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Kickstarter Funds Scientists 'Alien Megastructure' Campaign to Observe A Star's Mysterious Blips

Jun 21, 2016 12:30 AM EDT
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The star KIC 8462852 has been the target of attention of some scientists and astronomers as the star weirdly dims by as much as 20 percent on some occasions. This prompted a group of researchers from Yale  to open a Kickstarter ad to fund an "Alien Megastructure" campaign to observe the unusual behavior of the star.

So far, there is still no scientific explanation as to why the star dims and brightens again in a cycle. The mysterious blips can now be fully observed as the Kickstarter campaign managed to raise $100,000 for the Alien Megastructure project. Yale astrophysicists Tabetha Boyajian instigated the Kickstart project to pay for the telescope fee while conducting the research on the KIC 8462852 star and its mysterious luminance, according to Popular Science.

Before the crowdsourcing campaign, the volunteers from the Planet Hunters citizen-science program discovered something odd about the KIC 8462852 using the data from NASA's Kepler telescope. KIC 8462852 is a star slightly hotter than the Earth's star. Boyajian and other astronomers call this star as the "most mysterious star in our galaxy."

The star now dubbed as "Tabby's Star," ignited the theory that it might have been housing alien life where an alien megastructure harvests the sun's energy to power alien civilization.

But the Yale astrophysicist is firm in finding out the truth about the mysterious behavior of KIC 8462852.

"Comets are currently the best natural explanation. That said, 'best' does not necessarily mean 'good," Boyajian said in an interview with Space.com. "It's exciting when you realize that you are working on something new and unusual, but also, at the same time, extremely frustrating," Boyajian added.

Boyajian said that the Kickstarter campaign was initiated to raise $100,000 to fund the research and the goal was met just before the crowdfunding ended on June 17.

The research is currently being conducted using the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) and is expected to give answers on whether or not an alien megastructure exists on KIC 8462852 star.

 

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