  Wait, the tail is off 45 degrees from the sun???  And then the "comet" exploded, and quickly vanished.

 

That one was tough.  I thought, well this one is going to the grave with me without explanation.  A couple of days later on UseNet, somebody from JPL asked if people had seen the "Star Wars" test from Vandenberg AFB.  Shooting down a missile with another missile!!!

 

So there you go....looking for UFO's works with people that have limited outdoor experience and don't know the night sky.  

 

Sorry,  we are ALONE.  But maybe years in the future, either we or they will find us.  I doubt either party will be shy.


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#9 ButterFly

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Posted 23 November 2021 - 11:41 PM

 

Sorry,  we are ALONE.  But maybe years in the future, either we or they will find us.  I doubt either party will be shy.

What are you basing that on?



#10 vsteblina

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 10:51 AM

What are you basing that on?

Which part?



#11 ButterFly

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 12:01 PM

Which part?

Any and all.



#12 tdfwds

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 01:52 PM

Sorry,  we are ALONE.  But maybe years in the future, either we or they will find us.  I doubt either party will be shy.

 

What are you basing that on?

This is a classic example of a very basic thing.

 

The first quoted statement states that scientifically, in terms of evidence and what's more testability we are alone.

 

The second quoted statement is a classic standard pseudoscientific response.  Such responses take the form of insisting that proof something not being the case is given, invariably in situations where there is no proof for saying it is.  Some don't see the distinction, but there is, you can make up and claim anything at all, from your wildest imagination, no matter how unrealistic or potentially impossible, and then insist others show it ain't so, despite not having shown it to be so in any way.

 

Another, viable, response could have been, analogous to the similar situation of religion and/or faith, that it is not an issue that can currently be discussed scientifically, as the devices and moieties for such are not available.

 

 

 

[Separate statement : As the speed of light in vacuo is still a constant, and what's more if attained my an object bearing mass, information destroying, and distances so immense, and the statistical chance of contemporaneous co-civilised or advanced civilisations such that the likelihood of any being nearby enough for within lifetime communication, let alone transport, is minimal, then even the chance of life elsewhere "now" is meaningless as there would be no chance of bilateral communication in any form.   Not forgetting a) no Stellar System like our own has been found, all purported planetary systems found are weird and nothing like ours, which doesn't necessarily lead to non-viability for life, but the only scientific reference standard is this system, b) this planet if just over four and a half aeons old, complex multicellular life is ony just over half an aeon old, and will be burnt off by another aeon or so, even if intelligent technological life remains extant from now on now it has ostensibly developed once.  There is no reason for the window of opportunity in the timescale on one planet to overlap that of another, as stars even of a type very in age, and any even if any contact had been viable for 4/5ths of the current age of this planet, there'd've been nothing.  In fact any visitation would have met with no signs of civilastion to speak of in the past million years or few.  However, the above stands as sufficient answer without this aside.  Repudiation is not the same as refutation].



#13 ButterFly

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 04:09 PM

I've never been to Bhutan.  I have heard from others that Bhutan exists.  They even claim to have been inside!  They could all be liars.  I know nothing of whether Bhutan exists or not.

 

The scientific method can only reject a null hypothesis.



#14 Michael Covington

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 04:28 PM

I've never been to Bhutan.  I have heard from others that Bhutan exists.  They even claim to have been inside!  They could all be liars.  I know nothing of whether Bhutan exists or not.

 

The scientific method can only reject a null hypothesis.

You're articulating the  Quine-Duhem thesis, which is that one can maintain any belief (e.g., nonexistence of Bhutan) in the face of any evidence, by modifying enough of your other beliefs (e.g., that there is a vast conspiracy).

There is no "the" scientific methods.  There are research methods that are more or less scientific.  There is debate about fundamental principles, e.g., Popperian falsificiationism, Ayer's verificationism (generally considered inadequate nowadays), Bayesian vs. Fisherian statistics, etc.  


