Alien Mirages and Martian Canals

  • Published on: 03 March 2021
  • A century ago, many thought Mars was scored by a canal system constructed by an advanced civilization - an idea championed by astronomer Percival Lowell. Why? How did an astronomer come to this conclusion? Today we explore the canal phenomenon and discuss why it's a crucial allegory from history - pertinent now more than ever. Written & presented by Prof David Kipping.

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    ► Lowell, P., 1895, "Mars", Houghton, Mifflin and Co., MA
    ► Lowell, P., 1906, "Mars and Its Canals", The Macmillian Company, NY
    ► Lowell, P., 1908, "Mars As the Abode of Life", The Macmillian Company, NY
    ► Sheehan, W., 1997, "Giovanni Schiaparelli: Visions of a colour blind astronomer", JBAA, 107, 11:
    ► Lowell, A. L., 1935, "Biography of Percival Lowell", The Macmillian Company, NY
    ► Dollfus, A., 1909, "The first Pic du Midi photographs of Mars", l'Astronomie, 2009, 27:
    ► Sheehan, W., 1988, "Planets and Perception: Telescopic Views and Interpretations, 1609-1909", University of Arizona Press, AZ
    ► Rosenthal & Fode, 1963, "The effect of experimenter bias on the performance of the albino rat", Syst. Res., 8, 183:
    ► Evans & Maunder, 1903, "Experiments as to the actuality of the Canals observed on Mars", MNRAS, 63, 488:
    ► Van de Kamp, P., 1969, "Alternate dynamical analysis of Barnard's star", AJ, 74, 757:
    ► Gatewood & Eichhorn, 1973, "An unsuccessful search for a planetary companion of Barnard's star BD +4 3561", AJ, 78, 769:
    ► Bailes, Lyne, & Shemar, 1991, "A planet orbiting the neutron star PSR1829-10", Nature, 352, 311:
    ► Bailes, M., Lyne, A. & Shemar, S., 1991, "A planet orbiting the neutron star PSR1829-10", Nature, 352, 311:
    ► Wolszczan, A. & Frail, D., 1992, "A planetary system around the millisecond pulsar PSR1257 + 12", Nature, 355, 145:

    Music licensed by (SS) [], or via Creative Commons (CC) Attribution License (, or with permission from the artist
    ► "A Fog Slowly Lifting" @ 0:00 & 22:34 (unreleased), "My Unbelief" @ 8:13 (, "Fragmented" @ 18:35 (, "Lost in Wandering" @ 28:02 ( & are by Hill, with permission by the artist, see:, &
    ► "Void" @ 1:40 and "Trace Correction" @ 30:16 are by Indive, licensed under a CC Attribution license:
    ► "The Sun is Scheduled to Come Out Tomorrow" @ 3:56, "Stories About the World That Once Was" @ 11:17, "Cylinder Five" @ 15:29 and "Cylinder Six" @ 26:48 are by Chris Zabriskie licensed under a CC Attribution license:
    ► "Painted Deserts" @ 24:55 by Shimmer licensed via SS

    0:00 Prologue
    1:40 Perseverance
    3:57 The Allure of Aliens
    8:13 Lowellian Mars
    15:29 Gestalt Reconfiguration
    18:35 A-Priori
    22:34 Stubborn Heart
    26:48 Vigilance
    30:16 Credits

    Thumbnail by Joe Keller/Daily Paintworks:

    #MartianCanals #AlienMirages #CoolWorlds
  • Runtime : 30:54
  • Martian Canals Mars NASA Mars Perseverance NASA Perseverance Percival Lowell Lowellian Mars Mars Civilization Mars Aliens Victorian Aliens Cool Worlds Astronomy Astrophysics Astrobiology David Kipping


  • Cool Worlds
    Cool Worlds   5 months ago

    Of course, I forgot to say that if you like this video and its message then please do all the YouTube things to bump the algorithm (like, share, comment)! Thank you again for watching.

  • Wonderlost Soul
    Wonderlost Soul   3 weeks ago

    A well-executed video. Lowell was a fascinating character of science history, and even more fascinating was how taken the world was with his ideas, unfounded as they were. I recently finished a video essay touching on the same themes, check it out if you're interested:

  • JayVal90
    JayVal90   3 weeks ago

    I’m reminded of a quote: “Why are you surprised when people fail, as if by some miracle they made a mistake? You should instead be constantly surprised by the miracle that things work as well as they do, and we aren’t constantly thrown into chaos.”

  • JayVal90
    JayVal90   3 weeks ago

    It’s never aliens…until it’s aliens.

  • abusecore
    abusecore   1 months ago

    I like how this channel seems to give space to the rare earth hypothesis.. excellent stuff thanks

  • Simon F
    Simon F   1 months ago

    The ability to fool yourself completely

  • Léo Muringa_RS
    Léo Muringa_RS   1 months ago

    Now, we'll find the Protheans Ruins, and soon enough, the great Mass Rellay in our Solar System

  • Wilson
    Wilson   1 months ago

    Excellent video.

