Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

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Lazar
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Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby Lazar » Thu Oct 15, 2015 11:22 am UTC

Link. Astronomers studying the star KIC 8462852 (roughly 1,500 ly from Earth) have found that it emits a highly unusual light pattern, indicating that it's surrounded by a dense field of solid objects:

This was consistent with the mass of debris that surrounds a young star just as it did with our sun before the planets formed. However this star wasn’t young and the debris must have been deposited around it fairly recently or it would have been clumped together by gravity – or swallowed by the star itself.

So apparently the two leading hypotheses are that another star has dragged a great number of comets into KIC 8462852's orbit, or… that they're megastructures built by an advanced civilization. That's some freaky shit, man. Is this the answer to the Fermi Paradox?
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Tyndmyr
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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:24 pm UTC

I would bet a significant amount of money that it is not, in fact, a hyper-advanced alien civilization.

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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby ObsessoMom » Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:56 pm UTC

Apropos of another recent thread--I saw the following comment here:

Just to tie the week's astronomy news together -- one of the leads on the upcoming Dyson swarm paper is Jason Wright from Penn State, who was a graduate student of Geoff Marcy's (and an early signatory of the petition in sympathy of those whom Geoff harassed). It's nice to have some exciting news after a depressing few days.
posted by janewman at 10:14 PM on October 13


Okay, that was kinda off topic. On topic, I agree with this commenter at the same site:

Maybe the explanation is aliens. But maybe it's one of the billion other physical phenomena that we haven't discovered about the universe yet.
posted by aureliobuendia at 10:14 PM on October 13

JudeMorrigan
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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby JudeMorrigan » Fri Oct 16, 2015 12:42 pm UTC

Well, sure. While its being megastructures is actually a serious (and incredibly cool) hypothesis, the scientists involved are being pretty careful to not break this out:

Spoiler:
Image

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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby morriswalters » Fri Oct 16, 2015 1:05 pm UTC

And some thought they saw canals on Mars. If drawing in comets is improbable, is it any more improbable than a planetary civilization bringing together enough mass from a solar system together in a form useful for building a huge set of Solar Panels?

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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:45 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:And some thought they saw canals on Mars. If drawing in comets is improbable, is it any more improbable than a planetary civilization bringing together enough mass from a solar system together in a form useful for building a huge set of Solar Panels?

Well, we have no idea how probable the mega-structures hypotesis is.

I'm betting in a yet undiscovered natural phenomenon, but of course it would be awesome to find evidence of inteligent live so "close" to us.

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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby sardia » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:12 pm UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:
morriswalters wrote:And some thought they saw canals on Mars. If drawing in comets is improbable, is it any more improbable than a planetary civilization bringing together enough mass from a solar system together in a form useful for building a huge set of Solar Panels?

Well, we have no idea how probable the mega-structures hypotesis is.

I'm betting in a yet undiscovered natural phenomenon, but of course it would be awesome to find evidence of inteligent live so "close" to us.

The astronomers are trying to justify extra resources to use on the weird star. Each telescope needs to be allocated, and claiming aliens is a way to justify cutting in line.

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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby morriswalters » Fri Oct 16, 2015 6:41 pm UTC


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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby SDK » Fri Oct 16, 2015 7:32 pm UTC


Thanks for the link.

I would definitely not take Tyndmyr's bet, even at 100:1 odds, but this is a pretty cool find for an arm-chair astronomer such as myself.
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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby Whizbang » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:11 pm UTC

Spoiler:
Image

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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby Thesh » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:17 pm UTC

All I know is that I really really really really want this to turn out to be aliens.
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Tyndmyr
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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:19 pm UTC

It would be a really interesting result. But, unlikely as it is, it's probably at least kind of interesting no matter what it turns out to be. Definitely an unusual system, and learning more about planetary systems still ranks pretty highly in things I'm curious about.

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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby Mutex » Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:23 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I would bet a significant amount of money that it is not, in fact, a hyper-advanced alien civilization.


I'm imagining a breaking news story revealing it's been proven to be a giant alien mega-structure from an incredibly advanced civilisation, proving once and for all we're not alone in the universe, and someone punches the air shouting "Yes! I've just won $100 off Tyndmyr!"

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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:24 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I would bet a significant amount of money that it is not, in fact, a hyper-advanced alien civilization.


I'm imagining a breaking news story revealing it's been proven to be a giant alien mega-structure from an incredibly advanced civilisation, proving once and for all we're not alone in the universe, and someone punches the air shouting "Yes! I've just won $100 off Tyndmyr!"


This is not improbable, and may happen near you. I usually have a few bets going on presidential elections, parentage of friends babies, and so forth.

I think I'd be sufficiently fascinated to not be very put out at losing a bet over aliens, so...kind of a win/win there.

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Re: Astronomers find possible alien megastructures

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:31 pm UTC

Mutex wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I would bet a significant amount of money that it is not, in fact, a hyper-advanced alien civilization.


I'm imagining a breaking news story revealing it's been proven to be a giant alien mega-structure from an incredibly advanced civilisation, proving once and for all we're not alone in the universe, and someone punches the air shouting "Yes! I've just won $100 off Tyndmyr!"

I'm imagining the anchor being that person.


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