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Originally posted by Zion Mainframe
Since the announcement, the discovery has generated a mystery.
McNeil's Nebula was not visible in seven photographs made between 1951 and 1991 for the Digital Sky Survey. But it did show up in a 1966 photo taken by Evered Kreimer, according to the web site of a space education organization called Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), based at MIT. Several SEDS readers informed the organization of the Kreimer image, which SEDS members confirmed.
The nebulous object in the 1966 image had never been cataloged, however.
Reipurth figures the star is a relative newborn, deeply embedded in its own natal cloud. It has apparently undergone an outburst that accounts for its sudden brightness and the illumination of the surrounding cloud -- the nebula.
Reipurth called the outburst a very rare event.
Additionally, the object is well over 1,000 light years distant. That means the light has been traveling for a thousand years or more to get here.
A thousand years ago, we were in the Dark Ages, Crusdades, lack of literature, no science, bad plumbing and abominable sanitation.
No, nobody then said "wow, there's going to be a nebula found about the year 2,000 but we need to mask it so alien hunters don't see it in 1996-2004."