Element 115

Simple Periodic Table Chart-blocks.svg
Periodic chart by User:Double sharp CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

My high school chemistry teacher made us memorize the periodic chart and would periodically give students an oral quiz. “Kenneth, tell us family 1A.” Then, I was supposed to recite 1A, the alkali metals – hydrogen, lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium, and francium. I thought this was such a stupid exercise. We had a large chart of the periodic table on the wall but he had turned it to the wall. I had read that a reporter once pop-quizzed Albert Einstein at a press conference asking something like “What is the atomic number of rubidium?” Einstein supposedly replied, “Why would I memorize something I could easily look up?” I wanted to tell my teacher that anecdote. I never did. I memorized – and have since forgotten all of it.

The periodic chart changes. I read that elements with the atomic numbers of 113, 115, 117, and 118 were added to the periodic table by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The one that interested me is Element 115. It has an interesting history.

Back in  1989, Bob Lazar was known as an Area 51 whistleblower. He claimed that he examined an alien craft that ran on an antimatter reactor powered by element 115, which at the time had not yet been synthesized. He said that the UFOs possessed by the government in Area 51 were powered by Element 115. His claims were not taken seriously by the scientific community.

In 2003, his claim gained more attention when a group of Russian and American scientists managed to create the elusive element. In 2016, it was confirmed after numerous tests which verified its existence. It was named Moscovium and is an extremely radioactive element. Its most stable known isotope, moscovium-290, has a half-life of only 0.65 seconds. That means the element decays in less than a second and so it cannot be utilized for anything.

The scientific version doesn’t match Lazar’s version. In 1979, IUPAC recommended that the placeholder systematic element name ununpentium (Uup) be used until the discovery of the element is confirmed and a permanent name is decided. The name was used in the chemical community on all levels, from chemistry classrooms to advanced textbooks, but the recommendations were mostly ignored among scientists in the field. They called it “element 115” (symbol E115 or just 115).

Lazar dismissed the early findings surrounding Element 115, stating that he was confident that eventually an isotope from the element would be found that matched his initial description. He was subjected to a polygraph and maintained that UFOs that the government possessed were built and piloted by extraterrestrial beings. His claim was that they were made out of one single piece (no welding points) and were made from a material unknown on Earth and powered by Element 115.

Since I do want to believe that we are not alone in this universe, I’d like to find out that spacecraft exist at Area 51 or at some facility and that they are made of some unknown material and powered by some incredible technology. So far, no proof.

Area 51 sign
A warning sign at the Area 51 border stating that “photography is prohibited” and that “use of deadly force is authorized.” image via Wikimedia


Those 1997 Phoenix Lights

March 13, 1997 was when thousands of people reported mysterious lights over Arizona. The strangeness started in Henderson, Nevada when it was reported that a V-shaped object “the size of a 747” with six lights on its leading edge was moving from the northwest to the southeast. Over the course of the next hour, sightings were reported throughout Arizona, as far south as Tucson which is a distance of nearly 400 miles.


It has been 24 years but people still talk about those lights. I wrote earlier about those strange lights which the Central Intelligence Agency had in their files (which they supposedly had titled their X-files) of thousands of declassified documents that were posted online a few years ago. The photographs, witness accounts, research and newspaper articles are some of the largest official UFO collections ever to be made available to the public. “The Phoenix Lights” reports were of several mysterious vessels. Two commercial airline pilots even reported that one of these mile-wide crafts was hovering and covering Las Vegas.

This happened on March 13 but it didn’t become general knowledge until June 18, 1997, when USA TODAY did a story on the front page with the headline, “Skies, phone lines light up Ariz.”

The lights were reported to have reappeared in 2007 and 2008, but they explained – as they had been in 1997 – as military flares dropped by fighter aircraft at Luke Air Force Base. The 2008 event was explained as flares attached to helium balloons that were released by a civilian as a hoax.

“Flares” sounds like a ridiculous explanation when you read the eyewitness accounts about how the lights appeared and maneuvered:

“The object then seemed to pass over their heads and went through a V opening in the peaks of the mountain range towards Squaw Peak Mountain and toward the direction of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Witnesses in Glendale, a suburb northwest of Phoenix, saw the object pass overhead at an altitude high enough to become obscured by the thin clouds; this was at approximately between 20:30 and 20:45 MST. When the triangular formation entered the Phoenix area, Bill Greiner, a cement driver hauling a load down a mountain north of Phoenix, stated that the lights hovered over the area for more than two hours.”

