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Extraterrestrial Life Debunked?

Kosei Dohi, Astronomy Writer

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Extraterrestrial life has been a part of science fiction for many years. Alien conspiracists have gazed across stars to find evidence for alien life, and only a few signs of alien life are shown. KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby’s star, has been a source of speculation for a few years and has now been confirmed to not be extraterrestrial. In fact, the star’s source for irregularity is not an alien structure but is actually confirmed to be dust.

Tabby’s star has been a source of controversy for a few years now, due to its irregular behavior. Variable stars are quite common throughout the universe, but this star has had pulsations that have been extremely erratic. Because of this, many people have speculated this to be a source of extraterrestrial life. In fact, if these aliens existed, they would be capable of controlling their “sun” with a megastructure called a Dyson sphere. These theoretical structures are capable of extracting plenty of energy from their home star.

A few days ago, astronomers were able to pinpoint the star with multiwavelength telescopes, after they raised over $100,000 on a Kickstarter campaign. They observed the star right when it was dipping and discovered something quite interesting. Astronomers discovered how light from the star interacted with the “megastructure,” and it turns out that the light wasn’t opaque. In other words, the object around the star would not be solid and would have material similar to objects such as gas and dust. 

Different wavelengths have shown different intensities in infrared, optical, ultraviolet, and radio. An object such as a solid sphere would have similar dips in light within each wavelength, but Tabby’s star has different dips within each wavelength.  

The debunking of this star has left astronomers desperate; however, not all hope is lost. With the search for alien life, astronomers are looking forward to finding viruses and bacteria and space in the future.

 

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About the Writer
Kosei Dohi, Astronomy Blogger

Kosei Dohi ('21) is the Astronomy Blogger for The Echo. He is interested in astronomy and likes to play soccer in his free time. His favorite subject is...

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Extraterrestrial Life Debunked?