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    Alien megastructure?

    Read about this a year or so ago...and here's the latest.

    Article:

    Alien megastructure? Flickering star KIC 8462852 won’t give up its dark secret.

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    Harnessed star ... The idea that an alien civilisation could capture all the energy of a star is behind speculation about KIC 8462852.


    A MYSTERIOUSLY pulsing star just keeps getting more mysterious. Giant clouds of comets? Enormous alien solar panels? A year after its discovery, new evidence still doesn’t add up.

    A new paper published to the open source science journal arXiv has scoured all the data recorded by the Kepler space telescope since it was launched in 2009 for any trace of KIC 8462852.

    The star — and its strange behaviour — began to be captured by Kepler’s high-precision imaging from 2011.

    The study shows it has dimmed overall by a startling degree over the four years it was in the space telescope’s field of view.

    This is over and above the huge — but short lived — dips in the star’s light detected in 2011 and 2013.

    How a star could dim so fast, yet alone ‘pulse’ in an erratic, non-predictable way, remains a mystery.

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    Big dipper ... A chart from the new study showing KIC 8462852’s dimming and brightening events while being observed by the Kepler space telescope.

    DYING LIGHT

    If it was a planet, or even a series of planets, the interval would be rhythmical. Measurable. Predictable.

    KIC 8462852 (otherwise known as ‘Tabby’s Star’ after its discoverer Tabetha Boyajian) has an erratic glow. What’s more, it’s getting dimmer over time.

    These ‘red flags’ were highlighted as early as the 1960s as a possible sign of an immensely advanced alien civilisation.

    Such a society would have enormous energy needs in order to span interstellar distances. To meet these needs, one option would be to build a solar-system spanning sphere of solar panels capable of harvesting every photon their home star emits.

    The concept was dubbed a “Dyson sphere” after the name of its creator.

    NEW LIGHT ON THE MATTER

    During the four years Kepler was looking in the general direction of Tabby’s Star, it lost about four per cent of its luminosity.

    But not at a constant rate.

    In the new study, astronomers Ben Montet and Joshua Simon found the star was initially dimming by about 0.34 per cent per year. A dramatic dip over the course of just 200 days saw its light fall by about 2.5 per cent. Since then, Tabby’s Star has continued to fade at its original rate.

    What could be the cause? Perhaps a much closer cloud of dark comets passing between us and the star?

    To test this idea, the authors examined 500 stars surrounding KIC 8462852.

    None flickered. So whatever the cause may be, it must be closest to Tabby’s Star.

    Is it a characteristic of the type of star?

    The authors also sifted through the data for another 500 stars, this time for those that matched the size and makeup of Tabby’s Star.

    Their brightness remained consistent.

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    While doubts remain as to its accuracy, analysis of 100 years of space photos appear to indicate KIC 8462852 has been dimming steadily.

    DEFYING EXPLANATION

    Since the odd behaviour of Tabby’s Star was announced a year ago, astronomers and astrophysicists the world over have been pouring over the data and pointing their instruments in its direction.

    A search for artificial laser light by the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence found nothing. Their reasoning was that there would be plenty of ‘leakage’ of such light from such an alien civilisation.

    Then there’s the idea that the flickering and dimming could be caused by an immense cloud of dust or comets slowly falling towards the star itself.

    But astronomers say they’d expect such a cloud to show up in infra-red scans of the star and its surrounds. It doesn’t. At least yet.

    Some astronomers suggest Tabby’s Star could be spinning (and wobbling) very fast — fast enough to bulge. This would cause the ‘poles’ to become brighter and the equator dimmer. Add a nearby ‘hot Jupiter’ to the mix and you could get similar chaotic light conditions.

    But available measurements don’t seem to indicate Tabby’s Star is spinning all that fast.

    While Tabby’s Star is no longer inside Kepler’s field of view, Tabetha Boyajian has been funded to use the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network to keep an eye on it.