The actor Kurt Russell says that he saw the lights over Phoenix on March 13, 1997. He is a licensed pilot and reported the lights to the control tower at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and may have been the first person to officially log the sighting. He was flying into Phoenix with his son and was about to land when he saw six lights over the airport.

They were “Absolutely uniform V-shape,” Russell has said but when he reported them to the tower, they responded that instruments didn’t show anything like that in the sky. “Okay,” Russell replied, “I’m going to declare it’s unidentified, it’s flying and it’s six objects.”


The Navy’s Alien Technology

Image by PhotoVision

I have been reading about UFO sightings, aliens, abductions, and alien technology my entire life. As a kid, it fascinated me. I did, like Fox Mulder, want to believe in all of it. It also frightened me.

Despite many denials by government agencies, rumors that we have been visited by aliens and that we have captured aliens and their advanced technology persist.

The Pentagon had said that it disbanded a covert program to investigate unidentified flying objects, but it seems that it still exists.

Recent stories have reported that the program was renamed and put into the Office of Naval Intelligence. Of course,  Pentagon officials will not discuss the program but it appeared last summer in a Senate committee report outlining spending on the nation’s intelligence agencies for the coming year.

That report said the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force was “to standardize the collection and reporting” on sightings of unexplained aerial vehicles, and was to report at least some of its findings to the public within 180 days after passage of the intelligence authorization act.

Drawing from U.S. patent US20190295733A1.jpg
Drawing from Pais’s patent application for a “plasma compression fusion device” Public Domain, Link

It also surfaced that there were some U.S. Navy patents that sound like “alien technology.” The patents were authored by inventor Dr. Salvatore Pais and refer to the “Pais effect.”

These latest stories don’t come from fringe science websites but from The New York Times and Forbes.  The Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was thought to have ended in 2012 but it continues under its new name under the auspices of the U.S. Office of Naval Intelligence.

Back in 2017, the Times first reported on a secret project to study unidentified aerial phenomena. That was the time when some puzzling videos taken by Navy fighter pilots over the Pacific came to light and seemed to show unidentified objects ahead of the jets. Those objects maneuvered in ways unlike existing aircraft.

It would make sense for the military to want to know about any new aircraft technology. I would have guessed that this would be the purview of the Air Force (or the new Space Force?) but it falls under the Navy.

The Navy’s unusual patents seem to focus on energy production. Plus, the Times stories talk about “retrieved materials… not made on this Earth.” Those materials make me think of the many stories and “unexplained mystery” programs I’ve seen over the years about “retrieved materials” found at a crash site in Roswell, New Mexico. Does the government have an alien spacecraft in Area 51 or some other location?

Roswell Daily Record, Public Domain, Link

These patents include terms that excite people who have been claiming for a half-century that the government is hiding what it knows about UFOs. Technologies such as a “high temperature superconductor,” a “high frequency gravitational wave generator,” a force field-like “electromagnetic field generator,” a “plasma compression fusion device,” and a hybrid aerospace/underwater craft featuring an “inertial mass reduction device” certainly sound like alien technology.

Just to put some more juice into the public fascination with UFOs, let’s add that President Trump told his son Don Jr. in an interview that he knew “very interesting” things about Roswell and when asked if he would declassify any information on Roswell, he replied, “I’ll have to think about that one.” I guess he decided not to declassify.


UFOs 2019


x files
I am mostly a believer (like Mulder) with a little bit of skeptic (like Scully) on The X Files

The Martians haven’t landed in New Jersey again, but there were almost 200 reported sightings in New Jersey of strange objects in 2019, according to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC).

One of those reports was right near Paradelle, although I didn’t witness it. The report was on June 1 at 9:30 p.m., and what was reported were 2 circle-shaped crafts, fully lit, flying erratically followed by sustained stillness.

