Cue the spooky music.
The Web's abuzz about government video that shows a giant bright spot near Mercury.
"Wow. Wait till you see this," says UFO buff and YouTube channeler siniXster, narrating as a solar flare fills a view of the planet closest to the sun.
"Holy smokes, look at that," siniXster says. "That is definitely some sort of manufactured object. It's cylindrical on either side. It has shape in the middle. It definitely looks like a ship to me."
Which is why the video is titled, "Amazing huge cloaked UFO next to Mercury." (Go to http://bit.ly/sIbc0i.)
Imagine a Death Star, right out of Star Wars, or a Cylon Basestar, out of Battlefield Gallactica.
Or how about an alien tanning franchise?
"I know what it is," quipped astronomer Derrick Pitts of the Franklin Institute. "The Plutonians have positioned a transporter station right next to Mercury so they can come from the outer reaches of the solar system, where it's really cold, and they warm up near Mercury and they vacation for a while, and then they go back."
But why Mercury instead of Earth?
"No Kardashians," he said.
It took a little prodding to get a serious response.
"I cannot speak about that. I am not authorized by my home planet," he initially said.
Then he launched into a riff about "unsubstantiated ridiculousness" on the Internet.
Every 12 seconds, 24 hours a day, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory takes images of the sun at 10 different wavelengths, so if something were truly there, it likely would have been seen before.
Besides, anything that big would have caused some Mercurial misbehavior.
Unless . . . the object's gravity was also cloaked!
That kind of imagination reminded him of the Heaven's Gate cult that committed group suicide hoping to hitch a ride on an alien ship hiding in the tail of Comet Hale-Bopp.
The so-called spot, it turns out, was the effect of some computerized PhotoShopping at the Naval Research Laboratory, which produced the raw video.
Basically, to make faint features of the flare brighter, the computer tried to remove background light, such as stars, two NRL scientists explained to www.lifeslittlemysteries.com. Footage was compared to the previous day, when Mercury was at a different position. After some earlier duplicated light was averaged away, the image was enhanced, and the result was the odd bright spot.
After processing was tried a different day for comparison, the spot disappeared, they said.
In the vast universe, it's likely life exists elsewhere, Pitts said. But so far he hasn't seen any strong evidence that any civilization has figured out how to move massive ships faster than light, making interstellar travel feasible.
He once saw some white objects in the sky at night.
"As it turns out, they were the underbellies of geese reflecting light from the city," he said.
"I think it was the croaking that gave them away."