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'Alien megastructure' star is still a mystery


Posted on Monday, 8 August, 2016 | Comment icon 380 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 (380)

Tags: Star, Megastructure

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #371 Posted by badeskov on 9 October, 2017, 20:56
What does that have to do with NASA?
Comment icon #372 Posted by Golden Duck on 10 October, 2017, 2:51
Belgian AstroLAB IRIS Spelling mistake? Benefit of the fanciful doubt?  
Comment icon #373 Posted by Merc14 on 10 October, 2017, 3:26
I just want to say that NO reputable scientist or organization ever claimed to know what this was.  The postulated and offered what-ifs and, IMHO, oped we were all educated enough to know that was what they were doing and would enjoy the fun until more data came in.  I think, for the most part, most of us got it and enjoyed indulging our fantasies while waiting for more inf to come in but we have our hard core ignorant that never seem to disappear  My question is, is that ignorant coalition growing of shrinking?  We have just one here but maybe we have scared the rest away so is the world gett... [More]
Comment icon #374 Posted by qxcontinuum on 10 October, 2017, 13:43
well "we suspect to be a large cloud of dust" is different than; we observed or we saw a large cloud of dust ! ...  
Comment icon #375 Posted by Golden Duck on 10 October, 2017, 23:38
Yeah... but, that suspicion is based on a "smoking gun"... http://www.newsnation.in/science-news/aliens-megastructure-mystery-star-tabetha-boyajian-may-finally-be-settled-nasas-scientist-shocked-article-183932.html So what is your contention with "the smoking gun"?
Comment icon #376 Posted by Merc14 on 11 October, 2017, 0:35
You are truly one of a kind qx.   
Comment icon #377 Posted by bison on 11 October, 2017, 1:08
The authors of the scientific paper which reveals a dust-like spectrum for the gradual, long term dimming, are careful to admit that this does not explain the star's large, intermittant dips in brightness. Dust that remains in dense clumps, which this sort of dimming would require, is difficult to explain as an astrophysical phenomenon.      
Comment icon #378 Posted by Chrismoh67 on 14 October, 2017, 15:51
what about aliens instead of alien megastructure?what about some sort of space algae,or a swarm of creatures that feed of the energy of the star.unlikely,but haven't heard that theory.  
Comment icon #379 Posted by micky 32 on 14 October, 2017, 20:39
So the conclusion definately nothing to do with aliens? Shame... oh well,
Comment icon #380 Posted by Adampadum123 on 15 October, 2017, 1:09
It's definitely unusual.but without further evidence and study it's all just guess work.whos to say it's not an alien race throwing a massive party 


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