KIC 8462852: Where’s the Flux?

A little over a year ago, Tabby Boyajian gave a seminar here at the Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds about her research. While she was here, she showed me some crazy light curves from Kepler spotted by her team of PlanetHunters:

8462852_all 8462852_q1 8462852_q13 8462852_q8 8462852_q16_q17

Did I have any idea what it might be she wondered?  We tossed around ideas, but I was stumped.  Tabby’s team had spectra, which helped rule out some possibilities: it’s clearly an F star, and the “fuzz” in the second panel above is due to its 0.88 d rotation period.  But those dips are crazy!

One can think of lots of ways stars can behave oddly like this, but almost all of them invoke young stars.  This star is moving too fast to have formed recently, and doesn’t show any infrared signs of a big disk that you would associate with the material that could cause those dips.  And there aren’t any star forming regions in that part of the sky, anyway.  How could an old star do this?

Interestingly, I had been working on a paper about detecting transiting megastructures with Kepler.  The idea is that if advanced alien civilizations build planet-sized megastructures — solar panels, ring worlds, telescopes, beacons, whatever — Kepler might be able to distinguish them from planets.  Luc Arnold wrote a nice paper about this, and I was turning my blog post on the topic into a proper journal article.

One of the things that occurred to me is that a civilization that would build one megastructure would eventually build more.  The star might be surrounded by them (a Dyson swarm).  What would that look like?

If they were small, it might be a flickering, or even just a general dimming.  But if they were very large, you would get dips.  It would look maybe like Kenworthy and Mamajek’s giant ring system, but without the obvious symmetries.

The analogy I have is watching the shadows on the blinds of people outside a window passing by. If one person is going around the block on a bicycle, their shadow will appear regularly in time and shape (like a regular transiting planet). But crowds of people ambling by — both directions, fast and slow, big and large — would not have any regularity about it at all.  The total light coming through the blights might vary like — Tabby’s star.

My philosophy of SETI (section 2.3 of this paper) is that you should reserve the alien hypothesis as a last resort. One of the reasons not stated in that link is analogous to Cochran’s Commandment to planet hunters prior to 51 Peg b‘s discovery:

Thou shalt not embarrass thyself and thy colleagues by claiming false planets.

It would be such a big deal if true, it’s important that you be absolutely sure before claiming you’ve detected something, lest everybody lose credibility.  Much more so for SETI.

But from a SETI perspective, one should focus one’s resources on the best targets.  Looking for astronomical anomalies is a reasonable way to focus one’s search. There is no inconsistency between assuming purely natural explanations for all phenomena, and targeting SETI efforts at the most astrophysically inexplicable phenomena.

I found Tabby’s star to be inexplicable, so I contacted Andrew Siemion at the Berkeley SETI Research Center. I told him we had a very strange star, and how does one go about doing a radio SETI search?

Green_Bank_100m_diameter_Radio_Telescope

The Green Bank 100m telescope

Andrew was initially skeptical, but he quickly agreed that this is a great target.  He, Tabby, some of the PlanetHunters, and I put in a Green Bank Telescope proposal to do a classical, radio-SETI search (à la Contact), and I went to work on my paper.

Then a few things happened.  First, Tabby’s team published up KIC8462852 (that’s the name of the star) with the appropriate subtitle “Where’s the Flux?” (we call it “the WTF star” internally, although I more commonly call it “Tabby’s star” or “LGM-2”.).

This is such a cool object.  I really want to know what’s going on.  Kudos to the whole PlanetHunters team for such an amazing find.

Tabby’s team tentatively settles on a plausible but contrived natural explanation for it: a swarm of comets recently perturbed by the passage of a nearby star.  I would put low odds on that being the right answer, but it’s the best one I’ve seen so far (and much more likely than aliens, I’d say).  If I had to guess I’d say the star is young, despite all appearances.  I can’t back that up.

Anyway, a few weeks later, Andrew gave some congressional testimony, and while down there met Ross Andersen of the Atlantic.  Andrew told Ross about Tabby’s star, Ross interviewed Tabby, then Ross interviewed me (we know each other from an earlier story), and then Ross wrote up an article about Tabby’s star.  Ross’s story is well written and plays up the megastructure angle in a compelling way.

