What’s happening at Star KIC 8462852?

Kepler-planetary-disk-NASA

KIC 8462852 is an F-type main-sequence star located in the constellation Cygnus approximately 454 parsecs (1,480 ly) from Earth. In September 2015, several astronomers published a paper, as part of the Planet Hunters project, analyzing the unusual light fluctuations of the star as measured by the Kepler space telescope, which observes changes in the brightness of distant orbiting stars in order to detect exoplanets.

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The star’s large irregular changes in brightness are consistent with a large mass (or many small masses together) orbiting the star in “tight formation”. Several hypotheses have been proposed to explain the star’s unusual light profile. Researchers currently think a possible explanation for the star’s odd reduction in light may be a result of disintegrated comets orbiting the star elliptically.

The star received intense media attention in October 2015 over speculation that its unusual light curve could be signs of activity associated with intelligent extraterrestrial life.

In addition, Wright has speculated that the objects eclipsing the star could be parts of a megastructure made by an alien civilization, such as a Dyson swarm, a hypothetical structure that an advanced civilization might build around a star to intercept some of the star’s light for its energy needs.

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