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#15 ButterFly

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 04:40 PM

You're articulating the  Quine-Duhem thesis, which is that one can maintain any belief (e.g., nonexistence of Bhutan) in the face of any evidence, by modifying enough of your other beliefs (e.g., that there is a vast conspiracy).

There is no "the" scientific methods.  There are research methods that are more or less scientific.  There is debate about fundamental principles, e.g., Popperian falsificiationism, Ayer's verificationism (generally considered inadequate nowadays), Bayesian vs. Fisherian statistics, etc.  

I firmly believe that Bhutan exists, despte my not having been there.  That belief is informed by my trust in institutions such as the United Nations and the United States Department of State.  Again, I have never been to Bhutan.  Am I am idiot for trusting UN and State?  Probably.  Have UN and State providing some evidence of their trustworthiness in the past?  I'll assume, yes, then ask whether those past instances have any bearing on whether their saying Buthan exists means that it does.  Nothing about that line of reasoning is scientific albeit inferential.



#16 gregj888

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 05:02 PM

This is a classic example of a very basic thing.

 

The first quoted statement states that scientifically, in terms of evidence and what's more testability we are alone.

Classic logic would state that the "absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence"... It is all but impossible to prove we are along.

 

In the folklore of the Oregon Stat Party there was a sighting of a triangular object with no lights that silently came over one night.. but a dark shape isn't much proof one way or the other.  

 

Are we alone, doesn't seem likely statistically or otherwise if talking the universe or multiverse (;-) ) ...

 

As far as observing, all-sky cameras are getting pretty popular and a direct drive mount might have a chance of keeping up.  Getting a setup in the right place and at the right time might be tough.  Might want to consider a multi-messenger approach, UV, NIR, Radio, magnetic etc.

 

Take earth as an example, how would you detect earth?  We sent out a lot of radio waves for 50-60 years.  The spectrum spread then the power dropped dramatically.  What we do have that is fairly high powered now is highly directional.  With radio we have only been able to detect another civilization for th passed 50 or so years and have been detectable for maybe 70 or 80 years.  That's a pretty narrow window of opportunity all things considered.
 



#17 drollere

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 05:16 PM

People take a stand one way or the other without any evidence whatsoever.  It's a little too heated for ordinary people to approach stoically.

 

The biggest issue is the timescale of some of the unexplained phenomena.  It can be hard to slew over fast enough to get a good shot through a scope.  People are rarely waiting camera in hand at just the right moment at just the right time.  All sky cameras are great, but also not at the same time for resolution or identification.  The hardware that amateur astronomers use is not very well suited for quick things.

yes, this is why i posted the instrumentation link. i personally think triangulation using two or three widely separated fisheye cameras is the best approach for a limited geographical area and minimal hardware/software issues. but the superscientists with the galileo project are talking about using "telescopes" so presumably they will try imaging after some kind of preliminary sensor detection.

 

i think citizen science is a critical resource. there is a lovely extended video of a UFO captured by an airline pilot:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=Gu0EemWzZpM

 

but this is a one in a million serendipity. however, multiply it by the number of amateur astronomers who might video something strange at night, and the "capture field of view" expands tremendously. and amateurs could also contribute via crowdsourcing, for example in the way a lot of variable star, meteor, comet or deep sky image analysis is done already.



#18 drollere

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 05:39 PM

From the late 1980's to the early 2000's I conducted a sky survey with a 35mm camera and 135mm lens.  Took over 5000 images and discovered over 40 new variable stars.  Was able to ID everything on all my images.  Good luck with this project.

this is a great reference point. i don't have enough data from your post to be substantive, but let me sketch one scenario. the celestial hemisphere is roughly 20,000 square degrees, and assuming you're imaging a 10º wide true field means an image area of about 80º^2. assuming a 10 minute exposure and around 20 images a night means you are viewing a randomly located 0.4% patch of sky for about 3-1/2 hours over 250 nights. in that sky/time sample you see 0 UAP.

