Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Search for Alien Megastructures

You guys might remember the huge internet explosion about alien megastructes back in 2015 when scientists suggested the unusual dimming patterns of a distant star, KIC 8462852, may be due to alien megastructures or Dyson Spheres hypothisized by physacist Freeman Dyson in 1960. Dyson Spheres or alien megastructures are hypothetical massive structures built around a star to harvest its energy, sounds awesome right? Well the search for alien megadtructures has continued since the excitement in 2015 and along with it, the observation of KIC 8462852. Perhaps the main argument against the dimming patterns of KIC 8462852 being due to an alien megastructure is the lack of infrared radiation detected from the star. If there was a massive alien structure absorbing the star's energy it would give off more energy than the star alone. Hope is not lost in the search for alien megastructures though; physicist Zaza Osmanov pointed out it would be better to build one of these energy-harvesting megastructures around the reminants of the dead stellar heart of a once giant star, a pulsar. Pulsars radiate their energy in narrow beams akin to the beams of a light house, which would enable extraterrestrials to build ring-like structures to harvest the energy as opposed to something that would encapsulate an entire star. Pulsars may be the best possibility to investigate in our search for alien megastructures.

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