The internet went aflutter.  I’m glad for Phil Plait’s sober take — he gets it just right.  The British tabloids did their predictable thing (I won’t link — they couldn’t even be bothered to get my name right, much less convey the proper sense of proportion).  And it’s all still taking off.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 9.15.14 AM

I’m really glad that Tabby’s star is getting so much media coverage.  It’s a great mystery!

But I am a bit embarrassed about the less responsible reporting overstating the evidence here — especially since we didn’t have anything ready to show our professional colleagues so that they can give reporters informed takes on it.

I usually don’t post papers prior to acceptance, but we have a favorable referee’s report and everyone’s asking, so since the Internet seems to be eating this up, I asked co-author Kim Cartier to post it to the arXiv.

You can find it here. Section 4 is what you are looking for.

158 thoughts on “KIC 8462852: Where’s the Flux?

  1. carlos a santos

    Are there any planets around 8462852? Interestingly on our own backyard, the Alpha Centauri system nothing like this had been detected there, I wonder if anything is hapoeninh in there, not likely due the binary nature of the system, but what if. Any efforts outthere to analyze alpha centaury system in the same manner as 8462852?

  2. carlos a santos

    Another idea is to block the light of the star in order to identify the size of whatever is orbiting Tabbys star. The ” alien ” idea is a possibilty only after the natural phenomena occurrences are exhausted. Please lets keep the UFO crowd out of what is going on around the star, no need for bad astronomy. I m not sure if this was brought up, but what is happ around the star could be an unknown astronomical process not yet discovered, but I do hope whatever is blocking the light around the star is artficial in nature thus being the greatest discovery in human history, priving we are not alone. Hopefully astronomers from space agencies tone down their narrowminded view in asserting that what is happening around the star is natural, they dislike the ” artificial ” possability /idea/hypothesis.

  3. carlos a santos

    Not since the WOW signal so much attention gas been given to a star. The cometary debris theory does not correspond as an explanation to what is happening around Tabby”s star. No dust detected, no radiation given off. The colliding planets theory is far fetched as well. The lack of dust around this mature F type star is the clue that whatever is blocking its light to as much 20 percent; can be artificial in nature. Why not point the Huble space telescope to the star? Another idea is to block the light of the star in order

  4. Andy

    From what I’ve read I think it’s most plausible that there is a much closer object passing infront of the line of sight of the telescope to KIC 8462 which is blocking it, posibly another planet orbiting another star in a rather eccentric orbit?

  5. Mike P

    Don’t the three groups of deep dips at 1500 suggest the transit of one planet with an inner ring (represented by the dip at 1540 composed of a central dip with two symmetrically distributed, closely set “dip wings”) and a very broad, strongly absorptive outer ring (the deep dips at 1520 and 1570 representing the two transits of the outer ring)? The 1540 dip is not perfectly centered between 1520 and 1570 because the planet’s transit is not centered in front of KIC 8462852 and the ring is at an angle to the star system’s ecliptic so that the two transits of the outer ring (1520 and 1570) obscures light non-symmetrically from the 1540 central dip. The broad spiky dips at 1520 and 1570 indicate the outer ring is composed of a number of subrings.

  6. Erik Anderson

    Hello!

    I find the thought of potentially discovering alien civilizations in our galaxy by looking at fluctuating starlight absolutely fascinating. I know the possibility is remote, but it’s still a fun way to pass the time! I’ve taken to clicking madly through light curves on planet hunters and found something I thought was interesting.

    http://talk.planethunters.org/#/subjects/APH0000ucj?quarter=1-3

    What caught my attention is the fact that unlike most pulsating stars, the curves at the top and bottom are shaped differently. Namely, they’re flatter at the peaks than they are at the troughs. When I look at the peaks my mind immediately tries to run linear regression, and I’m left with a star that has a fairly regular luminescence (kind of wavy) with multiple objects passing in front of it regularly. Could it also be an eclipsing binary? I’m not sure, because the dip in luminescence isn’t that big and I think there are also a couple planetary transits (do binary systems have planets?)

    Anyways, is this an interesting system? Do you have an idea of what it is?

