As The Independent reports, an astronomer from Penn State University is set to publish a report on a large cluster of objects in space that look like something you would “expect an alien civilization to build”.
The astronomer, Jason Wright, has found that the “bizarre” star system suggests the objects could be a “swarm of megastructures”. “I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright told The Atlantic. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”
The KIC 8462852 star lies just above the Milky Way between the constellations Cygnus and Lyra. In 2009, the Keppler Space Telescope identified it as a candidate for having orbiting Earth-like planets. But it was quickly found that the star was emitting a strange light pattern.
Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale told The Atlantic: “We’d never seen anything like this star. It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”
It was found the light pattern was caused by a mass of matter surrounding it. Boyajian recently published a paper looking at all the possible natural explanations for the objects and ruled them all out except for one – that another star had pulled a string of comets close to KIC 8462852. But the odds weighed heavily against it.
That’s when Wright and his colleague Andrew Siemion, the Director of SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) got involved. They are exploring options regarding what the structure may be, including something used to collect energy, such as a massive set of solar panels or even a Dyson Sphere.
During the reported observations of this star, its brightness dropped by half or more every 2 years, which means that whatever is surrounding the planet seems to be getting bigger.
In January, they will point a radio dish at the star to look for wavelengths associated with technological civilizations. “If things go really well, the follow-up could happen sooner,” Wright told The Atlantic. “If we saw something exciting… we’d be asking to go on right away.”