“Otherwise we are trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t exist with a system which doesn’t work.” -Philip K. Dick

When it comes to the now famous “Alien Megastructures” star, the observations didn’t add up. There were huge, irregular flux dips, but not a hint of infrared radiation that would indicate a circumstellar disk. Infrared radiation was the marker for a whole slew of indicators — planetary collision debris, warped, thick disks, cometary swarms — that could be the cause of such spectacular dips.

Image credit: Tabby Boyajian and her team of PlanetHunters, via http://sites.psu.edu/astrowright/2015/10/15/kic-8462852wheres-the-flux/.

Image credit: Tabby Boyajian and her team of PlanetHunters, via http://sites.psu.edu/astrowright/2015/10/15/kic-8462852wheres-the-flux/.

Yet there are increasingly more and more stars that show these huge, irregular flux dips, and they all have a few things in common. They’re all young stars, they all emit infrared radiation, they all have circumstellar disks and they all show a variety of disk orientations with respect to our line-of-sight. Is it possible, just as we can’t see Saturn’s rings when they’re edge-on, that this mysterious star’s disk is edge-on, and that’s why we can’t see its infrared flux?

Artist’s conception of the extrasolar ring system circling the young giant planet or brown dwarf J1407b. Image credit: Ron Miller.

Artist’s conception of the extrasolar ring system circling the young giant planet or brown dwarf J1407b. Image credit: Ron Miller.

Go get the whole story on why alien megastructures are out, and a circumstellar disk, with either a warped inner disk or eccentric, cometary-like debris, is in!

Comments

  1. #1 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    August 31, 2016

    Somehow, I feel any alien society would not usurp their planets resources to capture their suns energy. There would not be enough planet left after completion, methinks.

  2. #2 eric
    August 31, 2016

    @1: yeah, no truly intelligent species would poison/destroy its own long-term ecosystem for some comparatively short-term gain. Why, they’d have to be crazy to do that! 😉

  3. #3 See Noevo
    August 31, 2016

    Ethan,
    Does someone besides you create the title for your articles? Maybe someone who doesn’t read your articles?

    I don’t see how the “Debunks” in your title –
    A Young, Dusty, Disk-Bearing Star Debunks ‘Alien Megastructures’ Theory –
    concords with the body of your article, which includes

    “So does this mean it’s got to be aliens? *Maybe.*”

    “… perhaps a megastructure *is* being built, and it’s getting more and more complete.”

    “But there’s another explanation that *could* work, and it’s much more subtle.”

    “… What’s more likely… aliens, or that nature has conspired to make this star’s disk difficult to see?
    *The jury’s still out*…”
    …………….
    Who writes your titles?

  4. #4 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    August 31, 2016

    Heh, heh, heh ….. good one, Eric.

  5. #5 Narad
    August 31, 2016

    Who writes your titles? I feel compelled to seek fresh attention, given that my latest efforts have demonstrated that I run like hell from demonstrably making a fool of myself.

    P.S. I am not a troll, and if anyone suggests otherwise, I will go whine at Breitbump, so govern yourself accordingly.

    FTFY. What’s truly precious is your abysmally pathetic avoidance/plagiarism combo here.

  6. #6 dean
    United States
    September 1, 2016

    It’s almost as though sn is participating in his own special form of science denial based Bulwer-Lytton writing competition.

  7. #7 Denier
    United States
    September 1, 2016

    @PJ #1

    Somehow, I feel any alien society would not usurp their planets resources to capture their suns energy.

    If I were God-Emperor of a space faring race, I would. I wouldn’t do it on my home planet or in any system I found useful, but if you wanted to build a monument to yourself I can’t think of a better one.

    Build a rotating structure around a star that had openings that translated to your name. Your race could be dead a billion years or more and any new intelligent life anywhere in the galaxy with a big enough telescope would see your monument.

    You couldn’t build a radio that lasted for even 1% of that and even if you did the noise of the universe would drown it out over all but the shortest distances and it relies on the recipient decoding it. No. Way easier and more effective to build a monument beacon out of a star.

    This star is almost certainly something natural but it would be beyond hilarious if the light pulses coming from the beacon star translated to the last name of some alien Donald Trump.

  8. #8 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    September 1, 2016

    How big is the star you wish to use? How far off the solar surface do you intend to start your structure? What impact is shrouding that star going to have on the natural cycle of it ?
    All a bit of a pipe-dream, don’t you think ?
    😉

  9. #9 Denier
    United States
    September 1, 2016

    To satisfy my ego it will be tough to walk away from an Class O monster but I worry they don’t last long enough. Red Dwarfs last forever but no one sees them. I may be biased but a G-type sounds like a good mix between visibility and long life. Let’s go with that.

  10. #10 Wow
    September 5, 2016

    “P.S. I am not a troll, and if anyone suggests otherwise, I will go whine at Breitbump, so govern yourself accordingly.”

    You ARE a troll, and you’d go to breibart and whine there ANYWAY.

    You’re like ISIS claiming that if the west doesn’t release the prisoners they demand, they’d be killing the hostages.

  11. #11 Vicki
    September 8, 2016

    I’ve read some science fiction, including Vernor Vinge’s A Deepness in the Sky, where a powerful space-faring race builds something like that specifically to attract the attention of other intelligent beings. Not “My name is Ozymandias” but “if you are also a curious intelligent species, come take a look.” (In one of the books, it’s not clear whether the strange thing was built by a very powerful intelligent species, or if they found it and set up a station to see who/what else came along to look.)

    In both of the stories I am remembering, the discussion includes “this is beyond any physics we know of, something interesting and weird is going on there.”

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