Are aliens building a huge energy-generating megastructure around a weirdly dimming star? That way-out hypothesis has suffered another blow, thanks to a study that draws upon infrared as well as ultraviolet observations.
The star, known as KIC 8462852 or Tabby’s Star, first came to attention two years ago when citizen scientists sifting through data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope noticed some unusually drastic dips in its brightness. The star’s nickname comes from Tabetha “Tabby” Boyajian, the Yale astronomer who oversaw those observations.
Another astronomer, Penn State’s Jason Wright, mused that the data could be explained by the construction of a huge orbital structure known as a Dyson sphere — although he cautioned that “aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider.”