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Thursday, October 15, 2015

How's this for a headline from a reputable mainstream source of science information: "Has Kepler Discovered an Alien Megastructure? "

How's this for a headline from a reputable mainstream source of science information: "Has Kepler Discovered an Alien Megastructure? "

All of this from DISCOVERY: 

A star, named KIC 8462852, has been found with a highly curious transit signal. In a paper submitted to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, astronomers, including citizen scientists from the Planet Hunters crowdsourcing program, report: “Over the duration of the Kepler mission, KIC 8462852 was observed to undergo irregularly shaped, aperiodic dips in flux down to below the 20 percent level.”

The research paper is thorough, describing the phenomenon, pointing out that this star is unique - we’ve seen nothing like it. Kepler has collected data on this star steadily for four years. It’s not instrumental error. Kepler isn’t seeing things; the signal is real.

“We’d never seen anything like this star,” Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoctorate researcher at Yale University and lead author, told The Atlantic. “It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.”

‘Alien megastructure’ sounds like a headline purely meant to stir up interest.. And I am interested.

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