On the mysterious star “Tabby” will look for intelligent aliens


A team of astronomers is going to investigate the mysterious star KIC 8462852, or simply “Tabby”, the presence in her system of highly developed xenosauridae. Scientists believe that the unusual phenomenon of the attenuation of the star can be associated with the activity of representatives of intelligent alien life.

Astronomers for several years have been debates regarding the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial life on the planets orbiting the star KIC 8462852 (aka star Tabby or, more rarely, the star Boyajian). This star located in the constellation Cygnus, and is separated from the Sun by 1488 light years. Now the researchers intend to study the star and its surroundings using the latest equipment in the hope that it will shed light on the mysterious anomaly of the light and give answers to some questions of interest to scientists.

The phenomenon Tabby is as follows: in September 2015, several astronomers published the results of studies of changes in the luminosity of the star, which attracted the attention of the world media. Registration of such changes was carried out by the space Observatory Kepler, in the framework of the search for exoplanets. Usually due to the passage of planet in front of the star its light pales slightly for a short time that is repeated at regular intervals. However, the star KIC 8462852 was the exception: its luminosity fell by up to 22 percent, and such decline was observed for various lengths of time (from 5 to 80 days), which led to the emergence of a large number of hypotheses. The bizarre nature of the light curves of this star were spotted by Planet Hunters volunteers — crowdsourcing project to search for exoplanets in Kepler data, some of which have become co-authors of the final article describing the phenomenon.

Even a planet the size of Jupiter would block only a small part of the world, primarily because of the enormous difference in size, which typically is observed between the star and revolving around the planets. Currently, the most plausible explanation is a group of very large comets, but scientists say that in this case, the star comes too little heat and infrared radiation. Astronomer Jason Wright as a joke suggested that it might be a giant structure created by aliens, but even in this case, the lack of additional IR radiation raises serious questions. Anyway, looking for any signals or other signs of advanced xenocephalites currently not successful.

But scientists have decided to move on. Tabetha Boyajian, discoverer of stars, has teamed up with Breakthrough Listen project (BLP) in order to explore the KIC 8462852 and its system for the presence of radio waves. BLP is the brainchild of Silicon valley, which took about $100 million from the pocket of the entrepreneur Yuri Milner. The project is connected with several radio telescopes around the globe, including the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia, the Parkes Observatory in Australia and FAST, the huge Chinese telescope. Team Milner has developed a technology that covers all telescopes and can simultaneously scan billions of different channels to search for patterns, indicating the presence of a reasonable (in our view) life.

Starting today, Began, Wright and astronomer Andrew Simion will use the Green Bank telescope in order to study the Tabby. They will observe the star for 8 hours for three nights over the next two months, but here is the analysis of huge amount of incoming information is no less than a month. The team intends to scan the range of 1-12 GHz, which covers frequencies in which exercise their activity in mobile phones, satellite TV and other technologies. According to the research team, “the scanning to be quite powerful, its effectiveness can be compared with a powerful radar here on Earth.” Of course, this works only if the alleged aliens are using radio signals as a means of information transfer. Unfortunately, neither definitively prove nor disprove conclusively the existence of alien life, this study can not — probability range is such that we can simply look in the wrong place at the wrong time and the wrong wavelengths or are not the same templates. While scientists can’t figure out what causes the unusual fading stars, aliens is just one of the hypotheses that we have.

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