The unusual star: KIC 8462852

KIC_8462852-kepler_transit-data-graph

Wow!  This is pretty cool.   If an alien civilization is utilizing a star in our galaxy at 1480 light years away, they are residing in distant part of our Galaxy.   As one of the most significant telescopes NASA has developed, the Kelpler spacecraft, which has discovered a thousand plus exo-planets and the stars that they orbit around.  KIC 8462852  is the discrepancy within the classification/s from Kepler’s data, for a star it appears to drop the light signature dramatically, then resumes.  It holds no particular pattern (or at least not looked at as a pattern) like the other stars and it’s orbiting planets.  As Kepler measures the illumination of the star once the planet moves in-front of it, blocking it’s light, then it’s resumption or ‘normality’ within a orbit cycle.  Astronomers then map the distance of it’s star and the revolving exo-planet, hence the Goldilocks and/or theorized habitable zones.  Like the Earth’s elliptical orbit around the Sun.

The unusual findings of KIC 8462852 was revealed in detail via an article written for the Atlantic on the 15th October 2015, bits and pieces were chopped up and recopied (as I have done below) and posted on various news-feeds, networks etc.   The main drive for the Internet hits was the possibility that the unusual aspects of this star, is the mass of objects that  surround it.  The “Alien mega-structure” term was then used as a possible reason for the illumination dropping in and out and the erratic display from this distant star.  I am not a fan of the Dyson sphere hypotheses.

What if they are massive Extraterrestrial alien artifacts/shapes that may emit a signal, if we are able to detect.  And the signal has already been sent.

Exciting.

Excerpts from The Atlantic article

The Kepler Space Telescope collected a great deal of light from all of those stars it watched. So much light that Kepler’s science team couldn’t process it all with algorithms. They needed the human eye, and human cognition, which remains unsurpassed in certain sorts of pattern recognition. Kepler’s astronomers decided to found Planet Hunters, a program that asked “citizen scientists” to examine light patterns emitted by the stars, from the comfort of their own homes.

In 2011, several citizen scientists flagged one particular star as “interesting” and “bizarre.” The star was emitting a light pattern that looked stranger than any of the others Kepler was watching.

The light pattern suggests there is a big mess of matter circling the star, in tight formation. That would be expected if the star were young. When our solar system first formed, four and a half billion years ago, a messy disk of dust and debris surrounded the sun, before gravity organized it into planets, and rings of rock and ice.

But this unusual star isn’t young. If it were young, it would be surrounded by dust that would give off extra infrared light. There doesn’t seem to be an excess of infrared light around this star.

It appears to be mature.”

and

“…Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, is set to publish an alternative interpretation of the light pattern. SETI researchers have long suggested that we might be able to detect distant extraterrestrial civilizations, by looking for enormous technological artifacts orbiting other stars. Wright and his co-authors say the unusual star’s light pattern is consistent with a “swarm of megastructures,” perhaps stellar-light collectors, technology designed to catch energy from the star.

“When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright told me. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

Boyajian is now working with Wright and Andrew Siemion, the Director of the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. The three of them are writing up a proposal. They want to point a massive radio dish at the unusual star, to see if it emits radio waves at frequencies associated with technological activity.

If they see a sizable amount of radio waves, they’ll follow up with the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, which may be able to say whether the radio waves were emitted by a technological source, like those that waft out into the universe from Earth’s network of radio stations.

Assuming all goes well, the first observation would take place in January, with the follow-up coming next fall. If things go really well, the follow-up could happen sooner. “If we saw something exciting, we could ask the director for special allotted time on the VLA,” Wright told me. “And in that case, we’d be asking to go on right away.”

In relation to the natural phenomena possibilities of the unusual Star and it’s bizarre orbiting bodies.  From Wikipedia:

Captured comets  Researchers think the most likely explanation for the star’s odd reduction in light is due to a cloud of disintegrated comets orbiting the star elliptically.[1] Under this scenario, gravity from a nearby star causes comets from the star’s Oort cloud to fall in towards the star. Evidence to support this hypothesis includes the fact that a red dwarf star already exists close to this star, 130 billion km (870 AU, 0.014 LY) away. However, the notion that disturbed Oort cloud comets orbiting elliptically close to the star could exist in high enough numbers to obscure 22% of the star’s observed luminosity has been doubted.

Captured asteroid field  Another hypothesis for the star’s irregular dips in luminosity proposes that the star recently captured an asteroid field.

Planetary collision  High resolution spectroscopy, spectral energy distribution and imaging observations have also been made.  A massive collision scenario would create warm dust that glows in infrared wavelengths, but there is no observed excess infrared energy, ruling out massive planetary collision debris. Other researchers think the planetary debris field explanation is unlikely, given there is a very low probability that Kepler could ever witness such an event.

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