Interstellar: A Film About Amateur Astronomy And The Search For Extra-terrestrials, by Bill Knell
Posted by dandare on November 6, 2007
written By: Bill Knell
If there is one thankless hobby or job in this world, it’s Amateur Astronomy. Amateur Astronomers are under-funded, underrated and always taken for granted. Yet these little giants of space science are always willing to stretch the bounds of our scientific knowledge without the need to work within the restraints of some established scientific theory or database. Despite the unappreciated nature of this endeavor and often finding themselves at odds with the scientific establishment, Amateur Astronomers are responsible for some of the most significant milestones achieved in Astronomy.
Keiichiro Okamura, a Japanese amateur astronomer, was responsible for some of the best photos ever taken of Halley’s Comet using just his telescope without the aid of computer-enhanced photography. Berto Monard of South Africa was recently honored by NASA after he became the first amateur astronomer to discover an afterglow of a gamma-ray burst, the most powerful explosion known in the Universe. Both were largely ignored or even belittled in the early years of their work.
Michael Oates is a British amateur astronomer that pioneered the technique of using advanced photo-processing techniques to search NASA’s SOHO archives for previously missed comets. Australian amateur astronomer Robert Owen Evans holds the all-time record for visual discoveries of supernovae. America’s own Clyde W. Tombaugh, began his career as an Amateur Astronomer and later discovered Pluto after being hired by Lowell Observatory in 1928.
It took years for Oates to get noticed. Evans is a Minister of the Uniting Church in Australia that has forty visual discoveries of supernovae to his credit, but was initially criticized when he began his work in the 1950s. A young and under-appreciated Clyde W. Tombaugh found his niche at Lowell Observatory. It was founded by Percival Lowell, a businessman, author, mathematician and amateur astronomer that found himself up against the scientific community after sketching what he claimed where canals on Mars. Scientists and Astronomers still argue about what may be artificial structures on the Martian surface.
Enter John Lenard Walson. He is an amateur astronomer who developed a system for photographing and video taping near earth and deep space objects. These objects appear to be huge spaceships or mega-structures built by unknown intelligences. I became aware of Walson through a fabulous new film entitled Interstellar. The film is yet another wonderful creation from eclectic filmmaker Jose Escamilla. UFO researchers and enthusiasts appreciate his work on several films which have documented the evidence for Alien visitations. Jose has once again brought forth a though-provoking, visual work of art that informs as well as it entertains.
Walson represents a new generation of twenty-first century amateur astronomers that have moved beyond merely searching for planets. Unlike most of their professional colleagues, they do not choose to ignore signs of other life in the universe. Instead, they look for and document evidence for those signs. Carl Sagan once summed up the twentieth century attitude of most Astronomers by saying, “I’m looking for stars, moons and planets. I’m not looking for E.T. That’s not tangible science.”
John Lenard Walson’s contraption is unique and his methods as yet unproven, however, he has a substantial body of amazing images. He also has some fans in the scientific community. Astronomers and others from Academia have visited this photographic wunderkind and left impressed with his techniques. Sadly, his work may be the best-kept secret in Amateur Astronomy. I certainly haven’t seen anything about him in the main stream media. However, I believe that will change as the new film from Jose Escamilla takes hold on TBLN.
Interstellar showcases his work and helps make the vast distances of space seem a bit less expansive and empty. The film runs for thirty minutes and is a must-see for anyone interested in space science and the search for extra-terrestrials. It’s fresh air to people like me that have had to endure years of constant skepticism by the majority of Astronomers. Most cannot or will not give credence to any evidence that proves the existence of life outside of our own. Those that tip their hat to the idea of other forms of life in the universe turn right around and claim that it’s just not capable of visiting us.
If astronomers, scientists and the news media are skeptical of John Lenard Walson, he’s in good company. Like the pioneers of astronomy that came before him, Walson is destined to change the minds of many. I hope his work and the film that has done such a masterful job of documenting it will do more than that. It’s my desire to see the direction of astronomy move away from ignoring evidence for extra-terrestrial life forms and back into the business of investigating it.
It wasn’t that long ago that scientists and astronomers believed that the universe was more than just a gathering of lifeless heavenly bodies. Some felt it was “teeming with life.” It’s always been my feeling that a few key scientists and astronomers owing their grants and careers directly or indirectly to government funds or intervention sold out. Being already skeptical by nature, they sold out their profession and lead others along by their influence to a place far removed from the assumption of life other than human in the far reaches of space.
The work of John Lenard Walson and ground-breaking filmmakers like Jose Escamilla provides hope for a more objective tomorrow among scientists, astronomers and the media. Having watched the film, I am not a fan because I research UFOs. I am a fan because no one has given me reason to doubt the amazing images I see recorded from the modest telescope lens of J. L. Walson. Watch and make up your own mind. You can read more about the film and view a trailer at http://Interstellar.UFOguy.com
About the Author:
Bill Knell is a popular Speaker, Author and Consultant. Featured in the Wall Street Journal and NY Times; seen on CNN, NBC Nightly News and Fox; heard on Mancow and Howard Stern; consultant to films like War of the Worlds and Independence Day. Visit www.UFOguy.com