Remember KIC 8462852, the F-type star in the constellation Cygnus with the odd flickering habit? You know, the one that had some scientists talking about the incredibly remote possibility of a “swarm of alien megastructures?” Bet that jogged your memory. Well, scientists are still pretty much absolutely certain that a vast system of solar panels is not orbiting around this far-off sun, harnessing its energy to power a super advanced extraterrestrial civilization and blocking the progress of light on its way toward Earth in the process (thus the flickering). Researchers at the SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) Institute have turned their radio telescopes toward the star in hopes of picking up a few alien signals, but thus far none have come our way. “The hypothesis of an alien megastructure around KIC 8462852 is rapidly crumbling apart,” Douglas Vakoch, president of SETI International, said in a statement. “We found no evidence of an advanced civilization beaming intentional laser signals toward Earth.”
Why should they beam a laser signal toward Earth? Even if they would be listening for extraterrestrial life out of there solar system, how would they know that we are there? Our civilization has been sending electromagnetic signal since less than 100 years, while this star is 1.500 light years away!
And Schaefer’s study, which he posted on the research-sharing project arXiv, only deepens the mystery.Remember, Tabby’s Star first came to public attention because of the way observations from the Kepler Telescope showed dramatic dips in its brightness at irregular intervals. Even a Jupiter-sized planet transiting across its sun’s surface would only alter the brightness by about 1 percent, and these changes were much more significant.
I’d add that it is not likely either that a 20 times bigger planet is orbiting that star since a planet of this size would actually be a star!
Schaefer concludes that the dimming trend would require that 648,000 giant comets (each about a tenth of the diameter of Pluto) pass in front of the star in a series of carefully orchestrated transits over the course of the last century. The likelihood of that happening is, well, very, very low. Whether it’s lower than the likelihood of an alien megastructure, Schaefer doesn’t say.He does also argue against another potential explanation for the flickering: that dust circulating around the star is blocking its light. As was the case for the comet cluster hypothesis, this explanation simply requires too much dust to account for the century-long dimming.
Hmmm, not so sure about the dust… they should have seen how dust was behind by bedroom desk!
Slate’s Phil Plait points out that this gradual dimming is something scientists might expect from a Dyson Sphere (the term for the kind of hypothetical structure we might expect an advanced alien civilization to build around their star). Theoretically, as the aliens-whose-existence-remains-entirely-dubious build their structure, it would block more and more of the star’s light.
But Plait is adamant that he doesn’t actually think that a Dyson Sphere is the explanation. He calculated that the aliens would need to build a minimum of 750 billion square kilometers of solar panels to account for the 20 per cent drop in their sun’s brightness.
“That’s 1500 times the area of the entire Earth,” Plait writes. “Yikes.”
Most probably a civilization of that level wouldn’t use our type of solar panels dude! Let’s imagine they have solar panels only few molecules thick, it would only requires 1.000T per layer to cover that surface… I’d say nothing special, we have sent ourself more material into space…
What’s your though?
Source: National Post