Science Frontiers
The Unusual & Unexplained

Strange Science * Bizarre Biophysics * Anomalous astronomy
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About Science Frontiers

Science Frontiers is the bimonthly newsletter providing digests of reports that describe scientific anomalies; that is, those observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms. Over 2000 Science Frontiers digests have been published since 1976.

These 2,000+ digests represent only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The Sourcebook Project, which publishes Science Frontiers, also publishes the Catalog of Anomalies, which delves far more deeply into anomalistics and now extends to sixteen volumes, and covers dozens of disciplines.

Over 14,000 volumes of science journals, including all issues of Nature and Science have been examined for reports on anomalies. In this context, the newsletter Science Frontiers is the appetizer and the Catalog of Anomalies is the main course.


Subscriptions to the Science Frontiers newsletter are no longer available.

Compilations of back issues can be found in Science Frontiers: The Book, and original and more detailed reports in the The Sourcebook Project series of books.

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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 38: Mar-Apr 1985 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Young Interplanetary Dust Here follows an abstract of an article that appeared in Science: "Nuclear tracks have been identified in interplanetary dust particles (IDP's ) collected from the stratosphere. The presence of tracks unambiguously confirms the extraterrestrial nature of IDP's , and the high track densities (1010 to 1011 per square centimeter) suggest an exposure age of approximately 104 years within the inner solar system." (Bradley, J.P ., et al; "Discovery of Nuclear Tracks in Interplanetary Dust," Science, 226:1432, 1984.) Comment. Where does this young dust come from? The Poynting-Robertson drag is supposed to sweep the inner solar system clear of dust fairly quickly. If comets supply a steady stream of dust, the particles should display a wide range of exposure ages. Apparent path of star SAO 186001 behind Neptune. The star's light was reduced at the black circle. From Science Frontiers #38, MAR-APR 1985 . 1985-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 93: May-Jun 1994 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects From Dust Unto Dust This Biblical assertion may be right on the mark, but in a sense that is slightly different from what is usually meant. The "first" dust may not have been terrestrial dust but interplanetary dust. Let us commence with long-winged U2s cruising at 20 kilometers altitude or more. Collectors coated with silicone oil are deployed. To them stick tiny bits of interplanetary and interstellar debris that have been caught by earth's gravity and are slowly drifting downward in the atmospshere. Some of these micron-sized particles come from asteroid collisions; others from the disintegration of comets. This rain of cosmic matter is not negligible; the earth harvests about 40,000 tons annually from the fertile fields of outer space. "Fertile?" Yes, outer space is a vast biochemical retort. D. Brownlee, R. Walker, and others: ". .. suggest that interplanetary dust has probably carried organic matter to Earth since the early aeons of the solar system. The complexity of the organic molecules found on these particles has fueled the imaginations of many who ponder the role extraterrestrial matter may have played in the prebiological evolution of organic material on the primordial Earth." Beyond these conjectures, several other things about interplanetary dust particles bother scientists: "' What is surprising,' Walker notes, 'and still not understood, is the fact that the organic molecules we see in the dust particles are ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 129: MAY-JUN 2000 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Interplanetary Doldrums A special session of the 1999 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union was convened to discuss an extraordinary event: "The day of the solar wind almost disappeared." That was May 11, 1999. The doldrums lasted over 27 hours. Actually, the velocities of the particles constituting the solar wind did not slacken much: 360 kilometers/second, down just 10% from the norm. The wind's density, though dropped from 10 to 0.2 particles/cubic centimeter. Nothing untoward happened on the earth's surface. In space, the earth's magnetosphere expanded when the pressure of the solar wind diminished and more X-rays were emitted from the polar atmosphere, but these effects did not surprise anyone. The big question is: What happened on the sun that stopped its exhalations? No one seems to have an answer. (Lazarus, Alan J.; "The Day the Solar Wind Almost Disappeared," Science, 287: 2172, 2000.) From Science Frontiers #129, MAY-JUNE 2000 . 