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Mysteries

Source of Unexplained Boom Heard across Hamilton, Ontario Remains a Mystery

The mystery boom in the wee hours Saturday was a literally moving experience for Bryan Adlam.

“I heard the boom – it was quite loud – but I also felt it. I felt my house move,” said the real estate agent, who lives in the Crown Point neighbourhood near the escarpment.

Turns out bewildered residents across the city heard the same thing after 2 a.m. On the beach strip. The Mountain. Even Ancaster.

Adlam posted a question about the sound blast on Facebook that quickly spawned 500-plus comments, theories and, obviously, fart jokes.

But so far, the source of the thunderous bang remains a mystery.

Was it a supersonic jet? An industrial accident? A skyquake? Nobody seems to know.

The most popular online theory – a dropped container of molten steel or slag – was emphatically shot down by steelmakers Stelco and ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

“We’ve checked twice. There was nothing,” said ArcelorMittal Dofasco spokesperson Marie Verdun.

She acknowledged the oft-repeated online suggestion that workers accidentally “dropped a ladle” – think an enormous steel-plated vessel full of molten metal, ponderously carried through the air by crane.

Yes, Verdun said, that would be loud. “But if we dropped one, we would have a much bigger problem than a big noise,” she said.

It’s always possible another industrial accident was to blame, but neither police nor fire were called to an incident large enough to be heard across the city.

Similarly, no crashes, gas or transformer explosions were reported. (Film production on Ottawa Street this week could involve loud noises, but city officials were not aware of any explosive movie-making at 2 a.m. Saturday.)

It was also a quiet night for the Hamilton Port Authority and the city’s international airport. But spokesperson Tomas Cleary conceded the airport would not necessarily be informed if military jets were in the vicinity, for example.

A sonic boom that rattled the windows of Essex residents in the U.K. two days ago was recently confirmed to be the result of a Royal Air Force jet, according to the BBC.

The Canadian Department of National Defence was still checking Monday to see if military activities over Lake Ontario could have caused Hamilton’s mind-boggling boom. Stay tuned.

Neither Canadian Pacific nor Canadian National Railway were aware of any crashes or major incidents on the mainline railways or shunting yards in the city, officials told The Spectator.

We’re also “out of luck” for loud weather, said Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell, who searched all around Lake Ontario unsuccessfully for potential thunder or lightning culprits.

Earthquakes Canada showed no measurable seismic activity at nearby monitoring stations. Local seismographs can record even magnitude 1 tremors – which people typically do not feel – which suggests the boom did not originate underground.

(Interestingly, seismographs did record an “acoustic blip” during a similar wee hours mystery blast in 2005 that befuddled east end and beach strip residents. No one got to the bottom of that boom, either.)

In the meantime, residents have cheerfully filled the informational void with a range of educated-to-wild guesses, including asteroids, solar radiation storms, aliens and “God’s taco night.”

But until we hear otherwise, feel free to call Hamilton’s mystery blast a skyquake – the default label for unexplained booms out of the blue.

Matthew Van Dongen
The Hamilton Spectator

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Mysteries

The Tommyknockers: Mysterious Green Men

When the inhabitants of Wales and the county of Devon went to work in the mines, they often heard strange taps there, and after they saw little green men in a mining robe and with a pickaxe in their hands. At the word “Tommyknocker”, most people recall the famous science fiction novel by Stephen King, while the original meaning of this term is almost forgotten today.

However, hundreds of years ago, Tommyknockers were no less popular than leprechauns, with which they have a lot in common. The difference is that Tommyknockers live in caves and dungeons, like European gnomes.

Most often, Tommyknockers (originally just knockers) are described in Welsh and Devonian folklore. Their name can be translated as “Those who knock” – it was believed that it was the knockers who knock on the walls of the mines to cause deadly collapses. Local miners have repeatedly heard these mysterious taps. Some are convinced that the knockers are vicious and long for death, but many of the miners themselves, who personally saw strange little men in underground tunnels, assured that the knockers, on the contrary, try to warn people about the danger and that if they hear these taps, leave in time then you can happily avoid a rock collapse.

Eyewitnesses described Tomminokers as tiny men half a meter tall, with greenish skin, normal human body proportions, and dressed in dirty clothes that looked like a typical mining robe. All tomminokers seen were men. When the gold rush began in California in the 19th century and everyone began to dig mines and look for gold, many British miners went to the United States and brought with them faith in the Knockers. When they began to meet strange little men in American mines, stories about this quickly spread throughout the states and at some point they began to call the Knockers tomminokers.

At the same time, it was believed that strange knocks in a mine might not portend a blockage, but rather indicate rich deposits of ore or other valuable minerals. And when someone heard these sounds, he set off to wander through the tunnels in search of their source. Most often, such miners then simply went missing, but there were also those who really came across a rich mine. That is why it is difficult to say unequivocally whether Tommyknockers were considered bad or good creatures. When collapses occurred, people died or disappeared, Tommyknockers were scolded, but if thanks to their knocks they managed to find a vein or get out of the labyrinth of tunnels, they were called good and thanked.

