Aliens, bros! They’re back on the table.
Last year, we introduced you to KIC 8452852, a star in the Milky Way that is wacky as fuck. Spotted by the Kepler Space Telescope, the star had unexplained dips in light, unlike anything astronomers ever encountered.
Their initial thoughts? Fuckin’ aliens. Well, not really, but they had no idea. However, no telltale signs of alien life could be found and researchers concluded it was likely just a bunch of dumb comets.
More in-depth analysis proposes the dumb comet explanation is bunk, and alien megastructure is back in the discussion.
Alien megastructure, fuck yea. From New Scientist:
Now Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University has discovered that the mystery goes even further. When [Tabetha] Boyajian’s team studied the star, they looked at data from a Harvard University archive of digitally scanned photographic plates of the sky from the past century or so to see if the star had behaved unusually in the past, but found nothing.
Schaefer decided this unusual star deserved a second look. He averaged the data in five-year bins to look for slow, long-term trends, and found that the star faded by about 20 per cent between 1890 and 1989. “The basic effect is small and not obvious,” he says.
That’s not logical or normal, but it’s there. And it can’t be explained by piss dick comets
Schaefer saw the same century-long dimming in his manual readings, and calculated that it would require 648,000 comets, each 200 kilometres wide, to have passed by the star – completely implausible, he says. “The comet-family idea was reasonably put forth as the best of the proposals, even while acknowledging that they all were a poor lot,” he says. “But now we have a refutation of the idea, and indeed, of all published ideas.”
Just because it isn’t comets doesn’t automatically mean we are seeing a Dyson Sphere.
What about those alien megastructures? Schafer is unconvinced. “The alien-megastructure idea runs wrong with my new observations,” he says, as he thinks even advanced aliens wouldn’t be able to build something capable of covering a fifth of a star in just a century. What’s more, such an object should radiate light absorbed from the star as heat, but the infrared signal from Tabby’s star appears normal, he says.
“I don’t know how the dimming affects the megastructure hypothesis, except that it would seem to exclude a lot of natural explanations, including comets,” says Wright. “It could be that there were just more dimming events in the past, or that astronomers were less lucky in the past and caught more dimming events in the 1980s than in the 1900s. But that seems unlikely.”
Uhhh have you seen all the shit we’ve built in a 100 years? An advanced society could absolutely cover a quarter of a star in a century. Or so I say.
Regardless, all we know is scientists are going to continue looking at this weird ass star and hopefully determine something.
That it’s aliens, yo.