 

UAP generally are visible for only one or two minutes, but that is irrelevant provided they enter your FOV. but i think my scenario suggests that the probability a UFO entered your total visible sky across all nights you were observing is (whether you were actually out instead of in bed) would be less than (3-1/2/6 * 0.004)/250 or about 1 in 143,000 nights of observing.

 

that's ballpark consistent with other estimates, for example only about 1 in 5 commercial pilots have seen a UFO over their entire service career.
 


Edited by drollere, 24 November 2021 - 05:51 PM.


#19 drollere

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 05:52 PM

I think unidentified phenomena are worth studying, with the assumption that they need not all be the same thing and need not be space aliens (there is at present, in my opinion, no reason to suppose they are space aliens).  

We can discover new things about astronomy, the atmosphere, aviation, and human vision.  The Air Force is also interested in 2 more things: the possibility of seeing secret experimental craft put up by other countries, and whether our own high-altitude experiments are being seen.

Sadly, my impression over a very long term is simply that unidentified objects are badly observed objects, objects seen by people who aren't equipped to observe or remember them accurately, and often seen by people with strong preconceptions of what they want the objects to be.  It is striking that amateur astronomers don't see UFOs.

Even if I believed in space aliens, I would be grateful to UFO skeptics for clearing away the cases that are clearly something else.  Even if *some* UFOs were space aliens, most still would not be, and would need to be cleared away.

the "extraterrestrial hypothesis" is an almost spontaneous judgment that actual UFO witnesses come up with on their own. it was also, back in the 1950's, the explanation that seemed to explain the *presupposition* that UFO are technological thingies.

 

i agree completely with your skepticism; i see zero public evidence to substantiate any claim that UFO carry or are controlled by a superior intelligence. in fact, in the aggregate of all observations across seven decades, UFO seem notoriously stupid. in fact, the "ineffectual penetration" of US airspace and the dangerous way they were observed to hover over airports were early clues that they cannot be a foreign technology. the radar operator who observed them in the 1952 washington, d.c. "great flap" described them as "running around like children at play."

 

however, your conclusion that *all* UAP are "badly observed objects" flies in the face of quite a bit of evidence, to include the decision by the DoD to start studying them seriously (again) in around 2010, the sightings with multiple sensors, etc. the pentagon has been forced to take them seriously largely because of the frequency of encounters over the atlantic coast.
 

and, to your last point, my personal guess is that zero UFO are or carry "space aliens" ... but they're not sky trash, either. far too fast and too nimble.


Edited by drollere, 24 November 2021 - 06:06 PM.


#20 drollere

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 05:59 PM

Perhaps someone should inform Harvard, Cambridge and the DOD that a relatively small number of astronomers are observing anything “in the air”.

well, clyde tombaugh saw a UFO flyover from his back yard and filed an official report. meteor specialist lincoln lapaz saw one of the "green fireballs" over NM and initiated efforts to measure them. and, what the heck, i saw a flight of 9 UFO at very high altitude when i was a teenage astronomer. (initially i thought it was a satellite, and would have ignored it except i wanted to test my skill "finding" an object with my 10" cave astrola.) i don't know of any others.

 

so, i think you are probably correct: very few have. but we're also coming out of an era when talking about, much less reporting the sighting of UFO was rather crudely stigmatized. there just seems to be too much evidence, and too intensive government interest in their potential for weapons development, to scoff away.
 



#21 tdfwds

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 06:06 PM

Classic logic would state that the "absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence"... It is all but impossible to prove we are along.

 

In the folklore of the Oregon Stat Party there was a sighting of a triangular object with no lights that silently came over one night.. but a dark shape isn't much proof one way or the other.  

 

Are we alone, doesn't seem likely statistically or otherwise if talking the universe or multiverse (;-) ) ...