  7. Mike Le Page

    Hi Jason, thanks for the response.

    Okay, scratch the idea about it being in our solar system, but still, a does a very low *apparent* mutual velocity for the occulter and the star *necessarily* imply that the occulter is in orbit around KIC 8462852? I mean, the closer the object is to us, the smaller it has to be. Weighing up the odds between there being something in orbit capable of producing a 22% occultation but isn’t visible in it’s own right (a stellar-mass black hole perhaps?) versus a rogue planet (let’s say with rings) that just happens to be going at the right speed but is somewhere in the middle of that 1500 light year gap…

    Anyway, good luck figuring it out, and I look forward to hearing what happens :)

  8. MMAZZA

    WTF star…that’s clever. You have such a fun job. Thank you for all the work you do, and for sharing it with us.

  9. Dmitry Novoseltsev

    Were any attempts to estimate the mass of objects around the star?
    They are more like a solid body type of comet nuclei, or hollow or film (solar sail)?
    I mean something like that.
    http://lnfm1.sai.msu.ru/SETI/koi/articles/Arhipov_1SWASP.pdf
    And yet – are there any attempts to look jets, about which I wrote earlier? Ion jet of electric solar sails (ESS) has a composition identical to the solar wind of the star, and is distinctly different from the comet tail of neutral gas, seen in the optical range.

  10. Pete Mancini

    Really enjoying the sensible research and responses to questions here. I think that if the hypothesis of this being an artificial megastructure is true it signals that the creators do not fear any other nearby threats, either because they don’t exist or they have catelogued them well enough to assess that risk/return is balanced. I have been working on a game theory to explain the Fermi paradox and so far have concluded that paranoid hostile civilizations would never signal but that friendly networking civilizations would never broadcast frequently from their home star. In order to make contact they would offset broadcast in interstellar space and make cautious communication attempts. The exercise turned me around on Hawking’s warning about what NASA, SETI, and ESA are doing. The exercise fits the data points I started with, which include Wow! signal.

    This latest interesting finding is really exciting. I would love to see the raw data and see if it’s possible to determine candidates for the full shape.

    Has it been considered that it is semi-transparent or polarized? It might help explain the lack of flat bottoms on the curves. Could it be a telescope using the gravitation of the star? Anyway, just wild ideas. Keep up the good work.

  11. jtw13 Post author

    Regarding a Solar System occulter:

    The occulter would also be in orbit around the Sun, so it would not occult the star once every Kepler orbit. Anything in our Solar System occulting the star would likely occult other nearby stars not because it’s big but because it’s moving. There’s no reason it would come back exactly to this star and only this star, from Kepler’s perspective.

    There are events occurring throughout the 4 year Kepler mission, not just a few events spaced by (roughly) two years.

    The “exactly 2 years” bit is a red herring — Kepler does not orbit the sun every year or every two years, so there is no coincidence to explain.

    Anything with a sharp edge in the solar system would create diffraction when occulting the star, which we do not see

    The timescales are all wrong: it takes days for the star to get dimmer, which suggests a very low mutual velocity for the occulter and the star, implying it is in orbit around the star.

    The “soft” ingress and egresses of the star means you have to invoke a “fuzzy” absorber without sharp edges. It would presumably be visible as a dark part of the sky in deep imagery of this part of the sky.

  12. Mike Le Page

    Hi Jason, I’d like to second Tyler Berry’s question about potential occluding dust cloud/objects much closer to us than the light source. If the objects were in deep space, wouldn’t that explain why they weren’t being heated up much (i.e. no IR as is seen)?

    Actually, given that the two main dips are almost exactly 2 Earth years apart and Kepler is in a Earth-trailing heliocentric orbit with a semi-major axis of ~1AU, what are the chances this is an occluding object *much* closer to us? Something in our own Oort cloud perhaps? Far enough away not to occlude other stars in Kepler’s view, but a dusty comet with smaller satellites that cause small occlusions elsewhere in Kepler’s orbit, but one main body that occluded by chance twice.

