Scientists are “running out of ideas” to explain the peculiar behavior of the star KIC 8462852 that don’t have to do with aliens, according to astronomers from the Carnegie Institution and the California Institute of Technology.
Naturalistic theories to explain the star’s behavior didn’t match observations from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, according to scientists. The star would unpredictably dim, which scientists say is likely caused by dense objects passing in front of it.
Could this mean aliens are involved?
“We obtain accurate relative photometry of KIC 8462852 from the Kepler full frame images, finding that the brightness of KIC 8462852 monotonically decreased over the four years it was observed by Kepler,” Benjamin Montet and Joshua Simon, the astronomers who conducted the study, wrote in their abstract.
“No known or proposed stellar phenomena can fully explain all aspects of the observed light curve,” they wrote in their study that was published in the The Astrophysical Journal.
KIC 8462852’s dense formations appear to be similar to “Dyson spheres,” hypothetical, energy-harvesting “megastuctures” theoretical aliens could potentially build by rearranging the 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 Dyson Spheres and other technological artifacts orbiting other stars.
Researchers compared KIC 8462852 to more than 500 similar stars observed by Kepler and didn’t see any others like it during the three years they were looking. They also discarded a previous idea that the dimming may have been caused by the collision or breakup of a planet or comet in the star’s system, as the dimming has been going on for far longer than that.
“The steady brightness change in KIC 8462852 is pretty astounding,” Montet said in a press statement. “Our highly accurate measurements over four years demonstrate that the star really is getting fainter with time. It is unprecedented for this type of star to slowly fade for years, and we don’t see anything else like it in the Kepler data.”
KIC 8462852’s dense formations seem similar to “Dyson spheres” — hypothetical, energy-harvesting “megastuctures” aliens could build by rearranging the solar system.
Scientists have talked about Dyson Spheres since the 1960s as a potential solution to energy problems faced by an old civilization. Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) scientists have long argued humans could detect distant alien civilizations by looking for Dyson Spheres and other technological artifacts orbiting other stars.
Scientists published findings in August, admitting they were unable to find a single naturalistic explanation for the star’s unusual dimming.
The naturalistic explanation for the star’s unusual behavior involved a huge mass of comets erratically orbiting the star and creating enough dust to dim the light, but analysis of the star’s history published in January rendered that theory implausible since the unprecedented dimming has continued for over a century.
Additionally, the kind of large masses needed to cause KIC 8462852’s dimming aren’t consistent with the star’s age, according to researchers.
“We spent a long time trying to convince ourselves this wasn’t real. We just weren’t able to,” Montet told Gizmodo. “None of the considered phenomena can alone explain the observations.”
The star would need to have millions of times more dust and comets orbiting than is currently the case in order to dim. That could require a mass of 648,000 giant comets to pass in front of the star. The chances of that happening were slim, and there is currently no plausible explanation for what is going on with KIC 8462852.
If the star’s oddities aren’t caused by aliens, it is like unusual and undiscovered stellar phenomenon. In 1967, a graduate student in astronomy, found an usual pulsing radio signal so predictable it seemed to be a sign of intelligent life. The astronomers even nicknamed the signal LGM-1, for, “little green men.” It was believed by some that they had detected a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization, but it turned out to be the first pulsar.
Send tips to andrew@
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact email@example.com.