“On June 1, 2019, at 22:30, son and I driving on Grove Avenue, and noticed 2 lit objects we assumed were drones, but based on erratic movement then sudden sustained stillness – we then revised our take as maybe [a] military helicopter. We tried to pull over but cars behind us only allowed us to slow down. They were clear, bright white light – perhaps oval or round, and seemed to be low-flying followed by a definite full stop. By [the] time we turned around – they were gone. I’ve seen thousands of aircraft and son has seen tons of recreational drones. There was nothing familiar about this experience.”

These sightings are compiled by NUFORC which is an independent organization that’s been around since 1974. They assist police departments when people report their observations to 911. Are they true sightings? I doubt it, but they have more than 90,000 sightings from around the world listed, so can they all be false?

I believe in intelligent life outside our galaxy. I believe it is possible that Earth has been visited. I believe that almost all UFO sightings are false. I believe I saw a UFO.

My sighting was in the New Jersey Pinelands (AKA Pine Barrens). I was camping with my family there in the summer of 1991. I was the only one up at about 3 am and I saw a craft over Atsion Lake. It was an elongated saucer shape with small lights encircling it. A bright red light/glow came from the bottom as it hovered close to the dark water. It was there for about a minute, then it rose slowly vertically about as high as four stories on a building and then shot off at an angle and disappeared. I don’t recall any sound coming from it at all.

I never reported it because I didn’t know of anyone who would take my report, and I suppose I thought people would think I was crazy. I told my family and friends. Later, I did check newspapers for reports and found nothing.

Years later when the Internet arrived, I searched sites like NUFORC and the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) for report from that summer. Nothing.

MUFON is a US-based non-profit organization composed of civilian volunteers who study alleged UFO sightings. It is one of the oldest and largest organizations of its kind, claiming more than 4,000 members worldwide with chapters and representatives in more than 43 countries and all 50 states.

Both these organizations get criticized as pseudoscience, but that’s been true of all UFO efforts since after WWII in the U.S.

This video made the rounds this year showing the screens from some US Navy planes as the pilots report UFOs which the Navy labels as “unidentified aerial phenomena.”

Do you believe?


Close Encounters, Three 3/13’s and Synchronicity

“Causality is the way we explain the link between two successive events.
Synchronicity designates the parallelism of time and meaning between psychic
and psychophysical events, which scientific knowledge so far
has been unable to reduce to a common principle.”
― C.G. Jung, The Portable Jung

A friend loaned me the book There Are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives years ago because I had been talking to her about synchronicity. Carl Jung coined the term to describe coincidences that are related by meaningfulness rather than by cause and effect. ” Jung introduced the idea of ​​synchronicity to get away from the “magic and superstition” which surrounds some unpredictable and startling events that appear to be connected.

I found another similar book, There Are No Coincidences: Synchronicity as the Modern-Day Mystical Experience, whose title suggests that the “more than” part of these experiences may be mystical.

“We do not create our destiny; we participate in its unfolding.
Synchronicity works as a catalyst toward the working out of that destiny.”
David Richo, The Power of Coincidence: How Life Shows Us What We Need to Know

I would think that all of us have had some otherwise-unrelated events occur to us for which we assumed some significance beyond the ordinary. The common example is when you happen to remember a person you have not thought about or seen for many years, and at that moment your telephone rings and it is that very person. What is the statistical probability that this can happen? Very small; very unlikely. For some people, the explanation moves to the paranormal.

I was looking at an almanac page online on March 13th and came upon a story from 3/13/1997 about when thousands of people reported mysterious lights over Arizona. Around 8 p.m., a man in Henderson, Nevada, saw a V-shaped object “the size of a 747,” with six lights on its leading edge. The lights moved diagonally from northwest to southeast. Other people sighted seeing the same thing over the next hour throughout Arizona. They were seen as far south as Tucson nearly 400 miles away.

A rendering of the object seen created by witness Tim Ley that appeared in USA Today.

I remember those “Phoenix Lights” being covered by the media in 1997. Having grown up in the late 1950s and 1960s, I heard many tales of UFOs.

A repeat of the lights occurred February 6, 2007, and was recorded by the local Fox News television station. But, as was the case with almost every UFO appearance in my youth, it was explained away by officials. In this case, the military and FAA said that it was flares dropped by F-16 aircraft training at Luke Air Force Base.