    The hope is she and her team will catch it in another of its unexpectedly deep dips. Such data may help explain what is causing it.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/sc...dc4a1ad020e403

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    Re: Alien megastructure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross View Post
    But astronomers say they’d expect such a cloud to show up in infra-red scans of the star and its surrounds. It doesn’t. At least yet.
    That's probably the key...unless it's the aliens. I wonder if a type civilization of that level would be using such technologies for energy needs. I'm partial to quantum vacuum energy in this scenario.

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    Re: Alien megastructure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Bomm View Post
    I wonder if a type civilization of that level would be using such technologies for energy needs. I'm partial to quantum vacuum energy in this scenario.
    Certainly a type 1 civilization, as theorized (us being a type 0) would have the tech to siphon direct from parent star as a prolonged clean form of energy. Not far fetched at all.

    In this scenario, an entire solar system surrounded by solar collectors is an obvious idea.

    Level 2 civilization would be able to create stars themselves...and thus solar systems.

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    Re: Alien megastructure?

    Consider perspective: If we could reduce ourselves to an infinitesimal unit and see our bodies from within (at the level of atoms) how would the landscape look? Now consider that in relation to the Universe we are infinitesimal organisms. At the level of micro-organisms what is the relative distance between say, atoms located in a toe and the atoms located in the head?

    This will sound mad, but puts things into perspective:If an atom of the kidney within our bodies was conscious, what reaction would it have if a fellow atom starts telling him about the possibility of higher beings called Tissues in some far away location, say the Heart. Because of the perspective of their scale (atoms) and the massive distance (relative to their scale) between the Kidney and the Heart and the massive difference (relative) on the consciousness between Atoms and Tissues... it would be easier for the Atom to conclude they are alone in their universe, it's easier to refuse the existence of tissues because of the massive distance and their lack of proper perspective . Such relative isolation could perhaps have as a consequence feelings of grandiose on many atoms as to their unquestioned mastery of their universe.

    Project this same perspective to Humans... would it be that mad to consider there are higher beings and the only reason why we refuse to see it, is because of our lack of perspective?
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    Re: Alien megastructure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reaver View Post
    Project this same perspective to Humans... would it be that mad to consider there are higher beings and the only reason why we refuse to see it, is because of our lack of perspective?
    I would say it's an intelligent perspective to consider more intelligent beings in habitation of the Universe.

    These days, our observable view of the Universe, some 14 billion years into the past, coupled with our knowledge of known exoplanets, data from the Kepler telescope in particular, and within our own Galaxy, one of 100 billion odd galaxies, dictates that indeed there will be intelligent life beyond our own.

    Also consider our genetic cousin, the Chimpanzee share's 98% identical DNA. That 2 % difference is profound in the differing species, so imagine another galactic species with a 2% difference to that of Humans? That's like 'their' preschoolers doing algebra pinning it to the fridge door instead of stick-men drawings.

    Also consider our evolution as Humans, Homo sapiens been around a mere few hundred thousand years compared to a cosmic species that's been evolving for millions to billions of years...

    Personally I'd stake my life on the fact that there are far more intelligent species residing in the Universe than that of us Humans here on Earth.

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    Re: Alien megastructure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reaver View Post
    Project this same perspective to Humans... would it be that mad to consider there are higher beings and the only reason why we refuse to see it, is because of our lack of perspective?
    Ain't no doubt in my mind...

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    Re: Alien megastructure?

    Article:

    In the summer of 2015, astronomers announced a strange new discovery from NASA’s planet hunting Kepler space observatory. Some object was blocking out about 22% of the light from its parent star: KIC 8462852. Even the largest planet in the Solar System, Jupiter, would only block out 1% of a star’s light, so something much larger must be doing this. But what?

    Astronomers proposed a few ideas: a cloud of comets, or a maybe the debris from a recently destroyed planet. But another idea was put on the table: an alien megastructure.

