Astronomers from several top universities may have found evidence of alien life in our galaxy.
Astronomers with Yale University and other top schools published a new study that used NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope to examine the star KIC 8462852. What astronomers found astounded them: light patterns were consistent with large orbiting masses that blanketed the star’s light — an event extremely unlikely to occur naturally. Could this be signs of advanced alien life?
“Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build” Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, told The Atlantic.
The dense star formations were similar to “Dyson spheres” — hypothetical “megastuctures” aliens could build by rearranging their solar system. Scientists have pondered the existence of Dyson Spheres since the 1960s, thinking they could be a potential solution to energy problems faced by an extremely old civilization. Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) scientists have long argued humans could detect distant alien civilizations by looking for technological artifacts orbiting other stars.
The masses near KIC 8462852 aren’t consistent with its age, leading scientists to believe they were deposited around the star fairly recently. KIC 8462852 is only 1481 light years away from Earth, but is not visible to the naked eye.
“We’d never seen anything like this star … It was really weird,” said Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoctoral fellow at Yale and the study’s lead author. “We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”
Boyajian’s study examined other naturalistic explanations for the masses, but found no other plausible explanation for the masses except that another star could have pulled a blanket of thousands of comets towards KIC 8462852. Even that scenario was regarded as an improbable coincidence by researchers.
Boyajian and Wright are working with the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley to point a massive radio dish at KIC 8462852 to look for radio waves at frequencies associated with technological activity. The first observation could take place as soon as January, with the follow-up coming in fall 2016.
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