The Most Mysterious Star in the Galaxy

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Michael Watson

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Message 1734203 - Posted: 14 Oct 2015, 15:53:31 UTC

SETI scientists hope to examine one of the stars in the Kepler Field as early as January, 2016. It seems that rather than the subtle signs of extra-solar planets, the Kepler Space Telescope found something very unusual about the star KIC 8462852. Deep, irregular dimmings of the star were noted. Many natural explanations were considered, but none was very satisfactory in explaining what was observed.
An unnatural explanation is proposed; that huge structures may have been placed in orbit of this star to collect its energy for use by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization. See linked article, below for further details:
http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/10/the-most-interesting-star-in-our-galaxy/410023/
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Message 1734219 - Posted: 14 Oct 2015, 17:31:37 UTC - in response to Message 1734203.  

SETI scientists hope to examine one of the stars in the Kepler Field as early as January, 2016. It seems that rather than the subtle signs of extra-solar planets, the Kepler Space Telescope found something very unusual about the star KIC 8462852. Deep, irregular dimmings of the star were noted. Many natural explanations were considered, but none was very satisfactory in explaining what was observed.
An unnatural explanation is proposed; that huge structures may have been placed in orbit of this star to collect its energy for use by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization. See linked article, below for further details:
http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2015/10/the-most-interesting-star-in-our-galaxy/410023/



Thanks Michael for Interesting article.
ET Phone Home
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Message 1734270 - Posted: 14 Oct 2015, 23:34:51 UTC
Last modified: 15 Oct 2015, 0:03:42 UTC

Would it be possible for SETI staff to keep us up to date on this investigation? Let us know when initial observations are made in January, and if successful when tapes are obtained late next year?

Also, is this the first time an interesting candidate like this has been found where there is an interesting astronomical observation and and SETI and radio telescopes have been directed towards them? Or have there been others in the past? I've only joined SETI 3 years ago so I'm pretty new about events like this.

Was going to post about this but beat me to it. Is the news a little oversensationalized or does anyone familiar with this story know if this is truly one of the most interesting candidates? I read the paper's intro and conclusion and they only focused on natural causes.

Wikipedia lists the star's distance as 1481 LY away.
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Michael Watson

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Message 1734287 - Posted: 15 Oct 2015, 2:50:19 UTC

Went out and looked up at the night sky. Cygnus is almost directly overhead in the evening these days, in the mid-northern latitudes. Looked at the spot where this star and its mysterious companions are located, roughly midway between bright Deneb and Delta Cygni, the star which marks the end of the westward-pointing wing of the Swan. Wondered what may eventually come of all we've heard today.
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Michael Watson

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Message 1734299 - Posted: 15 Oct 2015, 3:51:21 UTC - in response to Message 1734270.  

I read the paper's intro and conclusion and they only focused on natural causes.


A second scientific paper is reportedly being prepared, which will discuss the possibility of technological causes of the odd light variations of the star.
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Message 1734373 - Posted: 15 Oct 2015, 13:39:59 UTC

How far away is this?
The mind is a weird and mysterious place
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Profile William Rothamel
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Message 1734385 - Posted: 15 Oct 2015, 14:41:07 UTC - in response to Message 1734373.  
Last modified: 15 Oct 2015, 14:41:40 UTC

How big(mass) are these alleged objects. What distance are they from their star. We should be able to answer these questions now and see if they match and warrant the current speculative excitement.
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Michael Watson

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Message 1734388 - Posted: 15 Oct 2015, 14:43:17 UTC
Last modified: 15 Oct 2015, 14:45:05 UTC

Response to Gordon Lowe--It's about 1480 light years away, usually rounded to 1500 in the media. Not too far, on the galactic scale, only about 1 & 1/2 percent of the diameter of our galaxy.
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Message 1734400 - Posted: 15 Oct 2015, 15:49:45 UTC

Possibly aliens building a Dyson sphere around that distant sun, according to The Washington Post.

“It was kind of unbelievable that it was real data,” said Yale University astronomer Tabetha Boyajian. “We were scratching our heads. For any idea that came up there was always something that would argue against it.”
She was talking to the New Scientist about KIC 8462852, a distant star with a very unusual flickering habit. Something was making the star dim drastically every few years, and she wasn’t sure what.

To Wright, it looked like the kind of star he and his colleagues had been waiting for. If none of the ordinary reasons for the star’s flux quite seemed to fit, perhaps an extraordinary one was in order.

Aliens.

Or, to be more specific, something built by aliens — a “swarm of megastructures,” as he told the Atlantic, likely outfitted with solar panels to collect energy from the star.

...

In their paper, Boyajian and her colleagues went to great lengths to review and refute the more obvious explanations for the odd display. It wasn’t a mistake, caused by a problem the telescope or their data processors — they checked their data with the Kepler mission team, and found no problems for nearby stars when they checked their light curves against neighboring sources.

It wasn’t the star’s fault either. Some young stars, still in the process of accumulating mass, will be surrounded by a whirl of orbiting dust and rock and gas that can blur or block their light. But this star wasn’t young, Boyajian found. Nor did it look like other kinds of stars that demonstrate this light variability.

Something must be blocking the star’s light from the outside, the paper concluded — maybe catastrophic crashes in the asteroid belt, maybe a giant collision in the planetary system that spewed debris into the solar system, maybe small proto-planets shrouded in a Pig-Pen-like cloud of dust. But every explanation was lacking in some way, with the exception of one: Perhaps a family of comets orbiting KIC 8462852 had been disturbed by the passage of another nearby star. That would have sent chunks of ice and rock flying inward, explaining both the dips and their irregularity.

...