2000 William R. Corliss Other Sites of Interest SIS . Catastrophism, archaeoastronomy, ancient history, mythology and astronomy. Lobster . The journal of intelligence and political conspiracy (CIA, FBI, JFK, MI5, NSA, etc) . Free resource for people thinking about working at home. ABC dating and personals . For people looking for relationships ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 93: May-Jun 1994 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Marine Snow The marine analog of the high-altitude U2 used to collect interplanetary dust is the scuba diver armed with small jars and syringes. In these, marine biologists, such as A. Alldredge, collect the tiny bits of debris drifting downwards from the ocean's upper layers. This is the "marine snow." Its constituents are mainly: ". .. the tiny leftovers of animals, plants, and non-living matter in the ocean's sun-suffused upper zones. Among these particles are chains of single-celled plants called diatoms, shreds of zooplankters' mucous food traps, soot, fecal pellets, dust motes, radioactive fallout, sand grains, pollen, and pollutants. Microorganisms also live inside and on top of these odd-shaped flakes." Marine snow is everywhere in the ocean. Sometimes, it reaches blizzard proportions, and divers cannot see beyond a few feet. Measured in millimeters, the marine snowflakes are much larger than the average interplanetary dust particles (but of course interplanetary dust itself is also a constituent of marine snow). The bigger marine snowflakes -- over 0.5 mm -- are a major food source for deep-sea denizens waiting below for this manna from the watery heaven. The reason for mentioning marine snow in Science Frontiers is that biologists like Alldredge are really pio-neering new territory, where new anomalies must surely dwell. "' ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 44: Mar-Apr 1986 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Of Dust Clouds And Ice Ages Ice cores from the polar ice at Camp Century, in Greenland, have been analyzed for the presence of cosmic dust. "It is concluded that on five occasions during the interval 20,000-14,000 years BP, cosmic dust mass concentrations in the solar system rose by one and two orders of magnitude above present day levels. Moreover if the particles found in these ice core samples are indicative of the particle size distribution which prevailed in the interplanetary medium at that time, then it may be concluded that the space number density of submicron sized particles must have uncreased by a factor of 105 or more. During these times the light transmission properties of the solar system would have been significantly altered resulting in major adverse effects to the earth's climate. Thus it is quite possible that these dust congestion episodes were responsible for the abrupt climatic variations which occurred toward the end of the last Ice Age." Whence these interplanetary dust clouds? The author of this article ruled out terrestrial volcanism (an insufficient source of iridium) and encounters with asteroids and cometary tails (too infrequent to account for the long periods of high dust levels). Rather, the dust source may have been the same event that created the recently discovered dust ring between Mars and Jupiter, which is believed to be only a few tens of thousands of years old. The nature of the "event" is not ...
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... Transient Dark Regions on the Sun ASO2 Remarkable Coronas ASO3 Bulges on the Solar Limb ASO4 Evidence of Past Prolonged Minima in Solar Activity ASO5 Short-Term Periodicities in Sunspot Numbers ASO6 Solar Oblateness and Quadrupole Moment ASO7 Changes in the Rate of Solar Rotation ASO8 Changes in Solar Diameter ASO9 Correlation of Sunspot Numbers and Planetary Configurations ASO10 Radial Solar Oscillations ASX SOLAR ECLIPSE AND OCCULTATION PHENOMENA ASX1 Bailey's Beads ASX2 Visibility of the Moon's Limb during Solar Eclipses ASX3 Fingers of Light Projected on the Moon ASX4 Thin Pencils of Light Extending Far beyond the Corona ASX5 Exaggerated Notches in the Moon's Limb during Solar Eclipses ASX6 Pendulum Perturbations during Solar Eclipses ASX7 Spacecraft Signal Perturbations during Solar Occultations ASX7 Increases of Galactic Radio Noise during Total Solar Eclipses ASX8 Large Discrepancies between Calculated and Observed Eclipse Parameters ASZ SOLAR AND INTERPLANETARY MAGNETIC FIELD PHENOMENA ASZ1 Enhancements