Monday, July 28, 2008

"Star Jelly" or "Slime Rain"? Either way, it's gross.

I know the Xoom team recently did some investigating on a small-town case of "star jelly" or "slime rain".

For those of you not familiar with this phenomenon, "star jelly" is a substance that apparently falls from the sky every now and again and collects in gelatinous blobs on the ground. It has been described worldwide for hundreds of years and often accompanies meteor showers - hence the "star jelly" moniker:

Centuries ago, the Welsh called it “pwdre ser” which means “rot of the stars." Whatever it’s called, the star jelly phenomenon represents one of the most persistent and baffling enigmas in science history. Throughout the ages, there have been dozens of reports of eerie deposits of gelatinous blobs found on the ground the morning following the sighting of a bright meteor, or the occasional meteor shower...

Dozens of references to star jelly can be found in an array of poems, scientific journals and literary publications.

This "star jelly" continues to be reported at fair frequency all over the world, as far-flung locales and even some big city towns occasionally find themselves dowsed in this cosmic snot. It has even affected our popular culture - the 1958 sci-fi classic The Blob was supposedly based on a 1950 incident in Philadelphia where local police stumbled across a huge mass of the mysterious goo:

The cops described the gunk as "a domed disk of quivering jelly, 6 feet in diameter, one foot thick at the center and an inch or two near the edge." It dissolved into an odorless, sticky scum when they touched it. A bright meteor was seen by many witnesses the night before in the area.

So what of it, Xoom? You guys looked into an incident of this, did you not? Did you find anything of note?

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