    Now keep in mind, aliens are way down in the list of possibilities here. It’s almost certainly, for sure, probably not aliens. Seriously, every other possibility is a zillion times more likely than aliens. But there’s a remote, non-zero chance that it’s aliens, and their alien megastructures.

    Are you having trouble imagining what an alien megastructure might look like, and why it would exist? No problem, join the club. All we’re doing is extrapolating from our current demand and growth for energy to its logical conclusion.

    Imagine the future of humanity. We use more energy now than we did in the past. And in the future, we’ll want even more energy. Eventually we’ll use up all the energy on Earth, then we’ll figure out how to use up all the energy flowing out of the Sun. After that, we’ll use up all the energy in the entire Milky Way. Finally, we’ll use up all the energy within every single galaxy that we can get our hands on.

    And to do this, we’re going to want to build megastructures. Aliens will call them alien megastructures. So what kind of megastructures will we build to extract all the energy from the Sun?

    Imagine you encased the entire Sun in a rigid sphere; this the concept of a Dyson Sphere, first described by Freeman Dyson back in the 1960s. In fact, if you dismantled every single planet, moon, comet and asteroid in the Solar System, you could build a shell around the Sun about half a meter thick. It would have an interior living space of about 600 million times what we currently have on Earth. And if you set the whole sphere turning, the people at the equator would experience Earthlike gravity from the centripetal force pushing them outward.

    This actually isn’t a great idea. You’d have to be pretty close to the equator to experience any gravity, and the forces on the whole sphere would try to tear it apart. There are no materials that we could imagine that could hold a structure like that together.

    A more realistic concept is a Dyson Swarm, where you build a single solar power collection satellite. And then use its energy to manufacture more of these things until there’s a cloud of them orbiting the Sun, and you’ve got your greedy hands on every single stray photon.

    Seen from afar, a cloud of these satellites would block the light from the Sun as they swept past, and make astronomers wonder if they’re seeing an alien megastructure. But for a powerful alien civilization with the ability to dismantle a Solar System, this is just the first step.

    The next megastructure is a Shkadov Thruster. This is a reflective half shell that’s put in place beside a star. Light pressure from the star pushes outward, holding the shell in place, and gravity from the shell pulls the star towards it. Over billions of years, a civilization could reorganize all the stars in their galaxy into a more useful configuration. Any galaxy that isn’t already moving away faster than the speed of light could be raw materials for a powerful civilization looking to get at every joule of energy.

    This all sounds like amazing science fiction, but the reality is that we have the tools to see if these alien megastructures have been constructed across the Universe. Although a Dyson sphere would block out the light from a star, infrared radiation would still escape from the outside of the shell.

    Astronomers have performed surveys to look for unusual objects that shine brightly in the infrared, and nothing has turned up. They’ve even looked at thousands of galaxies, to see if any have been completely colonized and converted into Dyson spheres. Still nothing, but they’ll keep looking.

    In just the last few months, the study of KIC 8462852 has gotten stranger. Astronomers looked back at old images of the star and found that it’s been slowly dimming over the last century. And this rules out the idea that a cloud of comets is blocking the light from the star. It’s still probably not aliens, but it’s definitely not comets.

    Although the idea of a megastructure sounds like science fiction, there’s nothing in the laws of physics that prohibits it. It would just take engineering at a scale that boggles the imagination. Fortunately, we should be able to detect any aliens building their megastructures in our neighborhood, so we’ll be able to admire their handiwork from afar. As always, let’s hope they’re friendly.

    http://www.universetoday.com/127130/...egastructures/

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    Re: Alien megastructure?

    First, an observation:
    ow keep in mind, aliens are way down in the list of possibilities here. It’s almost certainly, for sure, probably not aliens. Seriously, every other possibility is a zillion times more likely than aliens. But there’s a remote, non-zero chance that it’s aliens, and their alien megastructures.

    [...]

