Astronomers: 'Alien Megastructure' Star Has Nothing to do with Aliens

Astronomers: 'Alien Megastructure' Star Has Nothing to do with Aliens

In the ensuing years, its fluctuations of light caused some ripples of excitement in the scientific community, since some theorized that the unusual patterns could be caused by a rotating alien megastructure conceived as something along the lines of a hypothetical Dyson's Sphere, a massive contraption that could capture the star's energy.

The story of the star began sometime in 2015, when a mysterious Kepler catalog star, KIC 8462852, showed a startling 20 percent dip in its light emissions when something passed in front of it. "Larger dust that is created survived and remains on a circumstellar orbit spreading from its point of origin in a manner similar to comet dust tails, causing the secular dimming".

So, while varying opinions as to what is causing the peculiar dips have been proposed over the past few years, a team of astrophysicists has now published what it believes to be the most likely answer - and it is sad news for those hopeful of extraterrestrial life being the cause.

The study reported that whatever substance exists amidst the Earth and Tabby's Star has the capacity to block more blue light than the red one.

Thanks to a Kickstarter project which raised over $100,000, researchers were able to pay for the Las Cumbres Observatory to spend many months closely examining the star's behaviour.

Well, we always knew the alien-megastructure idea was a long shot.

The dimming of the Cygnus constellation star, given the moniker of KIC 8462852, has yielded speculation that something large, such as an alien spacecraft, may be orbiting it.

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Instead, the solution is much more mundane: "Dust is most likely the reason why the star's light appears to dim and brighten", Tabetha Boyajian, an assistant professor in physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University and the star's discoverer, said in a press release. The new data shows that different colours of light are being blocked at different intensities. If something opaque, such as an alien megastructure or planet, was passing between the Earth and the star, that would not be the case.

The yellow-white mysterious dwarf star was labeled as KIC 8462852 which exhibited activities that were too unusual and bagged it a nicknamed as "Tabby's Star" just after Boyajian. There were four distinct episodes when the star's light dipped, beginning in May 2017.

"It's exciting. I am so appreciative of all of the people who have contributed to this in the past year - the citizen scientists and professional astronomers", Dr. Boyajian said.

Motivated by the burgeoning mystery, teams of scientists combed through data spanning more than a century, looking for patterns that could reveal the source of the star's enigmatic dimming.

"If they were almost the same, this would suggest that the cause was something opaque, like an orbiting disk, planet, or star, or even large structures in space".

Another study in the Astrophysical Journal found that a ring of dust could easily explain the star's odd and apparently random behavior. "Then it went back down to normal, a couple of days ago", Boyajian said. And Boyajian ran a heck of a good Kickstarter Campaign, giving people a chance to participate in science, and keeping those who donated informed every step of the way via frequent updates.

Not only that, but many observations were also conducted by amateur astronomers. "We can also say that these clouds are mostly transparent ('optically thin' in astrophysics parlance)".

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