of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field ASZ2 Compatibility of Interplanetary Magnetic Field Measurements with an Electrically Charged Sun AT COSMOS ATB UNIVERSE DYNAMICS AND MASS DISTRIBUTION ATB1 The Existence of the Universe ATB2 The Low Mean Density of the Universe ATB3 An Angular Momentum-Mass Relationship for a Wide Range of Astronomical Objects ATB4 Evidence for Universal Rotation ATF COSMIC ANOMALIES DETECTED THROUGH RADIATION ATF1 Isotropy of Cosmic Background Radiation ATF2 Deviations of the Cosmic Back ground Radiation from the Blackbody Curve ATF3 The Existence of Cosmic Rays ATF4 The Isotropic Cosmic X-Ray Background ATF5 Ultra-High-Energy Cosmic Rays ATF6 The High Flux of Low-Energy Antiprotons ATF7 Antineutrino Pulses ATF8 Apparent Absence of Appreciable Antimatter in the Observable Universe ATF9 Exceptional Increases in Cosmic Ray Intensity ATF10 Asymmetry of Infrared Background Radiation ATF11 Nondoppler Redshifts ATF12 Spectroscopic ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 38: Mar-Apr 1985 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology Who Built the East Bay Walls? Ancient Engineering Feat Antarctica Revisited, Hapgood Acknowledged Astronomy Quasar, Quasar, Burning Bright; What Shifts Your Spectral Light? Unidentified Object Young Interplanetary Dust Neptune's Incomplete Ring Biology Whales and Dolphins Trapped Magnetically Listening with the Feet Life in the Dark Bad Year for Water Monsters Geology Galloping Glaciers Geophysics: The Sick Man of Science Geophysics Ball Lightning and Blue Flashes Green Cloud with Light Rays Still Another Mystery Cloud The Sounds That Shouldn't Have Been Expanding Phosphorescent Rings Two Snowflake Anomalies Psychology Hypnosis and Memory The Subtle Placebo ...
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... SOOT: PART I The tale began on March 27, when Comet Hyakutake passed within 15 million kilometers of earth. At this point in its trajectory, it came into the field of view of the X-ray astronomy satellite ROSAT. ROSAT was designed to look at stars whose extremely high temperatures can generate X-rays. It seemed ridiculous to point ROSAT's instruments at a comet composed mainly of ice and dust. How could a comet emit X-rays? When a German-American team of scientists proposed taking a peek at Hyakutake with ROSAT, scientific eyebrowns were raised. What a waste of observing time! At the most, the team thought they might pick up a smudge of weak X-rays where dust grains flying off Hyakutake collided with dust grains normally present in interplanetary space. The team did get ROSAT to take a look, and what the satellite saw ignited a controversy. Some 50,000 kilometers in front of the comet was a bright crescent of X-rays, 100 times brighter than the brightest "smudge" the team of scientists had hoped for. This was completely unexpected. All astronomers could do was come up with three rather unconvincing theories: (1 ) Solar X-rays were absorbed and reemited by the comet (Xray fluorescence); (2 ) Cometary material emitted X-rays when bathed in the solar wind; and (3 ) Charged particles were somehow accelerated by a magnetic field compressed by the comet's bow wave in the solar wind. Nobody is particularly happy with any of these theories. (Hecht, ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 120: Nov-Dec 1998 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects The Force Is With Them The communication loop between earthbased ground stations and interplanetary spacecraft allows extremely accurate measurements of the radial velocities of these distant man-made machines. As these spacecraft hurtle toward the fringe of the solar system, the visible sun dwindles to a small, bright point, and its gravitational field falls off as the inverse square of the distance. At least that is what is supposed to happen. Four far-flung spacecraft, (Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Ulysses, and Galileo are experiencing a mysterious decelerating force not encompassed by the Law of Gravitation. It's a tiny force, but it seems to be real. Making it even more puzzling is the fact that it is decreasing according to the inverse of distance from the sun rather than the inverse square. Is it a non-solar force? Is it "new" physics? Or maybe just an artifact of the spacecraft and ground-based equipment? The fact that four spacecraft feel its tugging suggests the force is real. But the motions of the distant planets do not seem to be affected by it. So, everyone is perplexed. (Schilling, Govert; "Spacecraft Motions Puzzle Astronomers," Science, 281:1581, 1998. Seife, Charles; "If the Force Is with Them...," New Scientist, p. 4, September 12, 1998. Browne, Malcolm; "After Study, ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 129, May-Jun 2000 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology Leif was Late The Hidden "Gardens" Astronomy TLPs: One Fades, Others Flash The Extremophilic Terraforming of Mars Interplanetary Doldrum s Biology Why we "Roll in the Aisles" If Fingerprints Don't Lie, Neither to Toe Prints A Third Way? Geology Leaky Seas From Nature's Atelier The Anomalous Antiquity of Some Landforms Geophysics Crop Circles Can be Natural Contagious St. Elmo's Fire Uplifting may be Hazardous Psychology The Sound of Shapes Miscellaneous An Astronomer's UFO nnnbbbbbvccccccxzzzzzcvbn,;/////ppooo ...