    In just the last few months, the study of KIC 8462852 has gotten stranger. Astronomers looked back at old images of the star and found that it’s been slowly dimming over the last century. And this rules out the idea that a cloud of comets is blocking the light from the star. It’s still probably not aliens, but it’s definitely not comets.
    Right! And if the builder of said megastructure walked up and bit your wife on the ass, you'd probably say she did it, so you'd come home for lunch occasionally, and do the nasty.

    Maybe if we called them "Undocumented Life Forms" these guys wouldn't get so upset.

    Say what you will about religion, but they have no patent on Close-mindedness. Scientists can be blind to their own presumptions, too. Out there with the Jehovah's Witness, and the Shakers, in fact.
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    Ok.
    So we build a Dyson sphere. Gonna capture "every stray photon" from the sun. Cool! Remember that probe we sent to Mars? The one that gave Mars a new crater, because someone for got to do an inch/metric conversion in the landing equations?

    So, it gets built. Everyone heading the project is standing in the control room, to see the closing of the door. The Janitor, sweeping up, takes a look and says, "Uuuuhh guys? How come Earth is outside the sphere?"

    A more realistic concept is a Dyson Swarm, where you build a single solar power collection satellite. And then use its energy to manufacture more of these things until there’s a cloud of them orbiting the Sun, and you’ve got your greedy hands on every single stray photon.
    Ok, a little more practical.

    Imagine the future of humanity. We use more energy now than we did in the past. And in the future, we’ll want even more energy. Eventually we’ll use up all the energy on Earth, then we’ll figure out how to use up all the energy flowing out of the Sun. After that, we’ll use up all the energy in the entire Milky Way. Finally, we’ll use up all the energy within every single galaxy that we can get our hands on.

    And to do this, we’re going to want to build megastructures. Aliens will call them alien megastructures. So what kind of megastructures will we build to extract all the energy from the Sun?
    Hold on there, Bucko! At some point, don't you think the neighbors will complain? Oh wait... "There are no Aliens".

    But then...
    "Aliens will call them alien megastructures."

    Some questions:
    1. What if they don't "believe" in us, either?
    2. Should we start adding the prefix "human" to things we build?
    3. "Finally, we’ll use up all the energy within every single galaxy". Ummmm, to do what?

    Fred
    who wonders if anyone is going to ask, "Who are the Shakers?"
    "Life IS mystical! Its just that we're used to it." - Wolf, the movie
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    Re: Alien megastructure?

    Breakthrough Listen program set to monitor the strange flickering of Tabby’s Star.

    A RUSSIAN billionaire has joined forces with a space program at a US university in a bid to better understand the strange behaviour of a star 1500 light years away which has prompted speculation about the existence of a floating alien megastructure.

    Known as Tabby’s Star, or KIC 8462852 for the scientifically inclined, the strange pattern of light emitted from the star continues to leave scientists puzzled since it was discovered in September 2015.

    The star’s luminosity occasionally dips by about 20 per cent, a strange phenomena that has led to a number of theories, some more sensational than others.

    So the University of California Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen program which is funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and backed by Mark Zuckerberg and Stephen Hawking is going to look for an answer.

    The $US100 million Breakthrough Listen initiative was launched in 2015 by Mr Milner and is now set to point some of the world’s strongest telescopes at the confounding star in a bid to hopefully put the mystery to bed.

    “The Breakthrough Listen program has the most powerful SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial life Institute) equipment on the planet, and access to the largest telescopes on the planet,” said Andrew Siemion, the co-director of the initiative.

    “We can look at it with greater sensitivity and for a wider range of signal types than any other experiment in the world.”
    Using the 100-metre Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia, the team will observe KIC 8462852 and the surrounding universe for eight hours a night, three nights a week over the next two months in a quest to gain greater insight.

    One of the most favoured explanations for seemingly random light fluctuation is that a swarm of comet fragments is periodically blocking light from the star. Another very similar theory contends it could be the debris of a destroyed planet that is blocking the star’s rays, however such a theory struggles to explain the irregularity of the dimming.


