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At the beginning of Thor, Jane Foster has brought Darcy and Erik out in the middle of the desert because she's been investigating "atmospheric disturbances" that have had a regular, highly predictable pattern, and the next one is supposed to happen right now. And then the Bifrost opens and drops Thor in their laps.

And then we see how Thor ended up there, and it was a one-off event, not at all periodic or mathematically predictable. So that makes me wonder: what were the previous events that established the pattern that led Jane to (correctly) believe there would be another one at that exact place and time? She makes it sound as if they were recent, but on the Asgard side of things we have no indication that there's recently been regular, periodic travel between Asgard and Earth. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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    @Shevliaskovic I believe this is a reference to the first Thor film – Liath Oct 7 '14 at 11:55
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    Because the Bifrost touches all the 9 realms simultaneously, it's possible that opening the bridge up to one affects the others in some ways, depending on which realm is being traveled to. It was shown that there had been recent travel to and from Jotunheim. This is just a theory, so I'm posting it as a comment for now. – Monty129 Oct 7 '14 at 12:44
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    @Monty129, Or, potentially, the single event of Thor travelling to Midgar had measurable effects there prior to his actual arrival. – Brian S Oct 7 '14 at 14:51
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    @Monty129 Also, didn't Odin send Mjölnir there earlier? Could this have triggered some atmospheric-patterny-mumbo-jumbo? – Möoz Oct 7 '14 at 21:33
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    @Monty129: The hammer does not arrive before Thor does. If you watch the second time it shows Thor arriving on Earth and getting hit by the van, as they're leaving you see a meteor-like object emerge from the cloudy vortex and fly off to impact a great distance away. The hammer simply attracted the attention of SHIELD before Thor did. – Mason Wheeler Oct 7 '14 at 21:51
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TL;DR: Jane Foster was not seeing the Bifrost open & close. She had instead found a way to detect the pathways along which it opens - the "branches" of Yggdrasil.

We know from the events of the film that the Bifrost Bridge is only opened when needed. We also know that transportation using the bridge results in an obvious pattern on the ground. However, the events being monitored by Foster were repetitive, predictable, and did NOT leave any observable effect on the ground. Rather, she was looking UP... into the stars.

Jane Foster described her research as astronomic anomalies. As Thor explains to her, she is actually seeing Yggdrasil, the World Tree:

THOR: You must do this. You must finish what you've started.

JANE: Why?

THOR: Because you're right. It's taken so many generations for your people to get to this point, but you're nearly there. You just need someone to show you how close you really are.

THOR: Look - your ancestors called it magic. You call it science. I come from a place where they're one and the same thing. (begins drawing)

(Shot of notebook. We recognize that Thor is drawing the branches of Yggdrasil as she looks on, amazed and intrigued.)

JANE: What is it?

THOR: This is how my father explained it to me. Your world is one of the Nine Realms of the Cosmos, linked to each other by the branches of Yggdrasil, the World Tree. Now, you see it every day, without realizing. Images glimpsed through - what did you call it? - (checks her notebook) - this Hubble Telescope. So, Nine Realms...

They look at each other. She nods. They smile. This is going to be a long night...

With this information in mind, the only possible event that Foster could be seeing is the pathways themselves, possibly pulses of energy along the branches of the World Tree. This concept of energy pulsing along pathways - similar to a nervous system - is consistent with other images we've see of Yggdrasil in the MCU, and even with the "frozen" effect we see when Loki freezes the overloading Bifrost Bridge:

enter image description here

As for Foster "predicting" where Thor would land, it's more likely that - by tracing the pathways - Foster had found one of the locations where Yggdrasil intersects with Earth. As a result, she was already at the location when Thor was casually cast to Earth by his father Odin.

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Allow me to separate this out into a couple questions:

  1. What had Jane been studying before Thor's arrival?
  2. How did she know another event was about to occur just before Thor's arrival.

The answer to the second question is simpler than the first: she happened to be watching her magical science devices at the time and saw when the event began. She races over with Darcy and Erik and finds Thor. So it was not that she predicted the event, so much as had the tools to know when it was happening.

Now, what had she been studying?

If you'll recall, Thor left a weird design on the desert floor with mystical-looking Asgardian markings. Mjolnir didn't leave markings, but it did leave a giant crater that brought dozens of people and SHIELD to check it out. Thus, I claim that people and objects from Asgard can't pop up in New Mexico, even in the middle of the desert, without people noticing their arrival. Consider also that Jane was watching her magical science devices around the clock and would have noticed if they had. So people probably weren't using the bifrost to come to Midgard/Earth.

Presumably, the Aurora Borealis type stuff she was seeing had to do with trans-Yggdrasil travels from Asgard to elsewhere. One of them probably occurred when Thor, the Warriors Three, and Sif went to Jotenheim. We know that the Nine Realms are somehow connected through worm holes or something like them by Yggdrasil.

We also know that the Convergence (in Thor: The Dark World) only happens every five thousand years, so the Nine Realms may have been almost lined up a year and half before, during Thor. Then, travels between the Nine Realms would show up as they passed near to Midgard.

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    This answer doesn't work. Jane didn't "happen to be watching at just the right moment;" it specifically says that she predicted it far enough in advance to call Eric and get him to take a plane out to New Mexico. That requires at least a day of planning, and that's if you're able to just drop everything, or most likely a fair bit longer than that. – Mason Wheeler Oct 8 '14 at 2:28
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    Jane says that the last 17 occurrences were all predictable to the second. She did not “happen to be watching” the skies by chance when Thor arrived. – alexwlchan Oct 8 '14 at 16:54

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