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What Is Star Jelly?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 21, 2024
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Star jelly is a semi-mysterious gelatinous substance allegedly deposited on the ground during meteor showers. The phenomenon of star jelly has been observed since at least 1641, and probably much earlier. In Welsh, star jelly is known as pwdre sêr ("rot of the stars").

A long 1979 article in the paranormal Fate magazine asserted this substance has an extraterrestrial origin, and constitutes "cellular organic matter" which exists as "prestellar molecular clouds" traveling through space. Some paranormal enthusiasts have drawn a connection between star jelly and the idea of atmospheric beasts, calling the jelly the remains of these animals.

Scientists are extremely skeptical, favoring a terrestrial origin for the substance. The scientific explanation for star jelly is that stargazers witness a meteor shower, then run in the direction where they think they fell, only to find a pre-existing slime on the ground, be it slime mold, nostoc, or lichen. Nostoc, in particular, a fresh-water cyanobacteria, has the potential to rapidly form colonies on open ground, appearing as a mysterious slime. Amusingly, nostoc is edible, being rich in protein and vitamin C, and is cultivated in China, Java, and Japan for human consumption. So "star jelly" may be edible.

In reality, meteors barely ever make it to the ground. Most burn up dozens of miles above the surface. Keep in mind that meteors are usually made of rock or even iron — if they had a jelly element, it would be incinerated by the outermost layers of the Earth's atmosphere. When it became obvious that "star jelly" could not be connected to meteor showers, paranormalists tried to connect it to molecular clouds, an even less likely source of the material.

Molecular clouds do indeed exist — they are observed by astronomers regularly. However, these molecular clouds are often very diffuse -- thousands or millions of times more diffuse than air, not to mention they are located many hundreds or thousands of light years away. Any molecular cloud of appreciable size would be observed by astronomers blocking starlight long before it reached the Earth. Even small molecular clouds would be observed by astronauts on the Space Shuttle or the International Space Station, but none have been sighted. Our solar system actually has a matter density greater than that of any prestellar molecular cloud, as our solar system is the outcome of a molecular cloud that has collapsed under its own gravity. Our solar system is scattered with dust, but none of it in jelly form.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
By anon317950 — On Feb 05, 2013

I am a gardener and spend most of my day outside. Yet I have only encountered this once in November 2012 in Gosemore, Near Hitchin in Hertfordshire.

It appeared overnight or very early in the morning. Several blobs were all confined to a small area about 1 square meter.

The jelly was clear, dry and felt slightly sticky. It had no smell. It had not come up from the ground because it was sitting on the grass with very little grass inside it.

BBC Scotland has investigated this same clear jelly after several finds in Scotland. The coloured varieties have all been previously identified as fungi. A test commissioned by the BBC on the unidentified clear jelly discovered that the material was 'mostly water' but surprisingly contained no DNA, RNA or cell structures of any kind.

Until I read the BBC's findings, I had fancied the theory that this was immature frog spawn regurgitated by a heron which then re-ate the frog's body. There are herons and frogs in the area I found the jelly. However, with frogs spawning in March and April, I wondered if frogs would really contain any spawn as early as November? The fact the the jelly has no DNA rules this theory out. It remains a mystery!

By anon161569 — On Mar 20, 2011

Actually, scientific evidence from various top sources supports the possibility of star jelly being biological and extraterrestrial in origin, e.g. the research currently being done at cardiff university wales. even skeptical biologists in the know have to admit that this is not something to be dismissed.

By anon152091 — On Feb 12, 2011

LOL. this mysterious phenomenon was been documented way when planes and chemtrails didn't even exist yet. --alien invader

By livinglife — On Jan 23, 2011

MoonFry, I live close by to the area you've mentioned. When did you see this bizarre cloud formation and the raining goop? Very curious. Thanks.

By anon145108 — On Jan 21, 2011

I distinctly remember an encounter I had with "Star Jelly" one day when I was younger.

I was walking toward the side entrance of my local church (back when my mother made me go) and was trailing behind my mom because we were late. I started running to catch up with her when something fell on my hand from the sky.

I remember it looking almost exactly like Vaseline but it had more of a yellow hue to it. I looked up, thinking the substance fell out of a plane, but it was a cloudy day and I couldn't see anything.

Befuddled, and actually a little scared (childishly thinking it was some sort divine intervention), I touched the substance to see what it was and, much to my confusion, it disintegrated where I touched it.

I then proceeded to rub it, much in the manner one would rub lotion on one's hands, and it disintegrated. The only other thing I can remember about it is that, unlike hand moisturizer, it didn't leave a moist residue on my hands and that it had a rotten smell to it.

I ran up to my mom to tell her what happened, but she suspected it was bird poop. After telling her all about what just happened, she laughed and didn't give much more credence to it.

I'm glad I found this site as it shows I'm not insane and instead, just encountered a rather bizarre and mysterious phenomenon.

It bothers me that this remains unexplained. I doubt the existence of atmospheric beasts, but I wouldn't be surprised to see if the jelly has an extraterrestrial origin. Unfortunately, a lot of those sorts of things lay victim to conspiracy nuts that could dissuade serious scientific investigation.

By anon91395 — On Jun 21, 2010

star jelly and blood rain are I believe components that are residually being placed in the atmosphere via chemtrails. I find there to be a sinister reason behind the grid lines laid out by chemtrails.

Dessicated red blood cells, bacterium (including Pseudomonas)and the cyanobacteria are all found in chemtrail emissions and are being used as a form of nanotechnology to infiltrate and control the masses via a vector of organisms which spontaneously regroup once in vivo within humans.

Once a meteor shower changes the atmosphere violently, these particles come out of atmospheric suspension and are flung to the surface in the form of star jelly and blood rain.

I know, far out and seemingly delusional, but nanotechnology exists and is far more sophisticated than we realize. Notice how people aren't speaking to each other any more the way they once did and how there is a general mind of separation pervading the populace. This is no accident. The infection is within.

Star jelly and blood rain do not come from deep space. That would be ridiculous. Anyway, I'm not a loon, these are just my thoughts on the subject.

By MoonFyre — On Jun 14, 2010

I attended a wedding on Mount Charleston above Las Vegas last weekend. Driving up the hill to Mount Charleston, we took photos of the most bizarre cloud formation I have ever seen. I am a lifelong skywatcher. The clouds were flat and looked like dishes that were stacked. These were visible from Interstate 15 around 1600 hours.

That night, there was severe weather with sustained winds of 45 mph with gusts of up to 69 mph. On the mountain it rained, sleeted, and snow fell, and there were massive rains for the night and most of the day of the 12th, until around 1500 hours. Walking out of the Mount Charleston Resort and Lodge as we walked the way to the deck for the ceremony (1530 hours), we took photos of a gelatinous mass, (star jelly) that was on the north side of the building.

My grandson did not show them to anyone at the wedding, and did not show me the photos until after the ceremony. At that time he told me he had held his breath and did not touch it. I did not go back to witness this for myself. I observed it from a window in the dining room. I was mortified because of two different TV programs that aired the medical problems that warned the public of the medical problems (staphylococcus and strep) that come from being in the close proximity of this innocent looking gelatinous mass last week on the history channel and I believe National Geographic.

I am not sure what the channels were but will find out and send that with the photos. I need for this to be known and we will be checking and seeing if we develop the medical problems that were warned about last week.

We will send photos of the clouds and the mass tomorrow.

Thank you for reading what I write. --MoonFyre

Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
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