schwit1 sends the latest news about KIC 8462852, the star that that led many to learn what a Dyson Sphere is. New Scientist reports: "The weirdest star in the cosmos just got a lot weirder. And yes, it might be aliens. Known as KIC 8462852, or Tabby's star, it has been baffling astronomers for the past few months after a team of researchers noticed its light seemed to be dipping in brightness in bizarre ways. Proposed explanations ranged from a cloud of comets to orbiting 'alien megastructures'. Now an analysis of historical observations reveals the star has been gradually dimming for over a century, leaving everyone scratching their heads as to the cause. Bradley Schaefer of Louisiana State University saw the same century-long dimming in his manual readings, and calculated that it would require 648,000 comets, each 200 kilometres wide, to have passed by the star — completely implausible, he says. 'The comet-family idea was reasonably put forth as the best of the proposals, even while acknowledging that they all were a poor lot,' he says. 'But now we have a refutation of the idea, and indeed, of all published ideas.' 'This presents some trouble for the comet hypothesis,' says Boyajian. 'We need more data through continuous monitoring to figure out what is going on.' What about those alien megastructures? Schafer is unconvinced. 'The alien-megastructure idea runs wrong with my new observations,' he says, as he thinks even advanced aliens wouldn't be able to build something capable of covering a fifth of a star in just a century. What's more, such an object should radiate light absorbed from the star as heat, but the infrared signal from Tabby's star appears normal, he says."
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