    My back of the envelope math on that (referencing Wikipedia) says that Kepler could see a bit less than 900 stars/degree^2 so the average distance between stars in the star field (I think) is a little over 2 arc-minutes. Given that Kepler ranges through an orbit with diameter 2AU, I think that puts the minimum distance the object could be away (so as not to interfere with neighbouring stars in Kepler’s star field) at ~1718 AU, and probably upwards of that. To work out how big (or how small) the occluding object could be I worked out the apparent diameter of the sun at 1500 light years, and worked out how big the occluding object would be if it was half that apparent diameter at 1718 AU. I got 126 km across (haven’t double checked my working though so I may be wrong). Certainly seems more likely to have a dusty comet that big in our own Oort cloud than many (most?) other explanations.

  13. RainOnTheParade

    Those aliens seem to be VERY interested in Earth since they make their star twinkle once every second Earth year. Exactly! There are two Earth years between each of the three periods of anomalies. The anomalies are getting larger because the failing CCD element is degrading with time. Every second year I suppose can be explained with how the telescope is turned as it orbits the Sun.

    “Alien superstructures”, “comet clouds”, pfui!

  14. Plan

    Reading this reminds me that modern astronomy is just as crude as brute-forcing mass into orbit using rocket fuel. You guys know almost nothing, and the best you can do is stumble into discoveries by looking at a negative — the absence of something — instead of the thing you’re actually looking for.

    To top it off, the next step in investigating KIC 8462 is using antiquated technology to search for signals we think aliens might broadcast — if they inexplicably used an archaic form of communication that we’re already abandoning. So I suppose we’re assuming that a civilization capable of building ringworlds or Dyson spheres still uses radio signals because….?

    And speaking of Dyson spheres and ringworlds, that’s standard SF stuff. I can’t help but think the experts in this area are just reading Larry Niven, Iain M. Banks, and Alastair Reynolds, and getting their ideas from those SF books. Actually, that’s exactly what you’re doing, since most theoretical megastructures were dreamed up by SF authors, not academics.

    Despite this, I really hope resources are devoted to looking at KIC 8462, that it’s taken seriously as something that could yield interesting data regardless, and that researchers recognize the public’s right to know instead of potentially sitting on data for years.

  15. Dave

    > Does KIC 8462852 have any planets?

    None that we know of, but Kepler can’t detect planets if their orbits don’t cross the star’s disk from our point of view. Only 1/215 of the Universe (any place within 1/4 degree of the Ecliptic) sees the Earth transit the Sun’s disk for up to 12 hours once a year, which is why Kepler had to stare at 150,000 stars to discover a few hundred planets.

    If you built a fleet of giant light collectors, much wider than planets but extremely thin, you wouldn’t want them shading your planets, so you’d put them in a different orbital plane. You’d start with slightly inclined orbits for easier mass transfer, and when those orbits filled up, proceed to greater inclinations.

  16. Blaine

    What if it’s a civilization signaling us using light?! What if the planet has already began to be swallowed whole by a nearby and we are witnessing the earliest stage of a planet being eaten. Perhaps earth had a similar debris cloud around it when it was struck by a meteor and created our moon. Those may be ridiculous and hysterical to most, after all I have no true knowledge in this field, but what I do know is that it is ridiculous for us to assume anything without further investigstion, which we are in the process of, so why would we already guess what we don’t know and have more investigations to come. After all a csi detective wouldn’t go to a crime scene, open the mailbox and propose a murderer. The truth is if you have a single question and multiple answers you have more work to do before you can say youre done in the slightest bit

  17. Bobpixel

    The lack of flat bottoms on these dips fascinates me. I’m trying to imagine occulting objects that would create these, and not leave a large IR signature. A messy comet coma and nucleus might dim the star like this, but we would have seen excess IR.

  18. Sebastian Sehnal

    Hi Jason, in our czech web side was some information about this “nice problem”. Keep my fingers to you and SETI and I can’t wait till January 2016. Hope we will have good confirmation about another live – civilization…Maybe this matter can change many things.
    Many greetings from Czech republic. Have a nice day!

  19. Timothy Scriven

    Look, this is probably a stupid question, but if we have regular images of the star, could we analyse a time lapse of these, look at the shape of occlusions over time, and make guesses about the shape of the objects occluding the star? If up to 22% of the light is being occluded, this sounds like a substantial area.

