Natalia Lusinski
August 07, 2016 2:31 pm
NASA, JPL-Caltech

Space is fascinating — astronauts have walked on the moon and people may go explore Mars. But now, it just got even cooler, or ~weirder~, depending on how you look at it. ICYMI, some astronomers think there may be a huge piece of alien technology that aims to get energy from a distant star.

Whaaaaat?

The star, KIC 8462852, aka Tabby’s Star, does lots of bizarre things—i.e., flickering and dimming that cannot be explained by the pros.

Images from the star have been studied the past four years via a Kepler Telescope, and a new (yet unpublished) study was posted to arXiv. Not only did the luminosity vary — sometimes going down by even 20 percent — but its total luminosity also went down during the study, by four percent.

“The part that really surprised me was just how rapid and non-linear [the dimming] was,” study author and Caltech astronomer Ben Montet told Gizmodo. “We spent a long time trying to convince ourselves this wasn’t real. We just weren’t able to.”   

But, it’s not like Tabby’s Star is a new phenomenon. Scientists first saw it in the 19th century. Other researchers, too, have been trying to get to the bottom of the celestial mystery. For instance, Louisiana State University’s Bradley Schaefer came out with a study in early 2016.

He, too, found that the star was getting dimmer — by 19 percent in 100 years. However, not everyone agreed with Schaefer’s findings.

That brings us back to aliens—and the theory that all the dimming and flickering could be because of an “alien superstructure.”

via giphy

Yep, extraterrestrial beings could be amassing energy by building around their star, like a Dyson Sphere.

via giphy

If not an alien structure, then what?

Others believe the debris of a planet could be blocking the star, all the flickering could be due to a quickly spinning and irregularly shaped star, or that it’s because of gravity darkening and spin-orbit misalignment.

Like a lot of things in space, it remains a mystery for now. But the evidence just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

(But if the alien in question looks like E.T., that’s another story.)

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