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'Alien megastructure' star is still a mystery


Posted on Monday, 8 August, 2016 | Comment icon 341 comments

Is there an alien structure around KIC 8462852 ? Image Credit: NASA / Rick Guidice
Astronomers are no closer to explaining the erratic behavior of this perplexing stellar phenomenon.
Originally picked up between the constellations Cygnus and Lyra by the Kepler Space Telescope in 2009, the star known as KIC 8462852 has long proven something of an enigma to astronomers.

Unlike most other planet-hosting stars which exhibit slight periodic dips when their planets pass in front of them, this one seemed to be exhibiting extremely erratic dips indicative of a large, tightly packed assortment of matter in orbit around it.

In a recent study, astronomers Ben Montet and Joshua Simon scoured through all of the data recorded by the Kepler telescope to find traces of this particular star for comparison and analysis.

They determined that the star's dimming seemed to occur at 0.34% per year to begin with, yet inexplicably fell to 2.5% for 200 days before returning to its original dimming rate.

The pair even tried analyzing hundreds of other similar and nearby stars to look for the same type of behavior but were unable to find anything else like it at all.

So what could possibly be responsible for these peculiar observations ?

Some scientists have put forward the theory that a vast cloud of dust or comets may be gradually falling towards the star, however others have pointed out that such a cloud should have shown up on infra-red scans and no evidence of anything like this has ever been found.

More 'out there' theories have included the possibility that the phenomenon is the result of a large artificial structure in orbit around the star - an alien megastructure such as a Dyson Sphere.

SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence ) has even attempted to look for evidence of artificial laser light within the star's vicinity but so far their efforts have come up empty.

As it stands, KIC 8462852's peculiar dimming continues to remain a total mystery.

"We spent a long time trying to convince ourselves this wasn’t real," said Montet.

"We just weren’t able to."

Source: News.com.au | Comments (341)

Tags: Star, Megastructure

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #332 Posted by bison on 18 June, 2017, 20:19
KIC 8462852 began dimming again several days ago, reaching a level of nearly minus 2 percent. The dimmed state continues at this time. Together with the similarly-sized dip in light output in May, these may indicate larger dips to come. This is how the star has sometimes behaved in the past.  We have a tentative evaluation of the character of the light from the star, when it dims. This indicates that it appears slightly dimmer in the shorter wavelengths, but not enough to be due to dusty debris in that star system. More precise determinations should be possible, when a larger dip occurs.    
Comment icon #333 Posted by NotAlien7 on 24 June, 2017, 2:04
Have scientists considered that a portion of the light from this star could be manipulated in a scientific effort to bend light?
Comment icon #334 Posted by Merc14 on 24 June, 2017, 2:14
Of course not.
Comment icon #335 Posted by Silent Trinity on 28 June, 2017, 10:52
Certainly a tantalizing and thought provoking observation, but given the distance involved and the current penchant for exploration of space being accomplished in our generation by nothing more than long range fuzzy telescopes and light dimming observations, I think this one will be speculated on and never truly solved alas
Comment icon #336 Posted by Emma_Acid on 5 July, 2017, 11:08
I can bend light with a glass of water. I don't need a megastructure to do it.
Comment icon #337 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy on 5 July, 2017, 11:18
I can do it with a mirror or fibre optic cable. We must be advanced aliens then ?
Comment icon #338 Posted by NotAlien7 on 9 July, 2017, 23:47
That would be a small portion of the sun indeed. But what about a large portion of the sun? If more sun could be reflected away from our world and directed toward mars we might be slapping two birds with one stone. On the science fiction side if a large portion of sunlight could be redirected from a strategic area of space it might play havoc with a enemies navigation systems. If you could direct a larger portion of light in a way where it would be noticed by someone you might be sending a big HELP signal.
Comment icon #339 Posted by micky 32 on 11 August, 2017, 12:34
They are saying due to the data that it's more likely to be solid material blocking the light rather than gas and dust. Don't know if that increases the possibility of aliens though?
Comment icon #340 Posted by bison on 11 August, 2017, 16:12
Assuming that this claim can be confirmed, it would tend to increase the likelihood that Extraterrestrial Intelligence is the cause of the star's dimming. Boyajian's Star has intermittently dimmed by up to 22 percent. Anything over about one percent is very probably too great to be explained by the effects of a planet. Solid objects larger than planets could very well be large, relatively thin artificial structures, in orbit of this star, presumably intended to collect its energy for use.  Could you, please, cite the source of the report about data suggesting that  solid material is blocking t... [More]
Comment icon #341 Posted by toast on 11 August, 2017, 17:21
Ripley: Ash, that transmission... Mother's deciphered part of it. It doesn't look like an S.O.S. Ash: What is it, then? Ripley: Well, I... it looks like a warning. I'm gonna go out after them. Ash: What's the point? I mean by the-the time it takes to get there, you'll... they'll know if it's a warning or not, yes?


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