    Another technically possible explanation that has been banded about — and gained much attention in the media — is the idea that an alien megastructure has been responsible for blocking the star’s light.

    It’s a notion that has its origins in an idea put forth by physicist Freeman Dyson who proposed that a massive orbiting array of solar collectors (which has become known as a Dyson structure) would be a perfectly rational thing for an alien society to build to meet its energy needs.

    However those in charge of the operation think it’s about a one in a billion chance that aliens are to blame for the star’s flickering.

    “I don’t think it’s very likely — a one in a billion chance or something like that — but nevertheless, we’re going to check it out,” said Dan Werthimer, a chief scientist at Berkeley SETI, based at the University of California Berkeley.

    Scientists at SETI have previously monitored the star.

    Its discovery was first reported in September 2015 by Tabetha Boyajian, hence why the star is referred to as Tabby’s star.
    While it is not uncommon for transiting planets to block the light from stars, the light emitted by KIC 8462852 often dims by more than 20 per cent for days at a time.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/sc...dfdd9b08b5b1e3
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    Re: Alien megastructure?

    Why Tabby’s star is the weirdest sun in the galaxy.

    Latest Article: 11/07/2017

    IF YOU believe science is demystifying the universe, consider Tabby’s star, widely hailed as the weirdest sun in the galaxy.

    “As far as I can tell,” MIT-trained astronomer Matt Muterspaugh said recently, “Every telescope that can look at it right now is looking at it right now.”

    Named after Tabetha Boyajian, an astrophysicist at Louisiana State University, the super-strange object located in the constellation Cygnus was unexpectedly discovered in 2009 in photographs taken by the powerful Kepler space telescope. Planet hunters, an online army of volunteer citizen-astronomers, were combing the photos for evidence of extraterrestrial, Earth-like worlds — so-called exoplanets.

    Out of more than 150,000 stars, this particular one caught their eye because of the occasional, pronounced, and inexplicable dips in its brightness. Every star, including our own sun, shines inconstantly, but typically the variabilities are subtle. Not so with this object — initially labelled KIC 8462852 — so the planet hunters promptly alerted a team of professional astronomers led by Boyajian, who back then was at Yale University.

    After exhaustively analysing the photographic evidence, she concluded the “peculiar dips” recorded by the Kepler telescope over a four-year period “defied classification.” The dips were erratic and sometimes shockingly deep. At first, Boyajian explains, Tabby’s brightness was steady. “But then it lost a fifth of its total flux [brightness], then nothing again, and then it had a huge collection of dips of varying shapes and depths.”

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    Other relatively prosaic explanations blame the sporadic occultations on, take your pick, asteroids, dust clouds, or planetesimals. Like the comet fragments scenario, any one of these possibilities could cause Tabby to look like a flickering light bulb.

    Penn State astronomer Jason Wright, who is working with Boyajian, has other ideas. Among what he calls “hypotheses with unclear plausibility” — far-fetched explanations of the head-scratching enigma that cannot be ruled out — is this one: “alien megastructures.” Picture massive, alien-made space stations, for instance, orbiting Tabby and eclipsing its starlight in dramatic and unpredictable ways. Needless to say, this is the scenario the popular media is eating up.

    Today, Boyajian’s team continues monitoring Tabby’s baffling dips and is no closer to a convincing explanation for them. Indeed, the mystery has so thoroughly and widely caught the public’s imagination that she created a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the research. For $25 or more, you can even help name the dips, as though they were hurricanes. The latest, mysterious sharp drop happened just weeks ago and on July 4 was ceremoniously named Celeste.

    One day, no doubt, Boyajian and her growing legion of supporters will solve the mystery of Tabby’s star. But, make no mistake, science will never rid our existence of mystery. To the contrary, science appears destined to widen and deepen it.

    The net effect is that the cosmos is now vastly more mysterious to us than when our ancestors first stared up at the heavens and wondered what was out there. Today, more than ever, we truly know how very little we know.

    http://www.news.com.au/technology/sc...19594bcc6764da
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