Dimming Lights From Star KIC 8462852 Sends Scientists On Search For Alien Life In Space

Posted: Oct 21 2015, 6:48am CDT | by , Updated: Oct 21 2015, 6:52am CDT, in News | Latest Science News

The Allen Telescope Array
Photo credit: SETI Institute

Space scientists are training the Allen Telescope Array (ATA) to scan for possible signs of life, or rather communication signals from aliens that may inhabit the star KIC 8462852, a star that is 1,500 light-years away from the Earth.

Astronomers at NASA were galvanized into searching for evidence of space life again after the Kepler space telescope found that the star KIC 8462852 keep on dimming a number of times within the past few years, reports Space.com.

Although scientists consider the possibility that the dimming signals may have been caused by a planet moving across the face of the star, or a large cloud of dust passing over it – top scientists ruled out these possibilities, saying the signals are too consistent to be wished away.

Meanwhile, further hypothesis suggest that a group of comets may actually have been moving toward the prize star following a gravitational pull, while another school of thought thinks the signal may have been generated by large structures built by an alien civilization.

Whatever it is that is creating the signals, Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI Institute) in Mountain View, California, maintains "We are looking at it with the Allen Telescope Array."

It is possible Kepler picked up signals that can be likened to pulsars – a degenerate neutron star that is small and extremely dense, it rotates very fast and emits regular pulses of polarized radiation. Space instruments picked up on these pulses, and the pulses come at frequent and regular intervals because the pulsars keep on rotating.

But astronomers are sure the signals coming from star KIC 8462852 are not coming from pulsars. And where it happens that ATA and other instruments fail to prove alien intelligence on the star, scientists are still not giving up yet because it may mean the aliens or life-forms do not emit signals that our instruments can detect.

There are billions of planets in the Milky Way and Shostak and his team believes a few of them might support life in some form. "It almost doesn’t matter where you point your telescope, because there are planets everywhere," he said. "If there's somebody out there, there are going to be so many of them out there that I do think there's a chance."

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/52" rel="author">Charles I. Omedo</a>
Charles is covering the latest discoveries in science and health as well as new developments in technology. He is the Chief Editor or Intel-News.




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