Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

News About Tabby's Star

Late last week, astronomers around the world prepared to work through the weekend observing one of the most enigmatic stars known to humanity: KIC 8462852, better known as Tabby's Star, Boyajian's Star or the "alien megastructures star." Amateur and pro star watchers trained telescopes on the star some 1,400 light-years away, and now we're able to get an early look at those observations and take a few tiny, tentative steps toward solving the mystery of this very weird star.

The alert went out on Friday that the odd dips in the brightness of the star first discovered in Kepler data via a crowdsourced effort were happening once again -- these dips have yet to be explained, giving rise to all sorts of theories, including far-out ideas like huge megastructures built by an advanced alien civilization.
Meanwhile, telescopes around the world will continue to keep a close eye on this very weird star, including the SETI Institute's Allen Telescope Array, which continues to listen for signs of intelligent life from Boyajian's star. So far, any aliens that might be building a massive Dyson sphere around the star seem to be doing their work with their radios turned off, because SETI researchers have yet to pick up signs of life from the star.
I wouldn't put too much stock in a lack of a detectable signal. Maybe Eck! might chime in, but it would seem to me that a civilization so advanced as to build such structures also might have a communications system that is beyond our ken. I suspect that a person listening into a digital broadcast in the 1930s would hear what would appear to be random noise. It might be a point of curiosity that it was on a more-or-less discrete frequency, but it would still appear to be noise.

Of all of the possible explanations that I've read, something like a ringworld or a Dyson's sphere would be the least probable. But the others alternatives (clouds of comets or interstellar dust) have also not been shown to be much more than probable.

Fascinating stuff, though.


Nangleator said...

I would be so happy if the SETI people would find a real transmission from an alien civilization. Preferably one that has a fundamentalist religion they demand we adopt. A religion with dietary restrictions and a comprehensive list of taboos, while the biology and appearance of these people is as hideous and ugly as can be.

THAT way, all the fear and hatred that people want to have will have a harmless target.

Lightspeed will keep us safe from each other, and the haters and nutjobs can rail all they want to against an unreachable enemy. It would be the greatest discovery of all time.

Thomas Ten Bears said...

That's not a moon ...

We did invite them to Come Eat!

Spud said...

A vehicle on a coarse directly toward us , might in fact at times block line of sight back to their sun...
The Borg ship might already be on its way.

CenterPuke88 said...

The lack of communications could easily be a play on your note. By the time they reach the level to build massive structures (like a Dyson sphere), their communications will likely be beyond our detraction. Therefore, it's our caveman ancestors fault for not listening for radio waves back then. By the time we listened for them, the (understandable/detectable) signals would have passed us.

Nangleator said...

Spud, yes, if it was close and big. Like a solar sail being adjusted because they just got some fresh info on the planets of the Sol system.

Eck! said...

I'll take the unsane road.

Assume they are 900 years more advanced, they are 1400 Light Years away. Their first radio noise will arrive about 400 years from now. Otherwise put if they are squawking for us to hear tomorrow they had to start some 1400 years ago (give ot take a hundred).

Anything is probable, nothing is assured.


Comrade Misfit said...

What we don't know, of course, is what the mean time it takes for a civilization to go from developing radio to space travel.

Comrade Misfit said...

Or there is a possibility that their last detectable radio signals passed by us when we were still riding horses and killing each other with swords and spears.