A Dyson sphere is a theoretical construct built around a star to harvest its energy
(Mirror Daily, United States) – There’s nothing the scientific world loves more than a good mystery, except for maybe a good answer to that mystery. And nothing describes KIC 8462852 better than the term ‘mysterious’. After scientists disproved the most plausible theory, flickering KIC 8462852 remains best hope for alien life.
The star was in the news quite intensely a couple of months back, as people started associating it with alien megastructures.
All the hype began after a team of researchers discovered that KIC 8462852 presented a highly unusual flickering behavior. As it was observed, the star appeared to dim and brighten very irregularly, with its brightness occasionally dropping by as high as 20%.
This seemed highly unusual to the researchers, so they tried to come up with multiple explanations about the possible cause. The best explanation they could come up with was that a family of comets was passing by the star, causing its irregular dimming.
However, after a couple of months of investing the situation, even going back to records as old as 1890, the team of scientists responsible for looking into KIC 8462852 reported that it’ highly unlikely for comets to be responsible for the star’s dimming brightness.
The team concluded that for the comet theory to be accurate there would have had to be at least 648,000 comets, about 200 kilometers wide each, all of them passing between Earth and KIC 8462852 within the past hundred years.
After the most plausible theory was disproved, researchers remained once again in the dark regarding what might be responsible for the strange occurrences going on with KIC 8462852.
There are multiple teams currently looking into potential solutions for the strange problem that is the flickering star, including one looking into the Dyson sphere megastructure theory, another that just finished disproving the comet theory, and yet another, the very recently founded SETI International, which has already tried and failed communicating with intelligences that might be present near the star.
Despite the fact that SETI tried and failed communicating in November, it doesn’t necessarily rule out the alien intelligence theory.
With the statistics suggesting that one in ten stars should have at least one world capable of supporting life, and us being able to observe 100 billion galaxies, it’s strange that we’ve met no alien life so far.
Scientists are split over whether or not we might actually be observing an alien megastructure harvesting energy from KIC 8462852, but since no other natural explanations can be found, they are going to try to either come up with more theories, or just keep trying to communicate with whatever intelligent life may be there.
Image source: Flickr