Finally - A Solution to the 'Alien Megastructure' Mystery is On The Way

Friday, 17 June 2016 - 5:14PM
Astronomy
Alien Life
Friday, 17 June 2016 - 5:14PM
Finally - A Solution to the 'Alien Megastructure' Mystery is On The Way
Even though it's probably just comets, the mysterious flickering of star KIC 8462852 has yet to be definitively solved. And as long as it hasn't been absolutely ruled out, some will still cling to the hope that it's a megastructure built by a super-advanced alien civilization. But now, a crowdfunding campaign may put an end to all that (or confirm that it's aliens!), as it aims to finally solve the mystery once and for all.

The campaign, started by Yale astronomer Tabby Boyajian, has just reached its $100,000 campaign goal after only thirty days. With the kickstarted money, Boyajian will now be able to secure year-long access to the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network. Should the system spot any further anomalies, an alert will be sent out to other astronomers who will then turn their own telescopes to the stars. The next step is to figure out logistics, but Boyajuan says observations could start as early as this summer. 

The goal of the project will be to conclusively determine why this star's light dims at such irregular intervals. The most important thing is for astronomers to get more consistent data, and to replicate existing findings. And should new dips in luminosity be detected, scientists would be better able to pick out patterns. These huge dips in luminosity are too large to be a passing planet - hence the suspicion tat the anomaly is being caused by a distorted star, comets, some unknown astrological phenomenon, or - most appealingly - an advanced alien civilization in the process of building a giant solar array around the star. It's probably not the latter, but we'll still be able to hold onto our fantasies for at least the next few months.
Science
Space
Astronomy
Alien Life

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