Have we finally found signs of Alien Intelligence

Humans have been looking for intelligence life in the universe for around a hundred years now. There are two ways to look for such life. Firstly we use radio telescopes to listen for any alien signals and secondly by using optical telescopes to detect irregular orbits and movements which defy the laws of gravity.

We haven’t had much luck by listening to signals. SETI uses this method utilizing The Allen Telescope Array as showcased in the movie Contact where a signal is received from space.

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However in the last week scientists have begun serious discussions about the possibilities of an Alien Mega-structure discovered around a strange star.

This is mainstream news not just crazy speculation. The following publications have reported stories on the same lines. The GuardianThe Independent and Discovery.

The discovery

Astronomers have spotted a strange mess of objects whirling around a distant star that has triggered many strange explanations. This singular star, named KIC8462852 is sandwiched between the North hemisphere’s stars; the Cygnus and Lyra. The strange thing about it is that it cannot be viewed by the naked eye, but it is visible to the Kepler space telescope, which has been monitoring it since 2009.

Most astronomers who have taken the effort to analyze this star are unanimous that it is indeed very singular. Some doubtful ones regard the image as a result of data error or irregular movement of the telescope. Kepler has been studying diminutive dips that are found in the rays emitted by this star together with those of 150,000 other stars in its vicinity.

Speculations

Ordinarily these dips can be interpreted as the “shadows” that are cast by transiting planets, particularly when they are repeated occasionally. Which some astronomers argue is what is to be expected from orbiting bodies. In this particular endeavor, the Kepler telescope has been able to collect a lot of light, which the scientific crew who work with its findings have been unable to process utilizing current algorithms.

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This state of affairs eventually led them to resort to use human vision as well as cognition, which still remains unparalleled in some types of pattern recognition. The Kepler team went on to begin the Planet Hunters, a project that makes use of citizen scientists to assess these strange patterns.

In 2011, a couple of these individuals noted that out of all the stars studied, this particular one was intriguing and unusual. Most especially due to the light patterns it was producing.

Logical explanations

These strange patterns have led these scientists to infer that a big mess of matter is surrounding this one of a kind star in a tight formation. It is important to note that when our solar system came into being over 4  billion years ago, a disc of dust along with debris circled the sun. But gravity intervened and went on to organize this disc into planets and ringlets of rock and ice.

The strange thing in all this is the fact that this KIC8462852 is not young. If it were so, it would have been circled by dust, which would produce additional infrared rays. However, no such activity has been noticed around this star.

Yet these objects are sufficiently large to block a significant amount of photons that would normally have been relayed into the Kepler space telescope’s tube. If this mess was deposited by natural phenomena it must have been a recent occurrence or it would have disappeared by now. As gravity would have naturally amalgamated it into heavenly bodies or it would have been sucked in and ultimately swallowed by the star.

Quotes from scientists

Tabetha Bajayian, who oversees the aforementioned Planet Hunters project, along with other citizen scientists have jointly published a scientific paper that attempts to describe this strange light pattern. This paper provides a couple of hypothesizes on just what may be causing this occurrence. Which includes the Kepler telescope having instrument defects, shrapnel triggered by an asteroid belt buildup or a planetary scale impact. It is noteworthy to state that the later effect is what ultimately formed our moon.

Nevertheless, this paper still finds all these explanations null and invalid, except one that is more likely. This is that another star may have passed through the singular one, and in the process, pulled a sea of comets. The latter if it was sufficient enough might be what triggers the dimming patterns.

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On the other hand, this would be a somewhat queer coincidence as it must have occurred recently. Just a few millennia prior to us developing the technology to dispatch a telescope into outer space , which is definitely a very short time span.

John Wright, an astronomer that is based at the Penn State University is also set to publish another paper that offers other interpretations of the event. It is at the same time critical to recall that SETI scientists have time and again suggested that one of the best ways of detecting alien civilization is by searching for big technological structures orbiting distant stars.

Wright and his team assert that these light patterns are in line with a swarm of mega structures. They go on to hypothesize that they could be perhaps stellar collectors, a technology they think is in a position of gathering energy from this given star.

What are the next steps?

Bojayian is currently collaborating with Wright along with Andrew Siemion, the director of SETI research center at University of California, Berkeley. This trio is trying to draft a proposal on the feasibility of pointing out a colossal radio dish towards this singular star. They believe this will allow astronomers to find out whether it emits any radio waves at the frequencies that are linked with technological activities.

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Should this test be able to produce positive results, Bojayian, Wright and Siemion want to follow up with the very large array (VLA) that is located in New Mexico. This, they claim, may in the long run be in an excellent position of distinguishing if the radio waves that will be detected are produced by a technological source. Which they say is not any different from the radio waves that move into the universe and are produced by the vast network of radio stations found on our own planet.

What next?

Should this proposal be eventually accepted by the relevant authorities, the very first observation will take place in January. While the follow up VLA test could most likely occur some time next fall. The three astronomers say that should the initial test produce exceptionally excellent findings, the follow up will most certainly be fast tracked to an earlier date.

Can we contact them and how?

All in all they are optimistic that this series of evaluations will be able to shed some illuming light over just what is causing these light patterns.

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Meanwhile, for the time being astronomers will have to be content with just casting anxious glances at the Northern hemisphere skyline, obviously with the unnerving feeling that someone might be staring back.

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