Swarm of Comets Most Likely Cause for Dimming Star

"KIC 8462852"

Does anybody else feel like playing Galaga?

A few weeks back, the internet war buzzing over what could have potentially been a chain of alien megastructures build around a star that was causing it to dim irregularly. However, a new theory suggests swarm of comets most likely cause for dimming star.

The whole thing began a few weeks ago, when some citizen astronomers discovered some strange light patters occurring with KIC 8462852, a star observable via the Kepler telescope. As they analyzed data starting with the telescope’s unveiling in 2009, the astronomers observed that the star’s light was dimming occasionally.

Not only was the light dimming, but it was dimming by percentages never before encountered, the biggest such drop in its luminosity being of 22%.

The strangest thing about the occurrence was not necessarily the amount by which the star was dimming, but the irregularity with which it did so.

After checking for similar occurrences with the other 150,000 stars recorded by the Kepler and finding none, the astronomers tried to come up with theories regarding the unusual happenstance.

However, the more they struggled to come up with a viable explanation, the more they invalidated their theories. For many, seeing as no scientific explanation could be provided, the most logical explanation was that a series of giant alien megastructures were built around the star in order to collect its power.

After weeks of debates and discussions about the possibility of an alien civilization advanced enough to build such a system of megastructures in order to drain power from the star, as well as which type of civilization the aliens would be on the Kardashev scale (it would have been a type II civilization), scientists have come up with a more reasonable explanation for the strange occurrences.

Apparently, a family of comets was destroyed near the star, and fragments of comet and dust are still coming in steeply towards the star, thus causing the strange variations in its light. This is what the scientists claim would be the most reasonable explanation after performing more investigations.

However, the astronomers also admit that the comets being the cause of the strange phenomena is just a theory, and the most reasonable one at that; however, they cannot say for certain what is the cause of KIC 8462852 dimming so strongly and irregularly.

Maybe the cause is indeed the destruction of some comets, or maybe we do have a type II civilization in our observable Universe. There is no clear way to find out yet.

In the meantime, we can just sit back and consider the implications of the Fermi paradox, safe and blissful in our cloud of ignorance. But maybe that will change soon enough. You never know.

Image source: www.flickr.com