This "Megastructure Star" Conspiracy Theory Suspects Dyson Spheres Of Dimming KIC 8462852
Although it might seem like the most bizarre thing in the universe right now is the 2016 presidential election, the universe is big enough that, statistically, there must be something weirder happening out there. And as it turns out, there is: The "megastructure star." Naturally, that means that a number of megastructure star conspiracy theories have taken the stage, because where science fails, there's always something else waiting to fill in the gaps. And I mean, let's face it: Astronomers say the star has been dimming for no reason that they con determine, and that's really, really weird.
First, let's cover what the scientists actually do know: A star referred to as KIC 8462852, which also goes by "Tabby's Star," was first noted to be dimming in 2011 by the Kepler space observatory. Kepler monitors star brightness because dips in brightness — or at least, what appear to be dips to us watching from Earth — often indicate that there are exoplanets orbiting a star. But the changes in brightness scientists observe in KIC 8462852 aren't consistent with exoplanets. In fact, they aren't consistent with any scientific explanation we currently know about.
While researchers try to explore possible theories, including things like debris fields blocking the view or the star pulling multiple comets into its gravity, some of the non-scientists among us have come up with other possibilities — ones that require a good deal less proof and a good deal more aliens.
The basic theory seems to be that it isn't a debris field or a cluster of comets blocking the view of KIC 8462852 from Earth, causing its light to appear to dim and flicker, but rather an alien megastructure around the star, concealing it from view. Some people even get pretty elaborate in their theorizing. And it's this theory that gives the star its other nickname: The alien megastructure star.
So why would aliens build a giant megastructure around a star? After all, that would be a major undertaking, given how big stars are. But the answer is pretty simple, according to the theory: For energy.
That's right: The theory states that aliens are draining KIC 8462852 for its energy in order to use that energy to power their civilization, killing the star in the process. So maybe there's a megastructure making the star seem to dim — or maybe it's actually dimming.
This actually all sounds fairly reasonable as far as alien conspiracy theories go. In fact, the structure people hypothesize the aliens might be using, the Dyson Sphere, is a hypothetical construct developed by researchers on Earth. We don't have the technology to build one (yet), but the idea that one could be being built around KIC 8462852 isn't totally far-fetched.
Plus, I am also 100 percent certain humans would also do that if we had the capability to build a Dyson Sphere or some other "star draining" technology. But then again, I don't think humans, deep down inside, actually want to encounter another species like ourselves; we're pretty destructive, and when you think of two destructive species getting together? Well, the whole thing gets kind of scary.
Whatever's going on with KIC 8462852, let's hope they figure it out before the alien warships arrive.