Not long ago, astronomers spotted a potential “alien megastructure” near KIC 8462852, a star approximately 1,500 light-years from Earth. Now we’re officially looking for intelligent life out there.
Astronomers have now kicked off a search with the Allen Telescope Array (ATA), a system of radio dishes in California, to see if they can pick up any potential signals the might prove there’s something more than just regular ol’ space stuff out there. The buzz started when NASA's Kepler space telescope noted the star dimming in ways that make no sense. Every conceivable reason has been considered (dust cloud, etc.), but none seem to work.
The two working theories: A swarm of comets are heading toward KIC 8462852 and causing the weird dimming effect, or it’s a massive structure built by aliens using the sun for … something (orbiting solar panels around it, etc.). Those are obviously two insanely different options (with the second one being crazy awesome), but according to researchers, they’re pretty much the only two things that could explain the star’s actions.
Though we can hold out hope we’ll pick up some interstellar rock ’n roll or old Single Female Lawyer episodes, SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak noted everyone should “moderate their enthusiasm,” since the odds are low that we’ll actually find an alien civilization kicking around out there.
But hey, you never know until you look.