CNI News editor Michael Lindemann interviewed Prudence Calabrese of the Farsight Institute on the evening of Thursday, December 5, 1996 regarding the latest information about possible astronomical evidence of a second object in the vicinity of comet Hale-Bopp. In this interview, Prudence gives a detailed description of photos of the object provided by an unnamed but allegedly world-class astronomer, and also gives tantalizing hints about who this astronomer may be. Discerning readers are invited to pursue these new leads.
Michael Lindemann: Prudence, what's the current status of your investigation?
Prudence Calabrese: We're still collecting information. There are so many rumors -- so-and-so has information, etc. -- but we don't have any absolute confirmation at this point except from our astronomer friend. We were in contact with him earlier this week and he was still doing his analysis at that point.
M: What are his issues about coming forward?
P: He wants to be sure that he has an airtight case before he presents this.
M: That there is another object?
P: Yes, that there is another object. He's received other data -- I don't know who it's from and I don't know the nature of it either. Also, someone contacted me and left a message just a few minutes ago, saying that he has the radio signal on tape.
M: That signal, as I understand it, has been confirmed by other astronomers already, correct? Not a signal, exactly, but what they call "radio noise"?
P: Every comet gives out radio noise. It's the nature of comets -- they're very noisy. But apparently there is some regular signal that some people have heard, and this fellow claims that he has it on tape. I don't know yet. But I'll let you know.
M: There have been rumors that Greenwich, England may have something. What is the latest on that?
P: There's an amateur astronomer, Joe Le'Sesne -- he's fairly well known in amateur astronomy -- and he has some contacts at Greenwich. And they've confirmed that a team of theirs has observed an anomalous object near Hale-Bopp, and they're reducing their data now. I've called there, and someone is supposed to be getting back with me tomorrow.
M: The other observatory that's been mentioned -- besides Lick, which comes up often -- is Kit's Peak. What is it about Kit's Peak?
P: It's the same information and the same source. Joe also got confirmation from Kit's Peak. I've heard from someone else -- I don't remember who -- that they also got confirmation from Kit's Peak. But then someone ELSE called Kit's Peak and was told that they haven't observed anything there. I think it depends on who you know.
M: How does Joe Le'Sesne have so much access?
P: He knows a bunch of the astronomers. He calls his personal contacts. That's what I'm going through now, personal contacts that I have, or friends of friends....
M: What is your best estimate now of how this story is going to break, and when?
P: I'm not sure when. I had hoped it would happen this week, but now I'm not sure that anything will happen [by Friday]. I still think that it's at most two weeks away. I believe it will be some astronomer who will come forward. Apparently there is more than one who has observed the anomaly.
M: Last time we talked, you told me that you had photographs from the unnamed astronomer. What do those photographs actually show?
P: The object is behind the comet, and it actually outshines part of the comet's corona. There are several large magnitude stars right in that area, and the object itself looks like it could be a star to someone who's not familiar with what's what in an astronomical picture. It is clearly outshining some of the corona, and it's in a place where there isn't a star of nearly that magnitude.. It's spherical and luminescent.
M: The star charts don't show anything where that thing is, is that correct?
P: Yes. Nothing remotely close to that magnitude.
M: To get very specific: If the core of Hale-Bopp in this picture, disregarding the corona, were the size of a dime, how big would the object seem to be?
P: It's larger. Big as a pennie maybe.
M: OK. If we had the dime on the screen and the penny on the screen, how much space would there be between them?
P: I'd have to go back and look...
M: Just give your best estimate. I'm sure you've looked at these photos with some attention...
P: Yes. I'd say, maybe, a quarter of an inch.
M: So, fairly close then.
P: Yes, but we don't know exactly if... You can't...
M: I understand you can't tell how close it REALLY is, of course. But just in terms of how it looks in the flat, two-dimensional image, you're saying that the distance from one to the other is less than the radius of the comet?
M: What is the orientation of the other object to the comet? Where on the clock-face... What clock position is it?
P: It's at eleven o'clock.
M: You said the object seems more luminous than the comet, is that right?
M: Are there any other features you can mention? Does it have any dark spots, any appendages, any irregularities?
P: It's entirely round and very luminous. There are no dark spots or irregularities that I can see. I haven't done a heavy-duty analysis of the photos.