Reading that account made me think of my own one and only possible “close encounter.” That phrase entered the mainstream with the release of Steven Spielberg’s 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

My own encounter would be of the first kind – seeing a UFO fairly close (within 150 meters).

My sighting was in the summer of 1993 in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. UFO sightings in the Pinelands seem to be fairly common. I saw what I would describe as a ship that was (as I later discovered) a lenticular saucer. It was motionless over a lake in the early morning (about 3 am). It had no sound or flashing lights, but a thin red-lit ring encircled it.  I had no camera. No one else was there with me. I watched it for about a minute and then it lifted vertically a few feet, tilted at an angle, and took off rapidly, vanishing from sight in a few seconds.

An encounter with a UFO that leaves evidence behind, such as scorch marks on the ground or indents, etc., is said to be of the second kind. Spielberg’s film deals with the third kind – an encounter with visible occupants of a UFO. The fourth kind involves the person being taken and experimented on inside the alien craft. The fifth kind involves direct communication between aliens and humans, as portrayed in the 2016 film, Arrival.

I don’t know what I saw. I never read any news reports about it. I never reported it.

After I read that almanac entry on the Phoenix Lights, I looked at another almanac website for more information and that site that told me that on March 13 in 1855, Percival Lowell was born. Who was he? Born to a wealthy family, he graduated from Harvard, but he passed on working in the family business and instead did a lot of traveling and travel writing. In the 1890s, he read that astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli had discovered what appeared to be canals on Mars. Lowell was fascinated by that idea and put his fortune into studying the Red Planet.

He believed that the canals offered proof of intelligent life. He built a private observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Astronomers and scientists were skeptical of his view of intelligent life on Mars, but the general public was intrigued by his view. Lowell’s writing and observations had an impact, not as much on science as on the infant literary genre that became known as science fiction.

These two coincidences on March 13 led me to check out that date on Wikipedia. The event that caught my attention on yet another March 13, in 1781, was that the English astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus. Well, “discover” may be too strong because John Flamsteed had observed it in 1690, but thought it was a star. Herschel was the first to figure out that it was a planet and not a star.

He observed the planet’s very slow movement and determined that meant it was very far from the Sun – farther than Saturn, which was the farthest known planet. He named it after Ouranos, the Greek god of the sky. Since then, astronomers have discovered 27 moons orbiting the blue-green ice giant. The moons have literary names, mostly characters from Shakespeare’s plays. Uranus is an odd planet in that its axis is tilted so far that it appears to be lying on its side with its ringed moons circling the planet vertically.

Was it a coincidence that I found these three stories that day? Is there some synchronicity that these three events occurred on the same calendar date?  Is there a connection among these three March Thirteenths?

Though I believe in synchronicity, they seem to be coincidental. I found connections because I was looking for connections. But I am open-minded about the idea. I do believe in coincidences, and I do sometimes believe that things occur which stretch my belief in coincidences.

“Coincidences give you opportunities to look more deeply into your existence.”
Doug Dillon

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.”
– Albert Einstein

“I live for coincidences. They briefly give to me the illusion or the hope
that there’s a pattern to my life, and if there’s a pattern,
then maybe I’m moving toward some kind of destiny where it’s all explained.”
Jonathan Ames

Is the Black Knight Orbiting Earth?

NASA photo
Detail of a 1998 NASA photo id STS088-724-66, described as showing an item of space debris,[1] an object claimed by conspiracy theorists to be an extraterrestrial satellite, the “Black Knight”
The Black Knight story is a very mixed bag of probably unrelated stories that touch on space exploration, fringe science, conspiracies, astronomical observations, real satellites and fuzzy photos. I don’t consider myself to be a conspiracy theory type, but I like oddball stories and legends.

Though this story is current, the legendary aspects go back to back to 1899. That’s when some repeating sources from “out there” were heard during radio experiments done by Nikola Tesla.

In 1928, an amateur radio operator, Jorgen Hals of Norway, reported these radio signals or echoes. I think we can confirm that these signals were not made by an Earth-launched satellite. Of course, that left things open to aliens.
The best explanation of these early observations is that they came from pulsars, which were not discovered until 1968. A pulsar (short for pulsating radio star) is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. When this radiation beam is pointing toward Earth , they can be observed.

