SETI and KIC 8462852


(Image from Universe Today.  All credit due)

I always thought light signatures, or discrepancies in light waves from distant stars and/or planets could reveal more than expecting an outright infrared signal or heat signature from a alien civilization. Pertaining to the fact what was received from the distant star is over 1500 years old. In a human-centric aspect, this is a philosophical argument, that we probably should not assume that other ‘civilizations’ in this Galaxy fall under our classifications of what life should be and it’s interaction within the universe. It will be us adapting and rethinking what Extraterrestrial Life means in the cosmos and how it will create new paradigms. This is important. Say an advanced alien civilization has mastered their corner of the Galaxy, why would they reflect the natural order?  In the sense give off infrared radiation and emit other wasteful by-products, such as humans do, as we look at everything as finite in our collective and narrow ideas of civilization.  Nothing is stored and channeled back or utilized, from our wasteful industries, to radios signals eg wasteful electromagnetic signals. We are primitive ants compared to what could be out there. The light signature discrepancy via the Kepler telescope of the star KIC 8462852 has floored scientists, the process of elimination in empirical terms has to be utilized. We count down from the possible and maybe likely (natural phenomena) to the last possibility: Extraterrestrial Intelligence. And it is getting exciting, now SETI has aimed it’s 42 array dishes at the unusual star, which would also include coordinated efforts of other radio telescopes around the Earth. We are going to pick up something or nothing. Whatever the case, the human race is getting closer to discovering we not alone in the universe. It will be such an incredible today when that is discovered. It will change us.

From Universe Today

“We either caught something shortly after an event like two planets crashing together or alien intelligence,” said Dr. Gerald Harp, senior scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, referring to the baffling light variations seen in the Kepler star KIC 8462852.

And he and a team from the Institute are working hard at this moment to determine which of the two it is. 

Beginning last Friday (Oct. 16), the Institute’s Allen Telescope Array  (ATA) was taken off its normal survey schedule and instead focused on KIC 8462852, one of the 150,000-plus stars studied by NASA’s Kepler Mission to detect Earth-sized exoplanets orbiting distant stars.. The array of 42 dishes comprises a fully automated system that can run day and night, alerting staff whenever an unusual or interesting signal has been detected. 

The array normally looks for a very narrow wave or specific frequency when hunting for potential “ET” signals. But not this time.

“This is a special target,” said Harp. “We’re using the scope to look at transmissions that would produce excess power over a range of wavelengths.” Perhaps from a potential alien power source? Maybe. Harp believes the star’s peculiar, a-periodic signal is “probably natural and definitely worth looking at” but considers an intelligent source a possibility, however remote.

“Meanwhile, the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) published an Alert Notice this week requesting amateurs and professional astronomers around the world to immediately begin observing KIC 8462852 now through the end of the current observing season. To locate the star, you can either use the charts provided in our previous story or go to the AAVSO site and type in KIC 8462852 in the “Pick a Star” box to create a chart of your own.

I’m a variable star observer, so naturally I thought of variables with irregular fluctuations in light when I first heard about this stellar mystery. Time to talk to an expert. According to Elizabeth Waagen, senior technical assistant for science operations at the AAVSO,  KIC 8462852 is different.

“Based on the information so far, it doesn’t seem to fit the criteria  for an irregular variable,” said Waagen in a phone interview this morning. “It’s doesn’t add up.”


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