  20. Dmitry Novoseltsev

    About advanced extraterrestrial civilisations (type II+):
    http://lnfm1.sai.msu.ru/SETI/koi/articles/Shkadov.pdf .

    Original text on Russian SETI: http://lnfm1.sai.msu.ru/SETI/koi/news.html .
    (soon on English on the Space Colonization Journal site).

    Shot information (popular post) on the Space Colonization Journal site:
    http://spacecolonization.info/notes/the-shkadov-thruster/

    About basic electric solar sailes (ESS) on the Space Colonization Journal site:
    http://spacecolonization.info/volumes/vol20/ .

    Оne possible purpose for search stars whis signatures of electric Shkadov thrusters (jets) (GALEX project): http://www.galex.caltech.edu/media/glx2007-04r_img07.html
    – for search this ESS signature (ion jets) to KIC 8462852.

    I hope, this information will be useful t in your research.

  21. jtw13 Post author

    Hi, Jeff.

    Indeed, we don’t see diffraction or similar effects in transit light curves; the stars’ angular sizes are too large compared to the occulters for that to matter.

    CMEs are an interesting idea, but there are at least three problems:

    1) You need a LOT of continuous opacity; dimming a star by 20% would require a really huge amount of plasma.
    2) It’s odd that every single CME is be a dimming event, and never a flaring event. It implies that every single flaring event generated a CME headed straight for us, which seems unlikely.
    3) This is a mature early F star, and I don’t think they flare or have CMEs (radiative envelopes and all). But I’m a cool stars guy, not a hot star guy, so I’m not 100% sure about that.

  22. Jeff Goldader

    Hello–PhD astronomer here, but doing other things with my life now. I did mainly extragalactic. Maybe you can shoot this down, Jason.

    First, none of the events has a lightcurve showing a flat bottom like you’d expect from a classical transit event where you have a smaller object fully transiting a star. The lightcurves are more like a partial eclipse. So if due to some objects blocking the light from the star, it would seem the objects have angular diameters comparable to, or greater than, that of the star, and aren’t passing dead-center across the star.

    Second, there are no obvious diffraction features in the lightcurves (central peaks, for example). (Except for maybe the one near 1567 days.) I never did transit work, so maybe there are good reasons for this, but still…

    These two things lead me to believe we’re not seeing transiting objects.

    What about CMEs able to scatter enough starlight out of the beam for a few days that they cause the dips? The spectra in the discovery paper were taken during a normal period, yes? If there’s some sort of watch placed on the star, a target of opportunity spectrum during a dip might show blueshifted H-alpha absorption if that’s the case, I’d guess. Again, I didn’t do stellar, so I could be way off base. As far as I know, we haven’t seen such nasty CMEs before, but then, these dips are pretty unusual, too! Any X-ray observations that might show flaring? Thanks for your thoughts!

  23. Tyler Berry

    Has anyone thought of the posibility that it is not an object even within the heliosphere of KIC, but could be an object, or different objects, much closer to us? 20% is a LARGE percentage… Could it not be a dust cloud or a undiscovered planet that caused the dip in emissions? It wouldn’t have to be a very large object considering the vast distances involved to block out that much light if it was only a few lightyears away. In otherwords, relatively few photons can reach us from KIC, therefore a large amount could be blocked by even a small asteroid between earth and KIC, if in fact the “asteroid” (or other body) was relatively close to earth compared to KIC

  24. Rwhertel

    If this is an advanced alien structure then it makes the future easy. First they would already know about us and don’t care or they do know about us and do care. If they do care then they know we have observed them and they will drop in for a visit to show they care. Very interesting. Lol Think of it 1400 years ago this civilization was at least 500 yrs ? ahead of us.My bet is they have already been here and don’t care.

  25. Doug Ingram

    Thanks for continuing to follow this and for your responses here. I would love to have more details to pass along to my astronomy class. We are just this week discussing extrasolar planets, and I would love to blow up the syllabus to spend a week on this. There is so much interesting science going on here, even if the explanation turns out to be something boring like comets.

    Do you know what efforts are currently underway to collect more data? Is there any ongoing space-based photometry of this object now that Kepler is no longer observing it? Or is there some sort of coordinated effort underway from the ground from sites of varying longitude for continuous monitoring to try to establish whether these large dips repeat?