  • Francesco Resente
    Francesco Resente   1 months ago

    Tbf the best thing to come out of Lowell's stubborness is the great sci fi literature of the early 1900s

    FILTHY ANIMAL   1 months ago

    I love these videos! This man was born to make these gifts of knowledge.

  • ReverendRV
    ReverendRV   1 months ago

    Yes! We A Priori rule out or rule in our Presupositions. I learn from all these Science videos and try not to rule out what they teach. You said we should study without Presupositions, and I recommend this be done with Theology. I have found there are many reasons to be a Christian; if you don't A Priori rule it out...

  • Raimo Kangasniemi
    Raimo Kangasniemi   2 months ago

    Percival Lowell was a member of a vast dynasty of wealthy New England 'brahmins' and dilettantes; his sister was the Imagist poet and patron Amy Lowell(1874-1925) and poets James Russell Lowell(1819-91) and Robert Lowell(1917-77) were relations. Percival and Amy's grand-nephews William Bundy and McGeorge Bundy had vastly grander and destructive delusions than grand-uncle Percival - both would be supporting architects of the Vietnam war as White House policy advisers. Amy, like her brother, couldn't stand opposition to her views, had a strong controlling streak, and she not only made, but tried to break literary careers, through her connections and wealth, if her wards rebelled. Both Lowell siblings had an innate need not only to leave a mark, but to dominate their chosen field - in the case of Percival, the study of Mars.

  • Bari Izlam
    Bari Izlam   2 months ago

    "Mars has cannal!"- lowell...more like "lol" am i right?

  • niall
    niall   2 months ago

    This guy loves himself 😂

  • Omer Karacay
    Omer Karacay   2 months ago

    Wow.. You deserve millions of subscriptions and views. This channel deserve so much more than this. Keep up the excellent work! Thank you so much for the great content!

  • Antonio Maglione
    Antonio Maglione   2 months ago

    Excellent video!You may want talk next about Fred Hoyle and why he never wanted to abandon Stationary State theory.Thanks...

  • robert mills
    robert mills   2 months ago

    People don't realize how important this video is. I always quote Christopher Hitchens when anyone makes big claims, Hitchens said "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence", I think emotions are very important for human survival but in science you cannot let emotions or pre conception guide your research outcome. Another thing I absolutely loved about this video is that canals were an emerging innovation at that time and so naturally the guy looked for canals on mars, thus us looking for signs of intelligent alien life based on current level of technology is a wrong approach, but then again no body knows what new technology we will have in next 10, 20, 50, 100years snd so looking for unknown technology is almost impossible. Thanks you cool worlds lab and professor for this incredible and informative video. Science never ceases to amaze me!

  • A J
    A J   2 months ago

    I just love this channel

  • D T
    D T   2 months ago

    Alien belief is like a religion for some people. Science and facts won't change their mind.

  • j smitty
    j smitty   3 months ago

    Of Course we should be skeptical and observant of our preconceived notions. Just think of how sterilized science would be if it were conclusively determined life intelligent life was only ever to be formed on earth. It would be stunningly heart breaking to say the least and would take the wind out of the sails to pursue interplanetary space travel to a degree. With the science backing me I say we just do not know 🤔

  • cruzcam
    cruzcam   3 months ago

    Valles Marineris is a rare geological feature of Mars. It actually is a system of canyons that runs along the Martian surface east of the Tharsis region. Could that be what made Lowell hallucinate martian canals? 🤔

  • Shahab Mos
    Shahab Mos   3 months ago

    martian canal is a myth but what about a martian channel ?let that sync in .

  • A. H.
    A. H.   3 months ago

    “But did Lowell do DMT?”

  • Vasuki CG
    Vasuki CG   3 months ago

    I found your channel fairly recently and this is my first video, I just wanna say that the production quality is magnificent.This is a truly amazing documentary, not to mention this is for free.

  • Larkinchance
    Larkinchance   3 months ago

    I waited with great anticipation for the 1965 Voyager photos of Mars. When they arrived I was disappointed to see a dull, B+W cratered landscape. From the launch, I waited years to see Viking land on Mars and when it did, my first thought was... “What's on the other side of that hill”.... Finally, I found Percival Lowell's book, “Mars and it's Canals” in a used book store and still have it today.

  • erlend ekseth
    erlend ekseth   4 months ago

    your channel keeps getting better, thank you for doing this. much love

  • onlyonewhyphy
    onlyonewhyphy   4 months ago

    Education is not a gague of personal intelligence.People struggle with this idea.

  • Ian Claudio
    Ian Claudio   4 months ago

    In a way quite sad....just really sad

  • Joey Holthusen
    Joey Holthusen   4 months ago

    Explain the octagon shape storm on the poles of Saturn please. Great video's

  • recklesswhisper
    recklesswhisper   4 months ago

    PL incident was one of the dumbest, stupidest, things I know happened in science research.^..^~~

  • Bitchslapper316
    Bitchslapper316   4 months ago

    I'm not sure if this video was directed at the possible phosphine detection on Venus, Avi Loebs claims that Oumuamua may be artificial or the dark matter hypothesis.