 

As far as observing, all-sky cameras are getting pretty popular and a direct drive mount might have a chance of keeping up.  Getting a setup in the right place and at the right time might be tough.  Might want to consider a multi-messenger approach, UV, NIR, Radio, magnetic etc.

 

Take earth as an example, how would you detect earth?  We sent out a lot of radio waves for 50-60 years.  The spectrum spread then the power dropped dramatically.  What we do have that is fairly high powered now is highly directional.  With radio we have only been able to detect another civilization for th passed 50 or so years and have been detectable for maybe 70 or 80 years.  That's a pretty narrow window of opportunity all things considered.
 

Precisely.

 

The absence argument is a philosophical one, not a scientific one.  You can't say we are alone, you can't see we are not alone.  So, no scientific study, no scientific observing.

 

Again, with the narrow window, you're saying can't test.  So not testable.

 

Current science, and I mean science, not theories, weird ideas, wormholes, mathematical gimmicks that ignore the lack of physical data, says no.  I'm afraid ironically astronomers of no sense of deep time.  We are EFFECTIVELY ALONE.  There is no way to tell one way or another if we are actually alone, so it is not testable.  And remember, folk don't mean amoebae or archaeobacteria when they say life, they mean star trek or star wars plethora of advanced civilisations.  Most more technically advanced "civilisations" in our history weren't overly benign to the intelligent life they met, whether we're talking Europeans in North and South America and Australia, or Slavs in the lands East of the Urals, where in all cases the meeting was not nice for the incumbent.

 

Of course there may be intelligent floaty things in the Jovian atmosphere, things crawling through the hydrocarbon gloop on Titan that take a century to complete one thought, there are all sorts of things you can think of, and science fiction authors sometimes have, it is not the same as being able to check for it.

 

As well as geologic deep time, the sheer amount of time needed to get significantly multicellular is four aeons ish here.  Yet why does it have to be DNA?  Most of these things purported, even when seriously, always are suspisciously at our scale, flying machines about the right size for hominid sized people.  Yet there is no reason for arthropods to exist anywhere else, let alone vertebrates or molluscs or anything else.  These views are usually stuck in the progression of life argument, whereas things didn't evolve, they have evolved via descent through natural selection, which isn't the same meaning.  We often tend to phrase it as if it had purpose behind it, maybe due to a hangup of old religions making people all special like.  A lot of natural selection on Earth in the past half aeon, and sometimes assumed prior, was accelerated at times due to niche changes, and especially major climate changes (usually massive ice ages that make the recent ones look like a few nights hoarfrost), all driven by plate tectonics, and neither 'habitable zone'/goldilocks planet either side of us has any real evidence of plate tectonics.

 

Really, not only is the popular Drake's Equation (popular no doubt as it is a simple multiplication formula) guilty of having terms that are not anywhere near being quantified meaningully, even before you get to the technical civilisation terms, but is entirely missing several, as it is heavily naive in its interpretation of what is needed for life, let alone intelligent life, etc, etc, etc.

 

There are amino acids out there in space, maybe RNA is an inevitability, and afterwards DNA, but the body forms don't necessarily have to follow.  Even if something was out there, it might not be even capable of communicating with us, irrespective of technology.  And even then, what's the common language?  Not mathematics, ever tried to learn what all the symbols of mathematics are and mean?  There are even more than one protocol at times to denote the maths, and binary numerical progression can only go so far.

 

We're effectively alone.

 

If 51 Pegasi has other planets, even an Earth one, its Sun is around six aeons old, does it always take around the same time to get to the radio window?  Or the pulsing laser blasts at folk, both are still restricted by the speed of light and the immense distances.  There are a lot of galaxies out there, you don't need parallel universes to assume there maybe some creature and civilisation akin to us somewhere in the universe, however, there is no universal here and now.

 

So we go back to being effectively alone, and having no way to test otherwise, scientific method wise.

