Author Topic: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns  (Read 2365 times)

Recusant

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Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« on: October 15, 2015, 07:24:22 PM »
A couple of pop-science articles about this observation:

"The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy" | The Atlantic

Quote
“We’d never seen anything like this star,” says Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoc at Yale. “It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”

. . .

The light pattern suggests there is a big mess of matter circling the star, in tight formation. That would be expected if the star were young. When our solar system first formed, four and a half billion years ago, a messy disk of dust and debris surrounded the sun, before gravity organized it into planets, and rings of rock and ice.

But this unusual star isn’t young. If it were young, it would be surrounded by dust that would give off extra infrared light. There doesn’t seem to be an excess of infrared light around this star.

It appears to be mature. 

And yet, there is this mess of objects circling it. A mess big enough to block a substantial number of photons that would have otherwise beamed into the tube of the Kepler Space Telescope. If blind nature deposited this mess around the star, it must have done so recently. Otherwise, it would be gone by now. Gravity would have consolidated it, or it would have been sucked into the star and swallowed, after a brief fiery splash.

[Continues . . .]

"Astronomers Have Spotted Something Very, Very Strange Surrounding A Distant Star" | IFLScience

Quote
Kepler [space observatory] observed the star KIC 8462852 for four years starting in 2009. Typically, orbiting planets only dim the light of their host star for a period of a few hours to a few days depending on their orbit. A group of citizen scientists noticed that this star appeared to have two small dips in 2009, followed by a large dip lasting almost a week in 2011, and finally a series of multiple dips significantly dimming the star’s light in 2013.

[Continues . . .]

. . . And a paper (PDF) discussing the findings.

Some folks are suggesting this might be evidence of a highly advanced technology. It will be interesting to see what further observation will bring to light.  ;)

 
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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2015, 07:22:02 AM »
That is weird. I wonder if it be that a rogue planet got caught in the stars gravity and eventually collided with one of the stars planets obliterating both. Of course advanced technology would be cool too.

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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2015, 07:53:00 AM »
I would love it to be alien tech but it's probably just cometary debris.  :(
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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2015, 11:27:26 AM »
It's a NG navy cruiser attacking the innocent, peace-loving Whooples again.  There's a Whoople base in that system.

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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2015, 03:46:15 PM »
Asmos. Asmos are reported to have been scheming in that area.

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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2015, 04:46:09 PM »
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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2015, 05:21:29 PM »
If it was aliens, I don't suppose there's any chance at all of finding it out? 
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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2015, 07:33:36 PM »
If it was aliens, I don't suppose there's any chance at all of finding it out?

With the proposed hypothesis of it being aliens as well as the other a simple visual verification would suffice. As the movement is an anomaly it is a prime candidate for further study. Now the problem becomes how do we view that sort of distance and is there any funding to research a specific target telescope so we could get more clarity. I don't think we as a species have ever had a target at such a distance such as this that would be worth such an investment in the kind of telescope needed before.

You have a problem you develop a method to potentially answer that solution, that is science. We will never know unless people try.
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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2015, 07:42:55 PM »
If it was aliens, I don't suppose there's any chance at all of finding it out?

From the article in The Atlantic:

Quote
Boyajian is now working with Wright and Andrew Siemion, the Director of the SETI Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley. The three of them are writing up a proposal. They want to point a massive radio dish at the unusual star, to see if it emits radio waves at frequencies associated with technological activity.

If they see a sizable amount of radio waves, they’ll follow up with the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico, which may be able to say whether the radio waves were emitted by a technological source, like those that waft out into the universe from Earth’s network of radio stations.
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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2015, 08:27:41 PM »
But is there time enough for the information to go back and forth, even if there's someone for it to go to?  I understand that's always been the big problem with space travel, is it any less of a problem with information? 
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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2015, 08:48:09 PM »
But is there time enough for the information to go back and forth, even if there's someone for it to go to?  I understand that's always been the big problem with space travel, is it any less of a problem with information?

I don't think that anybody is thinking of trying to contact the hypothetical technologically advanced species; they just want to see if there is any evidence for its existence. Since the light which produced the observation has reached us, so would hypothetical radio transmissions. There is an assumption that the hypothetical species would be communicating in the radio part of the electromagnetic spectrum, as we have been since the early part of the last century, or at least producing unusual noise in those frequencies as a byproduct of other technological activities. That assumption may be incorrect, but these scientists would like to check it out.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2015, 09:13:42 PM by Recusant »
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2015, 11:56:55 PM »
 :) Problem solved: China Builds Worlds Largest Radio Telescope.
http://www.happyatheistforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=14081.0


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Recusant

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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2015, 08:07:53 PM »
Some scientists at SETI are already trying to check for radio signals from this star system:

"Search For Intelligent Aliens Near Bizarre Dimming Star Has Begun" | Space.com

Quote
The leading hypothesis at the moment involves a swarm of comets that may have been sent careening toward KIC 8462852, possibly after a gravitational jostle by a passing star. But it's also possible, astronomers say, that the signal Kepler saw was caused by huge structures built by an alien civilization — say, a giant assortment of orbiting solar panels.

That latter possibility, remote though it may be, has put KIC 8462852 in the crosshairs of scientists who hunt for signals that may have been generated by intelligent aliens.

"We are looking at it with the Allen Telescope Array," said Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California.

[Continues . . .]
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


Recusant

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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2015, 09:40:44 PM »
The first SETI results are in.

"What the Flux? No Sign of Aliens Around Strange, Dimming Star" | Space.com

Quote
If alien civilizations are broadcasting from around a strangely behaving star, they aren't chatting loud enough for humans to hear them from Earth, new observations show.

. . .

"The history of astronomy tells us that, every time we thought we had found a phenomenon due to the activities of extraterrestrials, we were wrong," SETI Institute astronomer Seth Shostak said in a statement. "But although it's quite likely that this star's strange behavior is due to nature, not aliens, it's only prudent to check things out."

. . .

The ATA's [Allen Telescope Array] dishes examined the star for two types of radio signals. Narrowband signals, which make up most SETI searches, are considered plausible for advanced societies to use as a "hailing signal" to announce their presence to other civilizations. Broadband signals might come from spacecraft servicing any alien projects around the star, and could leak from spacecraft propelled by intense microwave beams.

. . .

[T]he SETI Institute announced in a statement yesterday (Nov. 5) that there was "no clear evidence for either type of signal." The search rules out omnidirectional transmitters that use a minimum amount of energy to broadcast their signal. This minimum is approximately 100 times the total amount of energy currently used on Earth (terrestrially) for the narrowband signals, and 10 million times higher than that for broadband emissions, researcherse said.

The findings don't eliminate the possibility of alien communications coming from the region around the star — but those communications are weaker than what SETI searches are currently able to detect. The limitations come primarily from the distance between Earth and the star, scientists said.

[Continues . . .]

Not conclusive results, but results. If there is a civilization inhabiting the KIC 8462852 system, they aren't using 100 times the total energy output of the Earth to power a "Hey, here we are!" beacon.   :sadshake:
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 09:54:05 PM by Recusant »
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
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Re: Star Emitting Extremely Unusual Light Patterns
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2015, 11:03:19 PM »
:notsure: You know what? I need a more reliable source, so I'll just wait for Ihateyoumike's final report.


“I've had several "spiritual" or numinous experiences over the years, but never felt that they were the product of anything but the workings of my own mind in reaction to the universe.” ~Recusant

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