The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

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The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#1  Postby Arjan Dirkse » Oct 14, 2015 11:45 pm

This seems interesting:


Boyajian, the Yale Postdoc who oversees Planet Hunters, recently published a paper describing the star’s bizarre light pattern. Several of the citizen scientists are named as co-authors. The paper explores a number of scenarios that might explain the pattern—instrument defects; the shrapnel from an asteroid belt pileup; an impact of planetary scale, like the one that created our moon.

The paper finds each explanation wanting, save for one. If another star had passed through the unusual star’s system, it could have yanked a sea of comets inward. Provided there were enough of them, the comets could have made the dimming pattern.

But that would be an extraordinary coincidence, if that happened so recently, only a few millennia before humans developed the tech to loft a telescope into space. That’s a narrow band of time, cosmically speaking.

And yet, the explanation has to be rare or coincidental. After all, this light pattern doesn’t show up anywhere else, across 150,000 stars. We know that something strange is going on out there.

When I spoke to Boyajian on the phone, she explained that her recent paper only reviews “natural” scenarios. “But,” she said, there were “other scenarios” she was considering.

Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University, is set to publish an alternative interpretation of the light pattern. SETI researchers have long suggested that we might be able to detect distant extraterrestrial civilizations, by looking for enormous technological artifacts orbiting other stars. Wright and his co-authors say the unusual star’s light pattern is consistent with a “swarm of megastructures,” perhaps stellar-light collectors, technology designed to catch energy from the star.

“When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright told me. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#2  Postby Onyx8 » Oct 15, 2015 1:30 am

Cool speculation.

Wasn't it Dyson who said we should look for stars that emit no energy as the civilization that lives there is collecting it all?
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#3  Postby kennyc » Oct 15, 2015 2:15 am

Maybe the first aliens we find will be this way....
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#4  Postby klazmon » Oct 15, 2015 3:58 am

Here's the pre print:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1509.03622
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#5  Postby Sendraks » Oct 15, 2015 9:14 am

It is definitely one of the most interesting discoveries mankind has made recently. Shame there appears to be little in the way of news coverage about it.
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#6  Postby kennyc » Oct 15, 2015 11:32 am

Sendraks wrote:It is definitely one of the most interesting discoveries mankind has made recently. Shame there appears to be little in the way of news coverage about it.


Too much Donald, too little reality.

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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#7  Postby Alan B » Oct 15, 2015 11:58 am

Of course, the Daily Mail has to get in on the act...
Daily Mail
Have researchers discovered an alien MEGASTRUCTURE? 'Bizarre' star could be surrounded by a Dyson sphere built by extraterrestrials, researchers claim


Sendraks wrote:Shame there appears to be little in the way of news coverage about it.

If you Google 'KIC 8462852' you will find plenty of media coverage - with the usual 'Aliens are upon us' stuff.
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#8  Postby kennyc » Oct 15, 2015 1:09 pm

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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#9  Postby kennyc » Oct 15, 2015 8:09 pm

Time Magazine:

.....For starters, let’s consider Occam’s razor, first posited by 14th century philosopher William of Ockham, who said, in so many words, “Don’t overthink things, people.” When two or more competing theories are presented as an explanation for an idea, it is almost always the simplest one that is the answer.

The chatter over KIC 8462852 hardly abides by that dictum. If you’ve got a half a dozen natural scenarios that you reject as implausible and then an additional one that requires giant light-concentrating spacecraft built by aliens, and that’s the one passes your plausibility test, well, you might not have evaluated the probabilities as carefully as you should have. That’s not to say that the natural explanations don’t have problems—even perhaps fatal ones. Boyajian’s paper is a very well-reasoned piece of writing and she makes strong arguments. But she doesn’t firmly close the door on any of the natural scenarios, and she doesn’t even say that they represent an exhaustive list of the explanations....


http://time.com/4074957/flickering-star-aliens/
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#10  Postby Ironclad » Oct 15, 2015 10:00 pm

Onyx8 wrote:Cool speculation.

Wasn't it Dyson who said we should look for stars that emit no energy as the civilization that lives there is collecting it all?


I'm not sure we'd see that much light from a 'classic' DS. But the Dyson Swarm I've seen speculated wouldn't interfere with photons this much.
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#11  Postby lucek » Oct 15, 2015 11:28 pm

I'm predicting it's just some new phenomenon that we don't know about yet but I have to admit this is pretty cool either way. Anything that can block 22% of a stars light has to be huge (or tons of tiny things). Bated breath engaged.
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#12  Postby lucek » Oct 15, 2015 11:32 pm

Onyx8 wrote:Cool speculation.

Wasn't it Dyson who said we should look for stars that emit no energy as the civilization that lives there is collecting it all?

He proposed looking for the waste heat. A DS would capture 100% of the light but then would have to stay cool so would have to emit 100% out of the system.
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#13  Postby kennyc » Oct 16, 2015 1:06 am

lucek wrote:I'm predicting it's just some new phenomenon that we don't know about yet but I have to admit this is pretty cool either way. Anything that can block 22% of a stars light has to be huge (or tons of tiny things). Bated breath engaged.


Yep. That's where I'm placing my bets as well.

Hopefully the additional planned observations will help to clarify.
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#14  Postby Alan B » Oct 16, 2015 8:58 am

Perhaps it was spinning so slowly that the rest of the 'debris' did not form into a ring around the axis of spin, so that any matter in the system clumped 'willy-nilly' anywhere at any angle to the star's axis. :ask:
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#15  Postby Arjan Dirkse » Oct 17, 2015 11:54 am

The thing I wonder about with a Dyson sphere or something similar is how it would not wreak havoc on the climate if you block off a significant portion of the sunlight,
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#16  Postby Alan B » Oct 17, 2015 2:32 pm

To avoid that you would have to place the DS outside the planets orbit...

See Star Trek: Next Generation where an old Scotty is trapped inside. :think: :lol:
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#17  Postby igorfrankensteen » Oct 17, 2015 3:06 pm

One side cautionary: lots of discoveries, especially astrological ones, when first announced, are thought to be extremely rare, because it's only the first one seen. But since we've only recently developed the technology to see them at all, it also happens periodically that something is said to be incredibly rare, and all sorts of effort is put in to esoteric explanations for it, only to gradually find that it's NOT that rare, and that some entirely different and simpler explanation actually applies.
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#18  Postby Alan B » Oct 17, 2015 3:12 pm

Erm, 'astrological'? :scratch:
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#19  Postby lucek » Oct 17, 2015 5:44 pm

igorfrankensteen wrote:One side cautionary: lots of discoveries, especially astrological ones, when first announced, are thought to be extremely rare, because it's only the first one seen. But since we've only recently developed the technology to see them at all, it also happens periodically that something is said to be incredibly rare, and all sorts of effort is put in to esoteric explanations for it, only to gradually find that it's NOT that rare, and that some entirely different and simpler explanation actually applies.

I'm kinda wondering what this refers to? Are you saying that objects that appear to be too massive to be planets but not bright enough to be stars or brown dwarfs are probably more common or are you saying that the proposed stellar collision is more common. The former I don't get your point the latter I don't think is sound. I'm probably just reading this wrong or missed something.
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Re: The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy!?

#20  Postby MarkS » Oct 17, 2015 6:52 pm

THIS is why I lurk on this particular forum. I read the OP, scroll down to suggest a Dyson sphere/swarm, and find a discussion already in progress. I mean, I'm sure it isn't, but as a layman it's still fascinating.
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