New discoveries surrounding drastic changes in light around a strange-looking star 1,500 light-years away have led astronomers to revive a theory that a giant "alien megastructure" may be the culprit.
Investigations by Louisiana State University astronomer Bradley Schaefer have found data on the irregular light changes of the huge star, KIC8462852, data back as far as 1890 at Harvard University, New Scientist reports.
The abrupt changes have been charted by astronomers for many years using NASA's Kepler space telescope. Sometimes, the star would lose as much as 20 percent of its brightness — and no obvious pattern in the changes could be discerned.
Generally, many stars experience temporary fluctuations in brightness, increasing and decreasing in luminosity over time, but KIC8462852's changes were severe by comparison, according to Business Insider.
In his research, Schaefer analyzed more than 1,200 measurements of the star's brightness taken from 1890 through 1989.
He concluded that the dimming of KIC8462852 has been going on for more than 100 years, publishing his findings in the online preprint server arXiv.org.
In his paper, Schafer attributed the light changes to a single, physical mechanism that's undergoing some kind of ongoing change. It's called a "Dyson sphere," Tech Insider reports.
"The century-long dimming and the day-long dips are both just extreme ends of a spectrum of timescales for unique dimming events, so by Ockham's Razor, all this is produced by one physical mechanism," Schaefer said in the paper. "This one mechanism does not appear as any isolated catastrophic event in the last century, but rather must be some ongoing process with continuous effects."
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