Astronomers Freak Out Over “Return” of Mysterious Alien Megastructure
Ashley Allen / 2 years ago
A strange star that may be orbited by a large, potentially-artificial structure is misbehaving again, and astronomers are alarmed. Back in October 2015, we reported that the star – KIC8462852, situated between Cygnus and Lrya – was exhibiting massive light dips. The prevailing hypothesis of its cause was a possible alien megastructure in orbit around the star. Whatever has occurred at KIC8462852, it is happening again, right now.
What is Orbiting KIC8462852?
In 2015, Tabetha Boyajian – head of the Planet Hunters organisation – looked at data from the star, collected by the Kepler Telescope. It became clear that huge light dips had been occurring for many years. Whatever was obscuring light, it was too small to be a planet and didn’t behave like any known comet.
At the time, Jason Wright, an astronomer at Penn State University, said:
“When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked. Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”
It’s Happening Again
Last Thursday (18th May), the phenomena started up again. Astronomer Matt Muterspaugh was the first to notice, followed by Wright. Wright raised the alarm on Twitter, asking anyone with a telescope to set its sights on this weird occurrence:
ALERT:@tsboyajian's star is dipping
This is not a drill.
Astro tweeps on telescopes in the next 48 hours: spectra please!
— Jason Wright (@Astro_Wright) May 19, 2017
Astronomers around the world became transfixed by the anomaly; dips in the star’s light became the biggest ever recorded. Normal light dips do not exceed 1%; KIC8462852 experienced light dips of up to 22%.
its 2% in r' band and looks like its the start pic.twitter.com/TjJdSY2ar9
— Tabetha Boyajian (@tsboyajian) May 19, 2017
Muterspaugh told The Verge:
“As far as I can tell, every telescope that can look at it right now is looking at it right now.”
Is It an Alien Megastructure?
As a potential explanation, for the most part, the alien rationale remains just a hypothesis. However, many astronomers refuse to even countenance the idea that aliens are responsible. There is no evidence of extraterrestrial activity as the cause of this unusual occurrence. According to Wright, we should not expect an explanation any time soon: