In mid-October, several large media outlets wrote that the Kepler Observatory had discovered in the 1480 light-years from the Sun something resembling the creation of a highly developed extraterrestrial civilization, namely the hypothetical Dyson sphere. In fact, there is no talk of contact with the alien mind, but what really causes the anomalous glow of the star KIC 8462852 is not completely clear.
The star KIC 8462852 in the constellation Cygnus is known for a long time. For the first time, volunteers from the Planet Hunters research project, which analyzes the data obtained by the Kepler telescope, attracted attention to it. The project works in this way: volunteers should look at the images from Kepler and find dark spots on them - they may indicate that the alleged planet passes in front of its star. It looks like a short decline in the level of radiation of a star.
The eyes of an ordinary person are better suited for such purposes than software; During the five years of operation, Planet Hunters has already managed to discover several planets and designate several dozen probable space objects. The radiation decay was also detected in the case of KIC 8462852, but its nature suggests that certain objects of a sufficiently large mass orbit around the star.This is quite possible if the star is quite young, and a ring of dust is spinning around it, from which then under the influence of gravity planets will form, however KIC 8462852 is a completely elderly star. Even if it were such, it would be possible to fix the excess infrared radiation that is usual in these cases - but this was not detected.
About once every 800 days, radiation from a star drops by 15–20 percent, writes The Washington Post. The decrease in the brightness of the star can last for weeks, and in 2013 a series of such radiation declines lasted three months. The presence of the largest planet of the solar system, Jupiter, next to it, for example, would reduce the radiation level by one percent. There is no evidence that there is any planet near KIC 8462852.
The sequence of increasing and decreasing radiation of KIC 8462852 is so unusual that it does not repeat in any of the more than 150 thousand known stars. According to the university researcher Yale Tabety Boyadzhian, who published the work on KIC 8462852 in September 2015, the researchers first thought that they were dealing with some kind of technical error - they could not believe that the data on the emission of a star is really real.The most likely version to which the researcher came from Yale, along with her colleagues, was that the star was surrounded by a whole swarm of exocometus that collapsed under the influence of its gravity and turned into clouds of dust and gas, The New Scientist writes.
The biggest problem with KIC 8462852 is the lack of data on the nature of its radiation. The space observatory, which was able to detect the anomaly, partially broke down two years ago, and in April 2015, when the unusual radiation of the star was expected to resume, did not record KIC 8462852. The researchers hope that the star will be able to study in more detail in May 2017, when the next manifestation of anomaly is expected.
However, already available information is enough for scientists to pay attention to KIC 8462852. Colleague Tabyta Boyadzhian of the University of Pennsylvania Jason Wright plans to publish his own study of the glow KIC 8462852. He plans to explain the glow by the presence around the star of the so-called Dyson sphere - a hypothetical object of spherical shape built around the star. It is assumed that such a sphere may allow efficient use of the energy of the star; among its applications are called the solution of problems of living space, and travel at superluminal speeds.
Dyson's sphere exists only on paper (including in science fiction), no means of its realization are known to mankind, but the search for such objects is included in the task of researchers who are engaged in identifying extraterrestrial life. It is believed that the sphere can be a sign of a highly developed alien civilization.
Wright notes that aliens are the last thing an astrophysicist should think about, and emphasizes that he will be extremely skeptical in his research. “But still, it looks exactly as you would expect from something built by aliens,” says the scientist. It is the words of Wright and the assumption about the Dyson sphere around KIC 8462852 caused a flurry of publications and conversations about the traces of an extraterrestrial civilization. Approximately in the same vein, pulsars were discussed in the late 1960s — their radiation was very similar to an alien radio signal.