After a few decades, a whole layer of “urban legends” appeared, according to which strange knocks in mines produce ghosts of dead miners and they do this to warn the living of danger. It was after this that folklore about Tomminokers began to be forgotten gradually, yielding to faith in ghosts. Now the miners began trying to appease the ghosts and brought pieces of bread or cake with them to the mine to leave them in some niche and ask the ghosts for protection and mercy.

By the beginning of the twentieth century, Tommyknockers had almost sunk into oblivion. They were remembered only by collectors of fairy tales or by locals whose houses stood next to the mines and who sometimes also heard strange taps.

There were rumors that when the mine closes, Tommyknockers “go live” to the nearest houses and knock already there, now predicting not collapses, but the death of family members or accidents.

Today, many researchers believe that centuries ago, small children often worked in mines, including illegally, and that it was precisely the miners who faced them underground. The greenish skin of children could become so from contact with copper.

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Mysteries

Never seen before powerful Radio Burst signal coming from a Magnetar in the Milky Way

“Something like this has never been seen before.”

Astronomers working on the CHIME telescope recorded a powerful radio burst from a magnetar in the Milky Way. The peculiarity of this discovery is not only that the burst coincided with a period of increased activity of the magnetar, but also in that it resembles mysterious fast radio bursts. If the discovery is confirmed, then the magnetar will become the source of fast radio bursts closest to Earth, according to  The Astronomer’s Telegram .

Fast radio bursts  (Fast Radio Burst, FRB) – is short (up to several milliseconds), but the strong  radio pulses. Their discovery was accidental and occurred in 2007, and it soon became clear that they could be of  extraterrestrial nature. To date, about a hundred such bursts have been recorded that are associated with  neutron stars ,  blitz , the  decay of  axion mini-clusters,  extraterrestrial civilizations  and other phenomena.

In 2018, it was possible to determine that fast repeating radio bursts from the source of  FRB 121102  could occur in a magnetized medium near a rotating pulsar. Then the source of an individual fast radio burst was first determined , a second similar discovery soon followed , and then  eight more sources of repeating FRB were discovered at once. All discoveries are united by the fact that all sources of fast radio bursts are extragalactic in nature. The source of FRB closest to us is in a large spiral galaxy with a redshift of z = 0.0337; recently, it was possible to detect the periodicity for the first time in fast radio bursts from it.

On April 27, 2020, the SGR 1935 + 2154 magnetar associated with the supernova remnant SNR G57.2 + 0.8 in the Milky Way, located 30 thousand light-years from us in the constellation Lisichka, experienced a burst of activity in the x-ray range. It was previously believed that this magnetar is a source of soft gamma-ray bursts. He became the target of observations for the Swift space telescope , the AGILE observatory , the NICER telescope mounted on the ISS, the INTEGRAL observatory, and other telescopes. 

Initially, his behavior was typical for such objects, but on April 28, the Canadian CHIME telescope reported the registration of a powerful radio burst from the magnetar, which had two peak components five milliseconds long, separated by thirty milliseconds. The radio flux at frequencies of 400-800 megahertz amounted to several kilojans per millisecond. 

An analysis of the CHIME archival data from the beginning of work at the end of 2018 did not reveal any similar events related to this magnetar in the past. If this magnetar were in another galaxy, then for the earth observer the signal would look like a fast radio burst. However, scientists have yet to analyze all the data for the similarity of the flash spectrum from SGR 1935 + 2154 with the spectra of extragalactic fast radio bursts. 

Dynamic spectrum of radio burst from SGR 1935 + 2154.CHIME / FRB Collaboration

An Indian group of scientists working on the GMRT telescope (Giant Metrowave Radio telescope) published a preprint in August 2019   reporting the discovery of a kind of “copy” of fast radio bursts from the J1810- magnetar 197 in our galaxy. Giant radio pulses were also observed from the pulsar in the Crab nebula, however, their generation mechanisms are still different from those that generate fast radio bursts. The situation is similar with SGR 1935 + 2154, where a phenomenon that looks similar to fast radio bursts can be very different from it in physical mechanism.

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Mysteries

Amateur astronomer recorded the mysterious pulsating rays of light emanating from Venus

Something strange happened a few days ago in deep space. An amateur astronomer with a good telescope recorded several flashes or pulsating rays with his infrared telescope camera, which, apparently, came from the planet Venus.

The astronomer also points to a giant object that looks just like the asteroid known for its unusual shape (and some scientists consider it not an asteroid at all, but an alien spaceship) Oumuamua, which passed over Venus and wonders if this object could cause flashes or pulsating rays.

Another possibility for multiple bright flashes can be massive explosions caused by asteroids hitting the planet.

In addition to the strange flashes emitted by Venus, a dark object located near it and looking like a spaceship of gigantic aliens, a large number of UFOs flying in open space fell into the lens of the telescope.

One way or another, whatever that may be, but something very unusual happened near or on the planet Venus.

Oumuamua is the first discovered interstellar object flying through the solar system.

Or maybe it’s a spaceship?

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