 

Whilst we have a lot of circumstantial evidence to say that intelligent life coincidentally co-existing at the same time is at best unlikely at worst a meaningless statement in practice, even before designing any testing.

 

And stuff like that.  It's so tempting it seems to people's thoughts.  People even go around calling Astrobiology a science, utter drivel.  There's barely enough measurable to have astrobiochemistry, and only just enough to have astro-organic chemistry.  It is always surprising to me that when groups go multidisciplinary they tend to come out with drivel.  If you're old enough your remember when geologists, palaeontologists, and astronomers got together and postulated planet Nemesis.  You get a similar one today with planet IX, where Brown not satisfied with removing Pluto from being planet IX wants to be known as having found a real planet IX.  This last bit more mentioned to show how even successful practical astronomers can get more and more unscientific, for the more this "bound to be" object isn't found, the more we haven't looked in the right place or looked properly, even now there is increasingly less places to look for it!  Thus we're bordering on pseudoscience again.  Nothing to stop folk thinking on it and enjoying the point, but it's only a science when you throw scientific method at it, philosophy isn't science, it's nearer maths, where you can have applied and "real" maths.  With maths you can logically derive all sorts of things, and I suppose folk could assume that things currently without application in maths will have one found.  Dubious.

 

Apparently, increasingly and massively complex self consistent systems of logic can be defined that lead to gibberish, as long as the "self-evident" or "intuitive" axioms are chosen appropriately.  Etc, etc.  You can get into stuff that science can't be relevant for quite easily, and you can also have pseudoscience.  Most visitors from elsewhere concepts are about the same level as fairies at the bottom of the garden, just more modern.

 

The scale thing always annoys the heck out of me, by the way, because if folk reflected on it

 

No speculating on the Clapham Omnibus, to mix two old English sayings.

 

Are we alone?  Nope, Google, Facebook, and for some Apple and Amazon, and the NSA are watching us all the time...

 

Or I could have summed this all up by just saying remember what Fermi said!  But that's another pseudoscience trick, reference to what someone "specially clever" said (which is actually true in this case, the guy was specially clever, often it's just someone who's shoved out a popular book).

 

Absence of evidence is "well, we can't talk about it then, because there's stuff all to talk about".



#22 drollere

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 06:19 PM

Classic logic would state that the "absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence"... It is all but impossible to prove we are alone.

 

In the folklore of the Oregon Stat Party there was a sighting of a triangular object with no lights that silently came over one night.. but a dark shape isn't much proof one way or the other.  

 

Are we alone, doesn't seem likely statistically or otherwise if talking the universe or multiverse (;-) ) ...

 

As far as observing, all-sky cameras are getting pretty popular and a direct drive mount might have a chance of keeping up.  Getting a setup in the right place and at the right time might be tough.  Might want to consider a multi-messenger approach, UV, NIR, Radio, magnetic etc.

 

Take earth as an example, how would you detect earth?  We sent out a lot of radio waves for 50-60 years.  The spectrum spread then the power dropped dramatically.  What we do have that is fairly high powered now is highly directional.  With radio we have only been able to detect another civilization for th passed 50 or so years and have been detectable for maybe 70 or 80 years.  That's a pretty narrow window of opportunity all things considered.
 

kudos, gregj888, i think you got the logic right (with a typo correction). for the others, inferences rather than strict deductions are quite common in science, despite the layperson's misconceptions about the null hypothesis. how else do we date geologic strata or the age of stars?

 

"are we alone?" is for me a red herring. my use of the drake equation leads me to think there are about one dozen "advanced" civilizations in the galaxy in comoving time. ("advanced" means they could write a "principia mathematica.") in that i am on the side of evolutionary biologists like ernst mayr, and decidedly a dissenter from the SETI crowd who think more like carl "billions and billions" sagan.

