Tuesday, 29 October 2013

What? UFOs from the Pleiades?

While you are outdoors, watching the night sky around a campfire, people start talking about horror stories, urban myths and of course, extraterrestrial visitations; as in the case of many stories, there might be some degree of plausibility in these, or at least some understandable origin, but often lack of knowledge gives way to absurd beliefs.

One of such beliefs is that there are ETs coming in their space ships from the Pleiades. Sounds interesting indeed; however, aside from the fact that you have to believe in UFOs without any supporting scientific evidence, there is another problem: the Pleiades star cluster is not precisely the most likely place where life would grow and evolve.

We have to make a clear distinction between what is being told as a tale, a work of more or less interesting fiction, and what is presented as an actual fact.  Lovecraft stories are fine for those campfire moments but few would pretend them to be true. However, UFO and ET stuff, while perfectly possible as a fact or science remain unproven, also as a fact of science.

It doesn't take you to be an astronomer to see that the Pleiades star cluster is located in the Taurus constellation at about 440 light years from Earth. It contains mostly B stars, which are pretty hot ones, several times more than our own. Stars are being formed now in the cluster, and are mostly no more than 100 million years old - our sun is more than 5.000 million years old. Calculations indicate that the Pleiades cluster will be dismembered or dissolved by gravitational forces in about 250 million years.

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