That ‘alien megastructure’ we saw? Scientists know what it is now

That ‘alien megastructure’ we saw? Scientists know what it is now
Illustration by NASA/JPL-Caltech

Alien-hunters trained massive radio telescopes on a distant galaxy this year after planet-hunters spotted what might be an alien ‘megastructure’ orbiting a star.

The star, KIC 8462852, dimmed by 22%, sometimes for months at a time – and astronomers had seen nothing like it.

A ‘megastructure’, for the uninitiated, is a massive solar panel which hi-tech aliens would build to harvest energy from a distant star.

But on closer inspection, it turns out it’s probably some bits of comets.

Massimo Marengo of Iowa State University says, ‘The scenario in which the dimming in the KIC 8462852 light curve were caused by the destruction of a family of comets remains the preferred explanation.’

Alien-hunters from the SETI project have watched the star with a powerful radio telescope with 42 six-meter antennas – and found no signs of life.

MORE: Could this mysterious black ‘UFO’ ball from space be proof of aliens?

Marengo’s team examined infrared data from the Spitzer telescope – and found no sign of giant impacts or clouds of debris.

So they believe that the dimming is probably caused by comets orbiting near the star.

Regarding the megastructure theory, Marengo said, ‘We didn’t look for that. We can’t really say it is, or is not. But what the star is doing is very strange. It’s interesting when you have phenomena like that – typically it means there’s some new physical explanation or a new concept to be discovered.’

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25 November 2015 | 9:47 am – Source:


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