But in 1954 when newspapers were already full of UFO stories, stories emerged saying that the U.S. Air Force had reported two unidentified “satellites” orbiting Earth. This was a time when no country could launch a satellite.
There was a British rocket called the Black Knight that was used in conjunction with the Blue Streak missile program between 1958 and 1965, to test re-entry vehicles. But that is a dead end, because the program never put anything into orbit. I found no explanation for why the supposed object picked up the name of Black Knight, but it’s a sexy name to use for a legend.

As we entered the age of the “space race,” a 1960 TIME magazine story reported that the U.S. Navy had detected a dark object thought to be a Soviet spy satellite. Later, they reported that it was “the remains of an Air Force Discoverer VIII satellite that had gone astray.” To the conspiracy theorists, the explanation wasn’t acceptable and military cover ups were a large part of the UFO community.

On the extreme end of this Black Knight legend are those that believe it is a 13,000 year old object of extraterrestrial origin in near-polar orbit. In 1973, Duncan Lunan analyzed the long-delayed radio echoes and speculated that they could originate from a 13,000 year old alien probe located in an orbit around the earth’s moon. But Lunan later retracted his own conclusions. Lunan, a Scottish astronomer and science fiction writer, interpreted a message caught in the 1920s by two Norwegian physicists that he said came from a probe orbiting the Moon and sent there by the inhabitants of a planet orbiting Epsilon Boötis. He would later go on to revoke his withdrawal.

On the real science side, we had astronaut Gordon Cooper supposedly reported a UFO sighting during his 15th orbit in Mercury 9 in 1963.  When he returned, there was a media blackout and NASA attributed it to hallucinations. Cooper had claimed to have seen several objects that were “unidentified.”

The 1998 NASA photo (above) is believed by some to show the Black Knight satellite. It was photographed during the STS-88 mission. Most scientific investigators seem to agree that the object photographed is a thermal blanket that was confirmed as lost by the crew of the Endeavor space shuttle as they worked on the developing the International Space Station.

YouTube user NUA’s video “Black Knight Satellite UFO Documentary – Truth Exposed 2015 – (Debunked)”  states that the proof is conclusive that the 1998 NASA images are no Black Knight but just that satellite thermal blanket.

But that has not stopped the legend. There are videos that claim that the Black Knight is real. People who want to believe in alien intelligence and visitors and visits to Earth by them cling to these stories. I saw the film Arrival recently. I enjoyed it and found it a great conversation starter about communications, time and the possibilities of alien intelligence. These stories intrigue many of us and the belief that the government is hiding information from the public only seems more credible every year.

So, if you support the legend, you will point to “facts” such as that in 1957, long before the lost blanket, Dr. Luis Corralos of the Communications Ministry in Venezuela photographed the Black Knight while taking pictures of Sputnik II as it passed over Caracas. This unknown object was also seen “shadowing” the Sputnik 1 Spacecraft and the UFO (not identified as the Black Knight then) was in Polar orbit.

Again, this was in a time when no country could maintain a spacecraft in Polar Orbit. The first Polar-orbitingg satellite was launched in 1960. What’s the significance of this type of orbit? Polar orbits are often used for earth-mapping and observation, capturing the planet from one point.

I found online mentions of other sightings in the 1960′s of this polar-orbiting Black Knight and even estimates that the object’s weight was over 10 tons which would have made it the heaviest artificial satellite orbiting Earth.

On September 3, 1960, a tracking camera at Grumman Aircraft Corporation’s Long Island, NY factory is said to have taken a a photograph of the Black Knight in which it looks more like an aircraft than a satellite.

Looking more like an aircraft
Looking more like an aircraft?

I also have not found any explanations for why the Black Knight is here or what its purpose would be. Like that Arrival film (and maybe more so in the story the film is based on) story, those are really the big questions. And like addressed in that film, you would think the military of some country would have blasted the thing if it was seen as any kind of threat.

Did the Black Knight satellite and its radio messages originate from the Epsilon Bootes Star System 13.000 years ago? Epsilon Boötis (AKA Epsilon Boo or Izar) is a star in the northern constellation of Boötes and it came up in a Star Trek episode (“Whom Gods Destroy”) when the character Kelvar Garth is also referred to as Garth of Izar. Maybe that is where the Black Knight belongs – in science fiction.