M: Are there any other objects that are anywhere near as bright?
P: No. The comet itself is....
M: Besides the comet itself, of course....
P: Right. No. There are several large-magnitude stars that are very bright, approaching that brightness, but this is brighter. I'm not sure how much so.
M: A what-if question. What would be your posture, or the posture of the Institute, if it should happen that neither this astronomer nor any of the others in the end confirm this object? What would be your response to that? Have you talked about that?
P: We've been talking about it. What we're thinking of doing is getting together a network of astronomers and amateur astronomers who are interested, and starting to do a major skywatch to see if we can come up with any evidence ourselves.
M: It has been said by several people that the object seems to be there sometimes and gone sometimes...
P: Yes, that's what I've been told by the astronomer, and by other people. Whitley [Strieber] talked with somebody just the other day who was looking at Hale-Bopp through binoculars and saw the object, and apparently fifteen minutes later it was gone.
M: That was probably Bob Collins, who put that on the internet. He seemed to be both excited and perplexed. That was in Colorado. He says he definitely saw something, and it wasn't there later on.
M: Prudence, I realize you have sources to protect... Some names are being speculated on now, as to who the mystery person is. Some people have sleuthed pretty hard and may be zeroing in on the right person. Do you anticipate any damage if people do zero in on a name and happen to be right... Do you anticipate any trouble or damage from that?
P: I think it would depend on how it came out. If that's all that was said -- "We've narrowed it down and we think it's so-and-so" -- I don't think that would be a problem at all. If people say, "It's so-and-so and he must be an idiot for thinking there's an object out there," I think that could be a problem...
M: This person must be very concerned about being found wrong at a time when his own career is certainly in the ascendant...
P: Absolutely. And that's why he's taking his time. But my god, it's only been a week, or whatever, since he started doing this analysis. We've been getting a lot of flack from the internet community, saying "You should say who this is right now. You can't withhold this." But this man is a scientist. He needs to analyse his data and come up with an irrefutable case to make sure that what he's observing is really what he thinks it is. He's collected more data just in the past few days. So you can't just turn around overnight and say, "Here it is..."
M: When was the last time you were in touch with him?
P: On Tuesday [Dec 3].
M: Was it your impression at that time that he was moving toward a more solid position on this? How would you characterize...
P: He said he had more data in and he was working on the analysis. He said if things work out as he anticipates, when he presents this there will be no ambiguity about whether or not there's been an object there. And he said that most likely there will be no ambiguity about whether it's a natural object or artificial.
M: Is it your understanding that he entertains the possibility that the object is artificial?
P: Yes, he does, because of the motion, the degree of luminosity...
M: I would think that if this guy is any of the people we think he might be, that this is kind of a major paradigm buster for him...
P: Yes, which is another reason why he's taking his time. When we first contacted him, he said that some anomalies had been observed but he just didn't know what they were. He didn't seem that interested. And I think just in looking into it, it started to peak his interest. And now, this must be very difficult for him. I think for a lot of scientists it would be.
M: Do you think that alone would stop him from saying something, the fact that it is obviously a kind of paradigm shattering possibility?
P: I don't think it will stop him. I think it may pause him... put him on pause at least to re-evaluate what he thinks about the universe, the nature of life and what's out there.
M: Would you say at this time that he's working entirely alone, or does he have any partner or...
P: I don't think he's working alone, but I'm not sure on that. I think he's working with a couple of other people.
M: You know, of course, that I'm just burning up with curiosity...
M: But then again, what we really need to know is not just who the man is, but what he's thinking. And for that, of course, we have to wait on him.
P: Right. And our official position is that we don't want to force him to come forward. We truly want this to be his own decision. It's our feeling that he will come forward, and not too far down the road. But he should be given the time he needs to complete his analysis.
M: Courtney Brown said not long ago that he did anticipate some kind of presidential announcement before long, but that was not with any specific reference to Hale-Bopp. Is it now your belief that Hale-Bopp may be a linch pin in that movement, or is there something else in the picture too that you're looking at?
P: We're not sure. We ARE sure that a presidential announcement will be made within this president's term. We still have to run more [remote viewing] sessions to find out how this new information fits in with all that.
= end =
Original file name: .CNI - Comet.Prudence 12/5
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