    Would ground-based data, say an AAVSO type of effort, be able to provide the photometric accuracy needed to analyze the light curve to further constrain the system based on the shape of the dips?

    Do you know of any efforts currently underway to examine this system more quickly as a target-of-opportunity for a large telescope with some flexibility built into its schedule? Maybe much like the supernova search, we could monitor for changes in the light curve and then try to rapidly schedule a spectrum of the system during that time to try to get information on the occulter? Is that a reasonable possibility, do you think?

  26. Levon

    Hi,

    Fascinated but does the star have a planet. I have not read anywhere that Kepler had detected a planet around the star. If there is no planet around the star, from where does the alien megastructures come about?

    I am not ruling out aliens. If life happened on the earth, there is no question it can happen in other places of the universe. But before that I would like to know a bit more about the planet.

    Thanks

  27. Rubens Shmuel

    Reading this report gave me an idea:
    Implement part dyson structure by simply insert small comets or asteroids to a near orbit around the star, and on each asteroid
    Cover the surface with collectors. Each asteroid is a seperate project ,maybe financed by different country.
    Creating such a dyson ring is almost technological feasible. How to move the harvested energy is still to be solved…
    Humanity has covered already the geosync
    Orbit around earth in similar manners.
    You can use groups of tethered asteroids
    Orbiting the sun to create to create anchoring frame for large scale collectors farm. Dyson in now a days technology.
    Move small asteroids, install collectoren,
    collect energy , any ideas what to do with the energy ?

  28. Raoul Peter Mongilardi

    I was fascinated by the article about KIC 8462852 because my sci-fi series, “Next To The Gods” employs a Dyson sphere ‘homeworlds’ that behaves in almost precisely the same way observed at distance. It’s great to be getting the flood of emails, texts and so forth and pretty cool when you’re book hits a nerve on a astronomical front.

  29. Yvan Dutil

    I have seen your paper. You got the same idea as me as checking the information content to decide if this is artificial. You have not work yet on this specific star. I am waiting for your calculation.

  30. Marc-André

    So we’re talking about “something” big. But “something” that big would block light longer than for a few days on a 750-800 days cycle( creating a more wave-form depression) , no? Can you deduce the size and localisation of that “something” like you do with planets?

  31. Steve

    I can’t find an alien structure from this far away, but I found a typo in the paper on arXiv:
    “discaver” should be “discover” in section 4.3, paragraph 2.
    Steve

  32. Adam Curry

    All so the the type ir should change in wavelength for either a Dyson sphere,swarm,shell, or ring.Are there spectroscopy studies being proposed to investigate the change in that signal that should be there from synthetic material?Perhaps it would look for artificial constructions of groups of planetary material (like hematite) to large and concentrated to be a dust cloud?Hematite is an option to look for since it is a proposed recoverable mineral from mercury in a potential future Dyson structure in our solar system. Granted it is the end mercury to achieve such structures.
    Since there is a anomaly at the end of spikes,maybe a complex structure like a Dyson helix might be implied.

  33. jtw13 Post author

    “Isn’t a .88 day rotation awfully fast for a type F star?”
    No, that’s typical

    “Object transiting an F type star every 750 days. Is it possible that the supposed megastructure may be within the habitable zone of the system meaning it likely is an array of solar energy collectors that share identical orbit of the civilizations home planet?”
    I suppose it’s possible; I suspect it’s something we haven’t thought of.

    “i mean, pictures are nice and all, but they leave me wondering why they do not include the time scale on the x-axis label. what are we talking about here? seconds? minutes? hours? days?and who would do that in graphs they are submitting to a scientific journal? i can only conclude that it is an intentional deception.”
    BJD stands for “barycentric Julian date” and is common astronomical jargon for “days,” defined in a particular and precise way. These graphs were not submitted to a journal, but if they had been the x-axis would have been understood just fine.

    “Could the irregular dips be some sort of signal? Like alien morse or something?
    An art installation on cosmic scale?”
    “Have you looked at the interval or whatnot to determine if it is something like how we used to use flashlights to signal each other as kids?

    Our paper discusses these issues, sort of.

