Penn State astronomer Jason Wright announced three months ago that alien life could exist around an unusual star 1,500 light-years away. The star, KIC8462852, has confused astronomers because the light it gives off keeps changing in fast, drastic ways that do not follow any pattern. Between 2009 and 2013 for example, the star would randomly lose up to 20% of its brightness. Planets etc. revolving around it were ruled out because the dimming would follow a pattern in that case and this didn’t.
Researchers then put forth a theory about a massive swarm of comets, but that has been shot down too. Why? Louisiana State University astronomer Bradley Schaefer went digging through Harvard astronomy archives and found that the weird, explainable pattern of this star’s light brightening and dimming has been going on for over 100 years now.
Via The Independent:
[Schaefer] explains in his paper that this “century-long dimming trend requires an estimated 648,000 giant comets (each with 200 km diameter) all orchestrated to pass in front of the star within the last century,” which he said is “completely implausible.”
So much for the comet theory.
If it isn’t planets and it isn’t comets and whatever this object is has been growing, changing, and randomly blocking out the star’s light to varying degrees for over a century…
Then… what is it?
At the same time, [Schaefer has] also reignited the possibility that the source could be an alien megastructure that an advanced alien civilization has been slowly building over time. One thing’s certain for Schaefer: The bizarre dimmings are probably caused by a single, physical mechanism that’s undergoing some type of ongoing change.
“The century-long dimming and the day-long dips are both just extreme ends of a spectrum of timescales for unique dimming events, so by Ockham’s Razor, all this is produced by one physical mechanism,” Shaefer said in his paper. “This one mechanism does not appear as any isolated catastrophic event in the last century, but rather must be some ongoing process with continuous effects.”
Like those of a burgeoning alien civilization, perhaps?
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