After Kepler telescope detected some anomalies in the light of KIC 8462852, a sun located 1,480 light-years away from Earth, the star’s bizarre light signature sparks alien-civilization debate.
Scientists reported that there are non-periodic dips in the star’s brightness that cannot be explained thorough conventional theories.
In the past few years, the star’s light abruptly lost its intensity for several times. Astronomers explained that the changes in the star’s light signature were so significant that they couldn’t have been created by a transiting planet.
Other researchers said that dense dust clouds or swarms of comets may also explain the phenomenon, but the theories simply didn’t add up. As a result, some researchers started to speculate that an ‘alien megastructure’ such as a set of orbiting solar panels may block the star’s light from reaching our optical instruments.
California astronomers pointed the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) at the star’s direction. ATA is a large set of small radio dishes used by the SETI Institute to detect radio signals from alien civilizations.
KIC 8462852 that was named “the most mysterious star in our galaxy” was monitored by scientists for four years.
Tabetha Boyajian, one of the researchers that discovered the mysterious clumps of matter orbiting the star said that scientists had never seen anything like it.
Initially, the team thought that there was something wrong with Kepler’s instruments, but that hypothesis was not confirmed. So, some astronomers began speculating on the presence of artificial objects that only an extraterrestrial civilization could have built.
Moreover, SETI announced Monday that its researchers plan to study the star more. Seth Shostak, a senior researcher at the institute, said that people shouldn’t get over excited about the findings since there are a lot of cases when such enthusiasm morphed into bitter disappointment.
“History suggests we’re going to find an explanation for this that doesn’t involve Klingons, if you will,”
He also said that in the 1960s when pulsars were first discovered scientists thought that they finally found alien civilizations trying to communicate with us. Pulsars are neutron stars locked in binary systems that emit beams of electromagnetic radiations just like a lighthouse emits light into the night.
There may be other explanations for the dips in KIC 8462852’s brightness. So far, neither the hypothesis related to a sea of comets created by a large impact or the theory of an asteroid pile-up that screens the star held water.
The star lost up to 20 percent of its brightness in the last four years. Steve Howell, researcher involved in the Kepler mission, acknowledged that the star’s bizarre light signature sparked alien-civilization debate amid scientific community. Yet, he added that an alien civilization hypothesis is at this point ‘a bit of a stretch.’
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