Scientists — at least, the ones who like to theorize about these things — have long said that an advanced alien civilization would be marked by its ability to harness the energy from its sun (rather than scrabbling over its planet’s resources like us puny earthlings). They envision something like a Dyson Sphere, a hypothetical megastructure first proposed by physicist Freeman Dyson that would orbit or even encompass a star, capturing its power and putting it to use.

Jord

Ancient Astronaut Theorists suggest that in many ways, you can be considered an alien conspiracy!
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Message 1734597 - Posted: 16 Oct 2015, 9:30:12 UTC - in response to Message 1734270.  

Would it be possible for SETI staff to keep us up to date on this investigation? Let us know when initial observations are made in January, and if successful when tapes are obtained late next year?

Also, is this the first time an interesting candidate like this has been found where there is an interesting astronomical observation and and SETI and radio telescopes have been directed towards them? Or have there been others in the past? I've only joined SETI 3 years ago so I'm pretty new about events like this.

Was going to post about this but beat me to it. Is the news a little oversensationalized or does anyone familiar with this story know if this is truly one of the most interesting candidates? I read the paper's intro and conclusion and they only focused on natural causes.

Wikipedia lists the star's distance as 1481 LY away.

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Message 1734623 - Posted: 16 Oct 2015, 11:59:56 UTC

Looking forward to the results of the observations!!
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Message 1734679 - Posted: 16 Oct 2015, 15:19:32 UTC

It does look interesting but at 1,800 LY we aren't going to get there or get an answer to a message any time soon. Just think how much things will change in 3,600 years. The reality of our situation is a real bummer. Even if we do find conclusive proof of ETI there just isn't much we can do about it, except dream.
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Message 1734709 - Posted: 16 Oct 2015, 18:11:58 UTC - in response to Message 1734679.  

It does look interesting but at 1,800 LY we aren't going to get there or get an answer to a message any time soon. Just think how much things will change in 3,600 years. The reality of our situation is a real bummer. Even if we do find conclusive proof of ETI there just isn't much we can do about it, except dream.

yeah, but!

1. it's about 1500LY
2. they are leading in technology, that's OLD 1500y...where were we 15 centuries ago?! now even middle age has started...center of civilization was Rome...& in US only native tribes lived!
3. let's eavesdrop a little...maybe we can find some communication of them...& find out more about them first?!
4. then some smart people can sit behind a table in UN & decide to talk to them or not...
;)

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Message 1734804 - Posted: 17 Oct 2015, 1:58:15 UTC - in response to Message 1734679.  

It does look interesting but at 1,800 LY we aren't going to get there or get an answer to a message any time soon. Just think how much things will change in 3,600 years. The reality of our situation is a real bummer. Even if we do find conclusive proof of ETI there just isn't much we can do about it, except dream.

True, but we will have a whole solar system to do our dreaming in, and that's not bad.
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Message 1734847 - Posted: 17 Oct 2015, 8:02:56 UTC - in response to Message 1734709.  
Last modified: 17 Oct 2015, 8:35:04 UTC

let's eavesdrop a little


At 1500 light years you wont be able to eavesdrop.

Furthermore; A Dyson sphere would encircle the entire star. A more likely scenario, if in fact intelligence is involved in this perceived discovery, such things might be shades to keep an expanding sun from incinerating various planets.

The interesting gotcha is that we will never know what is actually there, if anything. I presume that we find no high-powered beam emanating from this star.
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Message 1734852 - Posted: 17 Oct 2015, 8:55:13 UTC

Furthermore; A Dyson sphere would encircle the entire star. A more likely scenario, if in fact intelligence is involved in this perceived discovery, such things might be shades to keep an expanding sun from incinerating various planets.


They may be only 30% complete or only need that much power and have no need to completely encircle the star at this point.

The shade idea sounds interesting also. Would be interesting to see if that is a workable idea for an expanding sun.

At 1500 light years you wont be able to eavesdrop.


I suspect it would be rather difficult at that distance if they used radio waves as we do to communicate. Using light/laser might make it possible.

Of course this is probably a natural phenomenon and not a constructed one but we can hope.

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Message 1734885 - Posted: 17 Oct 2015, 14:10:05 UTC - in response to Message 1734847.  

let's eavesdrop a little


At 1500 light years you wont be able to eavesdrop.

Furthermore; A Dyson sphere would encircle the entire star. A more likely scenario, if in fact intelligence is involved in this perceived discovery, such things might be shades to keep an expanding sun from incinerating various planets.

The interesting gotcha is that we will never know what is actually there, if anything. I presume that we find no high-powered beam emanating from this star.

of course Arecibo will not be enough...though, Chinese new FAST might?! or GBT?!
also, there's also a question of scanning in all frequencies...for me, first thing I'd do is to scan it in near-infra red...wanna see if there's some residual heat access in that solar system!

also, there might not be a Dyson sphere...but might be a Dyson ring?!
;)

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Message 1734926 - Posted: 17 Oct 2015, 17:28:39 UTC

If it's artificial then perhaps they also designed it to function as a literal semaphore, blocking the light of their star with a pattern of repeating shadows that form a signal as they orbit.
Just a thought.
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Message 1735057 - Posted: 18 Oct 2015, 1:13:25 UTC

Interesting that there were apparently no planets detected in orbit of this star. From what I read, essentially all stars are now believed to have planets. Further, in this case, such planets should probably have been detectable by the Kepler Space Telescope. We know that some sort of matter is moving around this star. Its planet-bearing plane seems to be nearly in line with Earth. The apparent absence of conspicuous planets may well be real. This would strengthen the supposition that such planets might have been converted into a partial Dyson Sphere.
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Message 1735060 - Posted: 18 Oct 2015, 1:17:54 UTC - in response to Message 1735057.  

Now that would be a real feat of engineering.
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