Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Star Jelly, Witches Butter, Space Goo

What the heck is this stuff and what do I think…

Star Jelly or Witches Butter is a gelatinous, slime or blob-like, substance which is said to be found at the place where a meteor has fallen. Some people call this substance Star Slough or Pwder Ser in Welsh, or Star Rot. This stuff seems to evaporate before any solid analysis can be performed on it. Attempts to identify the stuff are at best conjectural. Most modern scientists say the stuff is from the stars not at all, but rather are naturally occurring items such as Nostoc (a blue-green algae) or Plasmodium which is the general term for gelatinous congregations of slime molds or certain kinds of fungi.

Sometimes these things are said to be insect or amphibian egg masses, or are identified as partially digested fish spit up by seagulls.

Seagull vomit! Oh Please!

You know folks some, or even all of these materials might account for the star jelly Phenomenon. However, none of these materials make clear, why, except by invoking odd happenstance and faulty observation, for hundreds of years so groups of people making their way to the spot where a meteor has fallen should stumble on odd mounds of jelly!

In early September 1979, the Associated Press brought out a story about three purple blobs found in a yard in Frisco, Texas. One blob evaporated before it could be saved. The remaining two were conserved for analysis by NASA. The blobs were warm when found and had appeared during the height of a meteor shower.

At first, NASA did not rule out the possibility that the jelly-like goo might be extraterrestrial, but an AP dispatch the following day inferred that the blobs were merely industrial waste.

On the evening of October 8, 1844 two men were walking in a field near Coblentz, Germany, when they observed something luminous fall to the ground. It was too dark to see the object, so the men marked the spot and came back by daylight to look at it. What they found was a mass of gray jelly which quivered when they poked it with a stick.

These gelatinous meteors had troubled early astronomers for years. As early as 1819, Rufus Graves, a lecturer in chemistry at Dartmouth College, described an odd material he found after a meteor shower: a "buff colored, pulpy substance of the consistence of good, soft soap, of an offensive suffocating smell. A few minutes' exposure to the atmosphere changed the buff into a livid color resembling venous blood. It was observed to attract moisture readily from the air." There was an outbreak of a similar phenomenon, resembling purplish blobs in 1973. These blobs were found on telephone poles in suburban Dallas, Texas.

Whatever they are, such phenomena have been around for centuries, but who knows what may turn up in the future to alter my opinion, that’s why I invite you to keep and open mind and keep walking in this big weird world of ours!

I’m Average Joe


Whats up Doc? said...

I wonder if it tastes as good on toast as beans?

Anonymous said...

If our planet had been free of microbial life this may have been the start of it, as it is the bacteria already present dispatched it.