Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Top Astronomers Have Spotted An 'Alien Megastructure' Orbiting A Distant Star

deathstar1.jpg

We're not making this up. A large cluster of objects in space have been spotted and astronomers are losing their minds because they look like something: "You would expect an alien civilization to build."

In 2009, the Kepler Space Telescope was scanning the nights skies, studying the vast space between the Milky Way's Cygnus and Lyra constellations, when it picked up something incredibly interesting that could quite genuinely be confirmation of extraterrestrial life.

The study stumbled across an incredibly large object that's in orbit around a star (KIC 8462852) and they're pretty sure it's not a planet. In fact the boffins are going as far as to describe the complex object as a "swarm of megastructures."

Astronomers were studying the obscurely-named KIC 8462852 star at the time - a possible candidate for having planets with an Earth-like orbit, that could hold the potential for intelligent life. It wasn't until 2011, when Kepler's 'Planet Hunter' enthusiasts were assessing the data that they saw something they described as "bizarre".

Something about KIC 8462852's light pattern was irregular. The Kepler mission detects exoplanets that hold the potential for being Earth-like by looking for subtle fluctuations in the light of stars: as a planet passes between the star and Kepler, the light will dim, indicating the size and orbit of the planet.

"We’d never seen anything like this star. It was really weird," Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc astronomer at Yale told Atlantic. "We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out."

The star KIC 8462852 is being orbited by a complex group of objects - something like the debris usually associated with a newly-formed star that gradually becomes planets. Except, KIC 8462852 is far too old for this sort of planet formation.

They could be asteroids, sucked in from an unusual set of overlapping orbits are it could be a ruptured planet, but Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, believes this "swarm of megastructures" could be something far more sci-fi: alien technology used to collect energy from the star.

Halo

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

So what next?

Boyajian and Wright are looking to write a proposal to point a huge radio dish at KIC 8462852 in January, in the hope of picking up unusual radio wave.

Should they detect a sizeable amount of radio traffic, they'll be able to borrow the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico - which should be able to determine if the "megastructure" is giving off similar radio waves to our own satellites and technology.

Until then, we're just going to have to sit tight - unless they call us first. 

Watch this space.


MORE


Related

ISS-Main-611651.jpg

UFO or Secret NASA Experiment? Mystery Objects spotted ‘hounding’ ISS

van1.jpg

NYPD Has Secret X-Ray Vans It Doesn't Want To Talk About

space2.jpg

Astronaut Tweets Jaw-dropping Photos Of Australia From Space

mars.jpg

Some People Think The Martian Is Based On A True Story

hoax.png

Does This Picture Prove That The Moon Landings Were Faked?

moonlanding1.jpg

Brilliant Stop-Motion Film of the Moon Landing Photos

Comments

More

A man has used his fidget spinner to like EVERYBODY on Tinder

Where's the quality control, though?

by Gary Ogden
25 May 2017

This new emoji tool tells you which are still cool and which are lame

Less 💅, more 🍆

by Emily Reynolds
24 May 2017

You can now buy the revamped Nokia 3310 in the UK

The retro phone you know and love is back (kind of)

by Matt Tate
24 May 2017

Nintendo respond to touching thank you letter from a blind fan

"We want to keep making games that everyone can have fun playing"

by Matt Tate
24 May 2017

Secret rules on what Facebook allows you to post have been revealed

And it's a pretty confused state of affairs

by Dave Fawbert
22 May 2017

Stephen Hawking reckons we only have 100 years left on Earth

Anyway, happy Friday!

by Tom Mendelsohn
19 May 2017

Watch a young Mark Zuckerberg discover he's got into Harvard

His dad is a lot more excited than he is

by Tom Mendelsohn
19 May 2017

Nintendo have removed a gesture deemed to be offensive from Mario Kart

Up yours, Yoshi

by Matt Tate
18 May 2017

This is rumoured to be the iPhone 8's finished design

Bye bye bezels (maybe)

by Matt Tate
18 May 2017

We might be about to get smartphones that charge fully in five minutes

An Israeli start-up claims it's going to go into production next year

by Tom Mendelsohn
15 May 2017