Back in October, we brought you the story of a curious star which may be displaying evidence of an alien presence. The star, KIC8462852, positioned between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra, was observed through the Kepler Space Telescope exhibiting massive dips in its light output – incomparable to any other star ever observed – with the only logical explanation being that huge foreign bodies were obscuring the star.
While some astronomers argued that the light dips could be caused by passing comets, others claimed that the chances of that were slim, leaving only one other possible explanation: aliens. Now, the comet theory has been debunked, which lends fresh support for some kind of alien presence at KIC8462852.
“The comet-family idea was reasonably put forth as the best of the proposals, even while acknowledging that they all were a poor lot,” Bradley Schaefer, an astronomer from Penn State University, told New Scientist. “But now we have a refutation of the idea, and indeed, of all published ideas.”
Looking at light output data for KIC8462852, spanning from 1890 to 1989, Schaefer was able to determine that the star’s strange light phenomena has been occurring for over 100 years, meaning that passing comets could not have been responsible. According to Schaefer, 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,” an explanation that is “completely implausible.”
Could it really be aliens? And why would they be blocking light from a sun for over 100 years? One explanation could be that another species is building their equivalent of a Dyson Sphere around the star. A Dyson Sphere – named for famed astrophysicist Freeman Dyson – is a theoretical superstructure that surrounds a star, designed to harness that star’s light and heat to make the artificial shell habitable. Or, for a more contemporary comparison, Starkiller Base, the First Order’s planet-destroying weapon, constructed around a planet and using a star for its power, from Star Wars, Episode VII: The Force Awakens. A new paper written by Schaefer may support the idea.
“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’s paper reads. “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.”
Image courtesy of Danielle Futselaar.