There’s a mysterious object in space located 1,480 light years from Earth, and scientists have no idea what it is.
The anomaly – described as a “really weird” and “bizarre” mass – is orbiting the star KIC 8462852. As with most of these far-off objects, astronomers know of its existence thanks to the light emitted by the star. However, in this case, while the light pattern is similar to that of an orbiting planet, it’s also quite unique.
Light emitted by the star, say researchers, contains “strange fluctuations” in its pattern that they cannot fully explain. According to The Daily Mail (quoting Tabetha Boyajian), this strangeness may be caused by “the passage of a family of exocomet fragments.”
However, despite the more mundane explanations available, some scientists believe it’s possible – unlikely, but possible – that the strange mass could be an alien structure, possibly a Dyson sphere. These are large artificial (and, of course, hypothetical) structures that alien civilizations may build over stars to harness their power.
“This looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build,” remarked astronomer Jason Wright, according to The Daily Mail.
Boyajian and Jason Wright are eager to work with the SETI Institute in hopes of gaining access to a large radio telescope to “listen for a ‘hum’ of alien technology” near the star. Who knows; maybe it’s a giant alien space station!
UFOs Hidden Among Asteroids
All this talk about hidden alien structures in outer space reminds me of a story that appeared last month. Could alien spacecraft be hidden right in front of our noses among asteroids?
Astrobiologist Duncan Forgan raises the possibility that certain objects in space that we think are ordinary may in fact be extraterrestrial crafts. “We have not even yet mapped our solar system,” he said during the British Science Festival at Bradford University in September, “There could be a space craft out there we thought was an asteroid.”
His larger point is a good one: We can’t definitively say that alien life doesn’t exist, simply because the scope of our view of the cosmos is still so small. Our ability to detect the signals given off by aliens, or even (as with the above example of the object near KIC 8462852) the makeup of distant objects, is limited.
As Forgan said, “We have not even begun to fail” at our search for extraterrestrial life.