Breakthrough Listen Project Searches For ETs Near Alien Megastructure
Alien megastructure or flickering star?
The strange flickering star KIC 8462852 has captured the imagination of scientists and UFO believers alike, and now SETI researchers searching for extraterrestrial life will examine the alien sun to finally decipher the mystery.
If intelligent aliens are building a Dyson Sphere around Tabby’s Star, astronomers at Stephen Hawking’s Breakthrough Listen project intend to find them.
Using a $100 million grant from Yuri Milner and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, scientists at Berkeley’s SETI Research Center will use the world’s largest steerable radio telescope to examine the flickering star, director Andrew Siemion told Berkeley News.
“We’ve deployed a fantastic new SETI instrument that connects to that telescope, that can look at many gigahertz of bandwidth simultaneously and many, many billions of different radio channels all at the same time.”
For eight hours a night for three nights over the next two months, SETI researchers will look for signals around Tabby’s Star and try to determine why the alien sun keeps flickering.
Stephen Hawking’s Breakthrough Listen project was created last year with $100 million in funding for the next 10 years, SETI Research Center director Andrew Siemion told Berkeley News.
“The Breakthrough Listen program has the most powerful SETI equipment on the planet, and access to the largest telescopes on the planet. We can look at it with greater sensitivity and for a wider range of signal types than any other experiment in the world. “
The mystery of Tabby’s Star has been puzzling researchers for about a year now. Astronomers have recorded strange light fluctuations coming from the alien sun and an unexpected drop in luminosity suggesting something was blocking its light.
Scientists have suggested all sorts of theories for the phenomenon including a swarm of passing comets or a huge cloud of dust and debris while UFO aficionados support the theory of an alien megastructure.
They argue the strange light patterns could be explained by the presence of a Dyson Sphere extraterrestrials built around the alien sun so they could harness the star’s energy.
They mystery of the flickering star has astronomers around the world scratching their heads; everyone with a telescope has taken a crack at solving the mystery. Professional astronomers have studied the distant star using the Hubble Telescope and amateur scientists with the Planet Hunters project have examined data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.
So far, no one has been able to explain the mystery of the strangely dimming star. Most dimming stars scientists observe are explained by transiting planets passing in front of them and their light only one or two percent of their light is blocked.
In contrast, the light from Tabby’s Star is dimmed by 22 percent for days at a time and at irregular intervals, making it one of the strangest celestial objects astronomers have ever seen.
Chief Berkeley SETI scientist Dan Werthimer doesn’t think his research group will find aliens around Tabby’s Star, but he admits being curious about the strange dimming star, according to Gizmodo.
“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. But I think that ET, if it’s ever discovered, it might be something like that. It’ll be some bizarre thing that somebody finds by accident.”
The observation of Tabby’s Star begins Wednesday night, but the results won’t be known for a full month because it takes that long for the computers to decipher the massive amounts of data researchers expect to gather.
Do you think the SETI researchers will find an alien megastructure around Tabby’s Star?
[Featured Image by Jorge Saenz/AP Images]