‘Alien megastructure’ could explain mysterious new Kepler results

Strange signals from a distant star are defying natural explanation. There is a remote chance that they could be from an ‘alien megastructure’

By Stuart Clark

There’s a new mystery in the universe and it goes by the name KIC 8462852. It is a star approximately 1500 light years away from the Earth, and displays a strange pattern of dimming that has astronomers scratching their heads.

With many natural causes apparently ruled out, there is even the suggestion that the signals could be caused by a giant structure, built in space near the star, presumably by extraterrestrials.

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Recently, NASA have discovered something that could be an alien megastructure in space effecting the star KIC 8462852. This theory comes from observations made showing that the star was dimming by more than 20%, then it would brighten again and then dim weeks, sometimes months later. Originally the most credible theory was that a huge, and I mean HUGE swarm of comets was passing in front of the star blocking a substantial portion of light that was being emitted from it. However, this does not fully explain it. There are no other observed stars that seem to show this kind of behaviour so scientists are still struggling to work out what is causing it. Astronomer Jason Wright was the one to speculate that it could be an alien megastructure in the process of being built around the star. It is theoretically possible to build such a device around a star that would be used harvest the energy. This alien civilisation would be far more advanced than us and the device they could be building could be similar to a Dyson Sphere. But what could they possibly need such a large energy supply for?
Comets can’t explain weird ‘alien megastructure’ star after all
A star called KIC 8462852, or Tabby's star, has been behaving oddly since 1890, not just recently as had been thought – and astronomers have no idea why
By Jacob Aron

The weirdest star in the cosmos just got a lot weirder. And yes, it might be aliens.

Known as KIC 8462852, or Tabby’s star, it has been baffling astronomers for the past few months after a team of researchers noticed its light seemed to be dipping in brightness in bizarre ways. Proposed explanations ranged from a cloud of comets to orbiting “alien megastructures”.

Now an analysis of historical observations reveals the star has been gradually dimming for over a century, leaving everyone scratching their heads as to the cause.

The first signs of this space oddity came from NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope, which continually watched the star’s region of the sky between 2009 and 2013. Most planet-hosting stars show small, regular dips in light when their planets pass in front of them. But Tabby’s star dipped erratically throughout the four years, sometimes losing as much as 20 per cent of its brightness.

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Campaign seeks to figure out what the “alien mega-structure” really is

In October 2015, star KIC 8462852, also called “Tabby’s star,” made headlines when scientists suggested its strange dips in brightness might be caused by a giant, alien-built megastructure. Now, astronomer Tabetha Boyajian has started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a full year of continuous observation of the star to figure out what’s causing its strange dimming behavior. This star is pretty damn strange.

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