Alien megastructure? SETI in search of signals of intelligent life

Alien megastructure? SETI in search of signals of intelligent life

Having disturbed the public by saying that the NASA space telescope Kepler discovered a discrete signal emanating from the star KIC 8462852, the SETI Institute, with double energy, set about searching for a powerful radio antenna on a nearby star. This was done in the hope of finding any artificiality in signal transmission. Unfortunately (or not, depending on how you look at the discovery of an intelligent alien civilization living in the neighborhood), the first attempt did not bring anything significant. What happens: "the case is closed", there is no real alien megastructure around KIC 8462852? Well, not exactly, but failure reduces the chances of finding the signals of intelligent life to an insignificant amount. Without losing hope, however, we will discuss in the summary the results that SETI has (or does not have) today.

In September, astronomers and scientists published an article describing the "bizarre nature" of the transit signal caught by the Kepler telescope from the KIC 8462852 location area - informally referred to as "Tabby's Star".

The excitement began because Kepler began to fix periodic dips in the brightness of the star, as if the blackout was caused by an exoplanet passing in front of the star. As a rule, for small exoplanets, a drop in brightness is calculated by a few percent. But the registration of two alternating signals found around "Tabby's Star" put scientists into a dead end. The first transit signal reduced the star's brightness by 15 percent, and the second, similar to a train of many objects passing in front of the star for several weeks, darkened the surface by as much as 22 percent! The power of such natural multi-objects should be unprecedented. Researchers, on the example of the studied natural phenomena, ultimately suggested the possibility of the existence of a swarm of comets as the most likely culprit in the blackout. The neighboring star, they argued, may have destabilized these comets in the Tabby's Star's Oort cloud, a hypothetical region surrounding the star and containing a huge amount of ice bodies. Comets swarming around KIC 8462852 block its external glow.

This explanation is, of course, ideal for uncovering the origin of the signal, but during an interview with The Atlantic, astronomer Jason Wright, of the University of Pennsylvania, he also considered alternative research projects. He, like other astronomers who oppose the hasty conclusions about the brothers in mind found in space - after all, does not exclude the consideration of extreme options for explaining the emergence of an unprecedented transit signal from the depths of the galaxy.

So what, if not a comet, can be the cause of the mysterious transit signal? Considering the age of our Milky Way galaxy, intelligent life must exist. Perhaps there is a much more advanced civilization than ours, which has the ability to build huge solar energy collectors around the host star. This assumption does not contradict the Kardashev civilization of type II, which is capable of building huge superstructures around the star (as well as in the Dyson sphere) in order to accumulate a huge amount of energy. Perhaps the telescope recorded a transit signal from several huge solar collectors passing in front of a star? In fact, even a little ridiculous, to invent all sorts of structures built by a clever alien race, just on the basis of the fact that the star has faded several times. Moreover, it could not be exact proof that the aliens are now there. But as part of the “Tabby's Star” study and to maintain scientific interest, SETI scientists turned to their employees at Allen Telescope Array (ATA) to check this data again.

The ATA telescope is located a hundred miles north of San Francisco, California. It consists of four dozen 6-meter radio antennas. The ATA antennas were sent to Tabby's Star, and within two weeks were able to receive two radio signals. The first of them, with a frequency of one Hertz, can be represented as a carrier. The staff of the SETI Institute suggested that extraterrestrial civilizations could theoretically declare their presence using this frequency. The second signal, more broadband, may indicate the presence of interference to the signal radiation in the star system. Here you can apply a hypothetical method, according to which, such radiation can be used in the future to charge the energy of spacecraft. So if there is some artificial megastructure around this star, then we can assume that there are working engines of spacecraft that are charged with this energy.

The representative of the SETI Institute, a scientist Jerry Harp, expressed the opinion that the telescope had never received such relatively broadband signals before, and it was not even considered possible to investigate them. As a result of research in the first two weeks, the ATA did not detect any signals emanating from the star under study. Analysis of previous data did not provide clear evidence on the reception of any signal between the frequencies of 1 Hz and 10 GHz. This eliminates the possibility of directional signal transmission, exceeding today's general background ground energy. This finding can only indicate the limit of the limit of modern telescopes, to detect the most powerful signals. It remains to assume that if the hypothetical aliens have the energy necessary to create a huge structure around the star, then they certainly also have the energy necessary to generate sufficiently powerful beacons. But it is impossible to talk about intentional broadcasts until narrowband signals are received. If there is some activity around these structures, this could explain why there is interference from the star.

It is even possible that there are structures there that remained in orbit from the disappeared alien civilization. Perhaps this is a kind of monuments of past empires. In other words, scientists cannot speculate that these hypothetical aliens interfere with the signals, but, in any case, SETI research does not exclude such scenarios.

SETI astronomer Seth Shostak said that the history of astronomy indicates that every time researchers decide that they have found a new phenomenon that is related to the activities of aliens, without good reason, they were wrong. But despite this, it is likely that the strange behavior of this particular star is only due to natural phenomena, and not because of aliens. And it is more reasonable to believe in such a decision.

Reliable data give every reason to explain why the signal from KIC 8462852 is not created by aliens, but rather, on the contrary. But scientists need to collect even more data from other observatories that accept different signals for an accurate response. This is not a waste of time, when the results of tracking the signals of stars give, even the most minimal, the possibility of obtaining evidence of intellectual extraterrestrial life in our galaxy.

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