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Could dust explain 'alien megastructure' star ?


Posted on Thursday, 5 October, 2017 | Comment icon 383 comments

Is there a massive alien structure orbiting Tabby's Star ? Image Credit: NASA / Rick Guidice
A new study has cast doubt on the idea that astronomers have discovered a large alien structure in space.
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 to be something of an enigma.

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

The phenomenon gained particular fame when astronomer Jason Wright suggested that one possible explanation for it was the presence of a gigantic extraterrestrial structure in space.

Now though, a new study has cast serious doubt on this possibility and suggests instead that the star's peculiar dimming behavior is actually down to a large cloud of dust particles orbiting around it.

It turns out that the dimming is a lot more pronounced in ultraviolet light than it is in infrared light, something that should not happen if a large object is responsible.

"This pretty much rules out the alien megastructure theory, as that could not explain the wavelength-dependent dimming," said lead author Huan Meng of the University of Arizona.

"We suspect, instead, there is a cloud of dust orbiting the star with a roughly 700-day orbital period."

Source: Scientific American | Comments (383)

Tags: Star, Megastructure

Recent comments on this story
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 paperwhich revealsa dust-like spectrum for the gradual, long term dimming, are careful to admit that this does not explainthe star's large, intermittant dips in brightness. Dust that remains in denseclumps, whichthis sort of dimming would require, is difficultto 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 racethrowing a massive party
Comment icon #381 Posted by Orphalesion on 5 January, 2018, 17:21
Well poop, would have been exiting if it really had been some alien mega structure. Of course this was always the most likely outcome, still it's fun to hope and be exited.
Comment icon #382 Posted by seanjo on 5 January, 2018, 17:22
The simplest most logical explanations generally pan out.
Comment icon #383 Posted by odiesbsc on 6 January, 2018, 18:18
It's just like our sun. you can see it in the daytime and can't see it at night. So Where's the mystery? Foolishness off...


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