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... Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Is the earth seeding the rest of the solar system?We begin with the lead paragraph from a recent letter to Nature from H.J . Melosh; "Recent evidence that the SNC meteorites originated on Mars raises the question of whether large impacts on Earth may eject rocks that could fall on Mars (or other planets in the Solar System) and, if so whether they might contain spores or some sort of viable microorganisms that would have the opportunity to colonize Mars." After some computations Melosh concludes: "It seems likely that the impacts that produced craters on Earth that are greater than 100 km in diameter would each have ejected millions of tons of near-surface rocks carrying viable microorganisms into interplanetary space, much in the form of boulders large enough to shield those organisms from ultraviolet radiation, low-energy cosmic rays, and even galactic cosmic rays. Under such circumstances spores might remain viable for long periods of time." (Melosh, H.J .; "The Rocky Road to Panspermia," Nature, 332:687, 1988.) Comment. Next we need a reasonable mechanism that spreads life through interstellar space. Light pressure, that's it; and the idea is over a century old! Incidentally, SNC is short for Shergottites, Nakhalites, Chassignites; all rare classes of meteorites. From Science Frontiers #58, JUL-AUG 1988 . 1988-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects "? " ! ?Photographs of Comet Bradfield taken on October 10, 1987, show an odd kink in its tail that does not appear on photos taken the nights before and after. This kink was shaped like a backwards "? ". Kinks in the tails of comets are well known phenomena. A comet's tail is electrically charged, and it flaps in the solar wind like a flag on a gusty day. So why run this observation up the anomaly flagpole? First of all, the Bradfield kink is 10 million kilometers long; second, it appeared and disappeared in a matter of hours. Both size and speed-of-formation are difficult to explain in terms of existing solar-wind velocity and the shifting interplanetary magnetic field. (Anonymous; "Did Anyone Photograph This Comet?" Astronomy, 16:16, July 1988.) Reference. Similar cometary anomalies are cataloged in ACO in: The Sun and Solar System Debris. For information on this book, visit: here . From Science Frontiers #59, SEP-OCT 1988 . 1988-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 10: Spring 1980 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Long-delayed radio echoes J. Hals first observed long-delayed radio echoes in 1927. During the following half-century, scientists have been studying this perplexing problem, but it has been the amateurs who have accumulated the bulk of the data. Over 100 reports exist where echoes of radio transmissions were received seconds later at the original transmitting station. Since light travels 186,000 miles per second, any simple radio-wave reflector would have to be well beyond the moon's orbit. A wide variety of natural phenomena (interplanetary matter) and even artificial devices (alien space probes) have been postulated to explain the long delays. Muldrew's article is first of all an excellent summary of the long and fascinating history of this effect. His bibliography is extensive and apparently nearly complete. Muldrew next examines the various ionospheric mechanisms that might cause long delays. The ionosphere is a complex structure with ducts in which radio signals can get trapped. Delays of a second or so might be due to such trapping but the longer delays require some other explanation. Muldrew favors a rather complex interaction between signals from separate transmitters that (theoretically at least) can create a long-lived electrostatic wave that travels in the ionosphere -- a sort of natural memory device. The coded signals could then be read out much later when the proper natural conditions developed. Delays of up to 40 seconds might be possible with this "ionospheric memory ...