    “Does KIC 8462852 have any exoplanets? If not , then that would seem to rule out the possibility of a megastructure since where would the constructors arise.”
    We do not know; F2 stars are very difficult (or impossible, right now) to find planets around.

    “You put in a proposal to do a SETI search on the star? What is the status of that proposal and what can the internet do to make it come true? Because I know with absolute certainty that the internet wants it to.”
    The proposal is pending.

    “Am I the only one who finds this absolutely fascinating?”
    Based on the Internet bonanza, no.

    “I also want to point out the two main dips in the transit data, they both have small arms on the left side. Lets say this is indeed a mega structure, does it mean that its not a completely even shape? It has a uneven shape to it per the un regular dip in transit?”
    That’s a reasonable conclusion.

    “Is it possible certain that other anomalies in the stars’ spin could not produce the dips?”
    The star rotates every 0.88 day. The dips last many days, so cannot be rotationally modulated.

  34. Ws

    Object transiting an F type star every 750 days. Is it possible that the supposed megastructure may be within the habitable zone of the system meaning it likely is an array of solar energy collectors that share identical orbit of the civilizations home planet?

  35. ceanf

    i mean, pictures are nice and all, but they leave me wondering why they do not include the time scale on the x-axis label. what are we talking about here? seconds? minutes? hours? days?and who would do that in graphs they are submitting to a scientific journal? i can only conclude that it is an intentional deception.

  36. Danny

    I have a question Jason. Assume for the sake of argument advanced alien civilizations were an established fact, based on some prior discovery. If the very existence of aliens were well established (though not established around this particular star), what would be the odds then that this was an alien artifact? Would that be the most plausible explanation given what we know if we knew they existed (somewhere) in the galaxy?

    I understand obviously the need for great caution before invoking aliens, given that no one knows with certainty they even exist. I’m just trying to get a handle on how much we have to stretch to come up with a natural explanation versus going the other route. If you exclude dust and rings it seems hard to imagine something natural that is not a star and would block over 20 % of the starlight. But then again we seem to always discover new things we didn’t even consider before.

  37. Somebody

    Could the irregular dips be some sort of signal? Like alien morse or something?
    An art installation on cosmic scale?

  38. craveller

    Have you looked at the interval or whatnot to determine if it is something like how we used to use flashlights to signal each other as kids?

  39. Wojciech J

    I have always questioned the idea that Dyson Spheres are a logical phase of development of advanced civilization. I think that with advancement of technology we could just as well see the ability for self-restraint and limiting growth.Nevertheless I could see it as a vanity project or one made for other exotic reasons beyond need for living space or energy collection.
    Secondly, one has to ask, would a civilization this advanced use radio beams as means of communication? Doesn’t hurt to listen, but I wouldn’t bet on this being their means of communication(if they exist at all)

  40. afeder

    You put in a proposal to do a SETI search on the star? What is the status of that proposal and what can the internet do to make it come true? Because I know with absolute certainty that the internet wants it to.

  41. Adam Curry

    Is it possible certain that other anomalies in the stars’ spin could not produce the dips? It could offer a way to explain the dip’s that would not increase the total IR of the star unlike dust or an Oort cloud.

    Could a brown dwarf produce the effect?That is less likely off-course given the irregular period. It seems a little early to say the natural causes are less likely than artificial ones.

    The Dyson dilemma s a quandary to those interested in the Fermi Paradox .The age of potentially habitual time in the universe is enough that in theory all usable stars should have been block by now.
    So no, it would not be surprising if we found a few.
    I would say yes searching this target for artificial structures is logical but not the most likely cause of the signals. Unless there is some secondary data that has not been published yet?

  42. Laurence Leszcynski

    Does KIC 8462852 have any exoplanets? If not , then that would seem to rule out the possibility of a megastructure since where would the constructors arise.

  43. Taras

    Am I the only one who finds this absolutely fascinating? Whether is it a Alien mega structure or something completely different, this data is just beautiful to look at. I have never seen anything like this.
    I also want to point out the two main dips in the transit data, they both have small arms on the left side. Lets say this is indeed a mega structure, does it mean that its not a completely even shape? It has a uneven shape to it per the un regular dip in transit?

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