Science/Tech

Boyajian’s Star Mystery Solved: What Scientists Found Upon Analysing ‘Alien Megastructure’

Researchers have released the findings in the latest study of the mysterious star KIC 8462852 that aimed to find potential signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. 

A team at the University of California, Berkeley SETI Research Center analyzed the laser emissions of KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby's star or Boyajian's star, that many believed to be produced by aliens, Science Alert reported Wednesday

Since its discovery more than three years ago, Boyajian's star has been dubbed an "alien megastructure star" due to the mystery it brought to the scientific community. It dims and shines at random patterns unlike other stars. 

Experts initially believed that a large alien structure was causing the unnatural fluctuations of Boyajian's star. To further understand the strange space body the UC Berkeley team looked at Boyajian’s star from a different angle. 

The researchers analyzed 177 high-resolution spectra of the star to identify potential laser signals from extraterrestrial civilizations. With data from Lick Observatory's Automated Planet Finder telescope, the team discovered that the star has been emitting more than 24 megawatts of continuous laser light. 

Such power meets the limit that is detectable by the telescope at the distance of Boyajian's star. The UC Berkeley team thought that the lasers were intentionally released in such power to be seen from Earth. 

However, after another set of data from the APF telescope was analyzed, the team determined the lasers were caused by “cosmic ray hits, stellar emission lines or atmospheric airglow emission lines."

"False positives resulting from cosmic ray events were eliminated through a secondary multi-step analysis process," the researchers said in a reported published on arXiv.

It means no alien life may have been around Boyajian's star that’s trying to send signals to Earth after all. The UC Berkeley team’s latest effort adds to the number of studies that debunked the presence of extraterrestrial beings near the star. 

Previous analyses suggested that some wavelengths of light were blocked potentially by a ringed planet passing in front of the star, a swarm of comets or a space junk. Other analyses show Boyajian's star might have been swallowing a planet.

But the recent study of laser signals from Boyajian's star could assist future studies of other space objects using the Automated Planet Finder telescope to find extraterrestrial intelligence.

Milky Way Researchers from University of California, Berkeley examined the strange laser signals from KIC 8462852 to find potential extraterrestrial civilizations. Pictured: This long exposure taken late on Nov. 22, 2017 shows the Orion Nebula (C), a diffuse nebula situated in the Milky Way, seen from Wundwin, near the Myanmar city of Mandalay. Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images

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