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... a number of objects that moved too fast to be asteroids and too slowly to be meteors. John P. Bagby has studied this problem for over 20 years, publishing several hotly debated papers during this period. His latest contribution summarizes evidence supporting his contention that the earth has captured chunks of space debris, some of which have disintegrated, some of which are still in orbit amidst tons of artificial-satellite debris. The supporting observations have come from optical surveillance programs, tracking networks, radio-propagation anomalies, and (most interesting to the anomaly collector) old reports of bright objects near the sun (especially the August 1921 object) and the curious group of retrograde objects that passed over Germany in 1880. (Bagby, J.P .; "Natural Earth Satellites," British Interplanetary Society, Journal, 34:289, 1981.) Reference. Material on the August 1921 object is cataloged at AEO1 in our book: The Sun and Solar System Debris. To order, visit: here . From Science Frontiers #21, MAY-JUN 1982 . 1982-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 89: Sep-Oct 1993 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Blasting Rocks Off Planets "Can rocks from the surface of a major planet or satellite be launched into interplanetary space by natural processes? A few years ago the answer to this question would have been a resounding "no" from the experts on both volcanism and impact cratering, the only geological processes known to eject solid material at substantial velocities. Observation, however, has once again confounded expectation." In the snowy wastes of Antarctica, scientists have picked up meteorites that almost certainly came from the moon and Mars. And near St. Gallen, Switzerland, there was discovered a 22-centimeter block of Malm limestone that was apparently ejected from the Ries impact crater, almost 200 kilometers away, about 15 million years ago. We know all of these rocks are impact debris because they contain shatter cones indicating a violent origin. Not only did these bits of debris confound expectations, but their shatter cones implied shock-wave pressures far too low to achieve lunar and Martian escape velocities, or even the velocity necessary to propel that chunk of Malm limestone 200 kilometers. Something was wrong somewhere. It has turned out that shock-wave theory had been misapplied. It is not the pressure that is important in ejecting bits of debris from around the impact site, but rather it is the pressure gradient. Anomaly extirpated! (Melosh, H.J .; "Blasting Rocks Off Planets," Nature, 363:498, ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 93: May-Jun 1994 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Anomalous Horizon Glows Seen On The Moon The spacecraft Clementine , now engaged in surveying the moon from orbit, has apparently recorded once again a perplexing sky glow that precedes lunar sunrises and follows lunar sunsets. An astronaut standing on the moon watching the spot where the sun is about to rise would see first of all two well-recognized phenomena: the solar corona (even though the solar disc is still well below the horizon) and the zodiacal light (sunlight reflected from interplanetary dust). In addition, the astronaut would detect a glow along the horizon itself, as in the illustration. Since the moon is virtually airless, there should be none of those gas molecules and suspended dust particles that cause the sunsets and sunrises that we admire so much here on earth. Still, there must be something suspended above the moon's surface to scatter light from the sun still located just below the horizon. The best guess is that lunar dust particles are ionized by solar radiation and are repelled upwards from the surface and hang there suspended by electrostatic forces. But no one really knows for certain the cause of the glow. (Cowen, R.; "On the Horizon: Clementine Probes Moon Glow," Science News, 145:197, 1994.) Reference. Anomalous lunar horizon glows are cataloged in ALO11 in our catalog: The Moon and the Planets. For details, visit here . From Science Frontiers #93 ...
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