If aliens are the cause of the strange dimming of ‘Tabby’ Star,’ they are not using lasers to do it

An alien megastructure like a Dyson sphere does not seem to be caused by the strange dimming of one of the strangest stars in our milky way, Tabby’s star.
(dottedhippo/iStock/Getty Images)

The evidence for aliens around one of the strangest stars in our galaxy Boyajian the star is not looking promising. The star is unusual dimming events have garnered some bizarre theories: One of them speculates that an alien megastructure is responsible for the slight deviations.

But a new study to search for signs of extraterrestrial beings is not enabled any evidence to back up that theory.

Such as an alien civilization, in a starlight-blocking of the megastructure, it would be able to communicate with the help of lasers. With that in mind, David Lipman, a bachelor’s degree at Princeton University, and to work together astronomers looked for signatures of lasers in the light of Boyajian star, largely using publicly available data. The group found no evidence of even low-power lasers — that even our technologically young civilization could conceivably manage, they write in their study, which was accepted for publication in the journal Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. [Greetings, Earthlings! 8 Ways Aliens Can Contact Us]

“Although our result was negative, there is still a lot to be learned by the creation and application of this algorithm, that can be used with other stars,” Lipman, lead author and a bachelor’s degree at Princeton University, told Science. “It speaks to how much you can do with publicly available data.”

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Find Tabby’s star

In 2016, astronomer Tabetha Boyajian announced the discovery of the strange behaviour from KIC 8462852, a star of 1600 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. The star, later renamed Boyajian the stars (or Tabby’s star), exhibited odd dips in the light, for the first time, noticed by the citizen scientists as part of the Planet Hunters project, and later analyzed by Boyajian. Usually a star, periodic changes in brightness caused by orbiting planets, or is the result of pulsations in the stellar atmosphere. In the case of Boyajian the stars, though, the dimming of the light was irregular and unpredictable. Scientists could not figure out what had happened.

Some even get me a alien megastructure was regularly blocking of the light; thus, the new research offers a fresh look at the possibility of an extraterrestrial source.

“By carefully searching for this star for laser emission, we test the scenario of the question of whether the brightness variations are due to each type of artificial structure around the star, such as a Dyson sphere,” co-author Howard Isaacson, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley, told Science. “If the brightness variations were indeed due to an artificial structure around the star, then it is possible that the creatures that the structure to communicate, using optical lasers.”

Using data from the Automated Planet Finder Telescope at the Lick Observatory in California, the study, the researchers developed a computer algorithm to search in the starlight for light that would come from a laser beam. Given the star away, they should have been able to get a signal driven by a 24-megawatt or larger, with a laser.

Scientists are developing lasers since the 1960s. Since that time, lasers have made that produces a billion times more watts — but only for one trillionth of 1 second. Astronomers also shine lasers into the space, to help telescopes, but these lasers are only about 10 watts, and all the aliens would have to be within about 10 light years from the Earth to observe the light.

Finding an answer

Since the first discovery, Boyajian and her staff continue to keep up at the stars. In particular, they have noticed that the dimming happens different for the different colors of light, which means that the dimming can not be caused by a solid object, such as planets or alien megastructures. They think instead that a cloud of dust is in the way of the stars is the light.

“We are trying to figure out what kind of material is the passage of the stars, or it could be within the star or around the star,” Boyajian told Live Science. “We are still holding on to straws as to what those [physical scenario] would be.”

The new research was a part of the Breakthrough Listening initiative, scan the Milky way and the nearby galaxies with radio and optical-light with the goal of finding extraterrestrial life. The scientists hope to continue the search around other stars by applying the algorithm that they used for the Boyajian the stars to others around our milky way galaxy.

As for Boyajian the stars, even if it isn’t aliens, “It is going to be something very interesting, and something new. Even though it has given us for our money, so to speak, it will be worth it in the long term,” Boyajian said.

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Originally published on Live Science.

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