For thousands of years, humans have been looking up at the stars, at once mystified, enthralled, and horrified by the inconceivably endless expanse that is outer space. And though “extraterrestrial” is a relatively new term, its first use in fiction dates back just 66 years. Stories of aliens and UFOs first appeared in print in the second century AD.
As time passed and we learned more and more about the universe around us, arguments in support of the existence of aliens and UFOs became more and more compelling. Our sun, after all, is merely one of a few hundred billion stars in the Milky Way, many of which have their own planets. Beyond that, the Milky Way is only one of a few hundred billion galaxies in the universe.
Theories regarding alien life have become so compelling, in fact, that many wholeheartedly believe in the existence of UFOs and extraterrestrials. And in a recent Reddit post, thousands argued the included clip provided irrefutable proof.
In the spine-chilling video, a mysterious black object appears to approach the sun, drawing a spiraling thread of energy from its surface before departing. “Aliens exist in front of everyone. NASA knows. The Government knows. This is one of their ships caught refueling directly from our Sun,” the caption reads.
But is it a UFO or something a little more commonplace?
The Origins of the Otherworldly UFO Footage
Well, though the apparent UFO footage was just shared on Reddit this week, it actually dates back to 2012. In March 2012, the Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the footage, which then made the rounds on social media.
It quickly picked up steam among UFO enthusiasts, in particular, who claimed it provided proof of an alien spaceship drawing energy from the sun for fuel. Sadly, however, while this story would make an excellent scene in any sci-fi film, it’s not the truth.
In an article debunking the growing conspiracy theories, Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Natalie Wolchover gave the facts. She explained that what viewers believe to be a UFO was actually a “prominence.”
As Wolchover says, a “prominence” is an area of “cooler, denser plasma (highly ionized gas) than the surrounding 3.5 million-degree Fahrenheit corona” capable of extending thousands of miles into space. And rather than UFO fuel, the swirling spear of energy briefly attached to it was simply a filament tunnel.
Don’t be too disappointed, however, as this doesn’t mean that UFOs are a complete myth. Just this year, the United States military established the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office. This branch is responsible for detecting and identifying “anomalous, unidentified space, airborne, submerged and transmedium objects.”
In plainer English, they’re responsible for identifying UFOs and other strange objects. So, who knows, the next viral alien footage could be the real deal.