It’s either aliens or a swarm of comets: scientists baffled by WTF 001, our galaxy’s strangest star
It has been called the most bizarre star in our galaxy and some think it just might be home to high-tech aliens.
The unlikely suggestion that aliens live in this star system is being taken so seriously that a team of astrophysicists wants to train a radio telescope in its direction to determine if any signals could indicate advanced extraterrestrial life.
Andrew Siemion, director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence at the University of California, Berkeley, told Fairfax Media the star had become SETI’s candidate number one.
One outlandish hypothesis suggests the star’s light signal is caused by a Dyson sphere, an alien megastructure designed to capture solar energy.
It is clear that something big is blocking light coming from the star between the Cygnus and Lyra constellations, but no-one really knows what it is.
“Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider,” Penn State astrophysicist Jason Wright told The Atlantic. “But this looked like something you would expect an alien civilisation to build.”
The light from the star is “consistent with a swarm of megastructures” around it, he said.
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Space anomaly gets extraterrestrial intelligence experts’ attention
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute has its eyes — and soon possibly one of the United States’ premier telescopes — focused on an anomaly that some astronomers can’t quite explain.
Users on the online astronomy crowdsourcing interface, Planet Hunters, discovered a peculiar light pattern between the Cygnus and Lyra constellations a few years ago. The group uses publicly available data gathered by NASA’s Kepler Telescope, which has been tasked with finding Earth-like planets by searching for the periodic dimming of stars that might suggest such a planet is passing by.
After a number of users noticed the peculiarity, it was sent to the group’s advisory science team that includes Yale postdoctoral astronomy student Tabetha Boyajian.
“It did definitely spark some lively discussions on the talk boards. We scrolled through the discussion boards and superusers, and they let us know that there’s something we should be watching out for,” Boyajian says.
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Has Kepler Discovered an Alien Megastructure?
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope is tasked with finding small, rocky worlds orbiting distant stars. However, exoplanets aren’t the only thing Kepler can detect — stellar flares, star spots and dusty planetary rings can also pop up in the mission’s observations.
But there’s also been speculation that Kepler may have the ability to detect more than natural phenomena; if they’re out there, Kepler may also detect the signature of artificial structures orbiting other stars. Imagine an advanced civilization that’s well up on the Kardashev scale and has the ability to harness energy directly from its star. This hypothetical alien civilization may want to construct vast megastructures, like supersized solar arrays in orbit around their host star, that could be so big that they blot out a sizable fraction of starlight as they pass in front.
Read More at … http://news.discovery.com