 

but, again, the point is to study UFO as observable facts, and how amateur astronomers as a collective of people with observing skills and an understanding of basic astronomy, might assist in that effort.


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#23 drollere

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 06:27 PM

Really, not only is the popular Drake's Equation (popular no doubt as it is a simple multiplication formula) guilty of having terms that are not anywhere near being quantified meaningully, even before you get to the technical civilisation terms, but is entirely missing several, as it is heavily naive in its interpretation of what is needed for life, let alone intelligent life, etc, etc, etc.

i agree the drake equation is not a scientific statement. i refer to it as the drake heuristic, because it's a structured way to make educated guesses. i believe the range of plausible answers for the number of advanced civilizations is usually stated to be 1000 to billions; my answer is 10, order of magnitude. (incidentally, there is a paper that suggests we may be *the only* advanced civilization not just in our galaxy, but in the entire *observable universe*. a nice astringent to sanguine enthusiasm: https://arxiv.org/abs/1806.02404v1 .
 



#24 tdfwds

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 06:31 PM


i think citizen science is a critical resource. there is a lovely extended video of a UFO captured by an airline pilot:

If you're talking things like the zooniverse stable of stuff, there is very little science done by the citizens, if any.  They make guesses and tick boxes for a subset of predictated choices in some, then someone comes along and throughs some statistical tools on it and probably use a probability threshold to say yay or nay, and if yay, it's called whatever one from now on.

 

This is because no-one can afford the bunch of intelligent ladies Pickering had for his HD and variable star work, or in nearly more contemporary times get enough under-grads to volunteer to tweak their data for them in an act of pre-processing, which is always longer and more tedious than actually doing the study, because they certainly wouldn't get a grant for paying 'em, and the level of "science" wouldn't be high enough for said under-grads to progress academically, let alone career-wise.

 

Or fully contemporary, because their 'machine learning' algorithms ain't good enough yet.  Though some are getting there.  An SDSS galaxy classification one a few years back blew away in terms of amount the original zooniverse galaxy classification amounts, and subsequent analyses thereon were done not by the citizens in both cases.  Recently, very recently (still at pre-print stage, not fully published yet) ASAS-SN actually used a citizen science resource on variables to test their 'machine learning' variability typing algorithm, to great success, so citizen so called science will likely disappear in time.

 

Not against people doing 'citizen science', folk enjoy it, many folk don't want to learn any deeper, many of use cannot handle the maths to do any true scientific analyses of processed data, but people can still enjoy clicking away to these interesting images.  It's the tricking of them with their misnomer title that annoys!  Be honest, they'd still do it.

 

And calling something someone's weird thing or whatever for finding it doesn't mean they scienced it, they just pointed out there's a weird thing there which they brought to the attention of the scientists, who very often aren't watching the forums, so they were a bit lucky.

 

Folk want to do the UAP thing and also assume visitors, fair enough, their choice.  But realise the only sciencey bit is the taking of data on UAPs, which says nothing about what and where they are, and may lead to their true mundane solution sometimes, but process of elimination 'it must be visitors coz it can't be anything else' isn't viable.

 

Note the mentioning of Tombaugh having seen a whatever is tantamount to the pseudoscience tactic I noted earlier.  Do we have a full contextual quote for that?  Or a paper write up explaining all particulars of that particular "measure"?

 

There are 763.8167 angels on a pinhead, because I accidentally knocked a coupla fingers of one of them when I was counting them, else there'd be 764.  What do you mean "What size pinhead did you use?"?



#25 freestar8n

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Posted 24 November 2021 - 08:44 PM

ihaventseenanycompellingexamplesandtherecentonesthatwerereleasedaresoeasilyexplainedthatiassumethepeoplereviewingthemhavelittlebasicknowledgeofimagingandgeometrysolackingasinglecompellingexampleidontexpectasystematicinvestigationtobeworthwhileatthesametimeitwouldhavehighrewardthoughlowchanceofsuccessfrank


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