The cause of the anomalous readings continue to remain a mystery. Image Credit: NASA / Rick Guidice
An astronomical anomaly thought by some to be an 'alien megastructure' has continued to defy explanation.
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.
Back in October, astronomer Jason Wright suggested that this could indicate the presence of a 'megastructure' in space - one built by an advanced alien civilization - an idea that had been previously put forward by SETI in relation to its hunt for signs of intelligent extraterrestrials.
Later reports attempted to play down this idea by suggesting that the anomaly was instead a cloud of comets in orbit around KIC 8462852, but now a renewed research effort has discovered that the star had actually been dimming gradually for over a century - a fact which seems to discount the comet theory and leaves astronomers once again scratching their heads.
"The comet-family idea was reasonably put forth as the best of the proposals, even while acknowledging that they all were a poor lot," said astrophysicist Bradley Schaefer.
"But now we have a refutation of the idea, and indeed, of all published ideas."
Source: New Scientist | Comments (383)
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