Mysterious light on a distant star could be a sign of alien civilization, some astronomers have claimed, stirring controversy among their peers. Not so fast, said NASA.
“The mysterious star, KIC 8462852, does have an odd light curve,” said Steve Howell, a US space agency scientist working on the Kepler space telescope’s planet-hunting mission, which launched in 2009 but lost its key orientation abilities in 2013.
“It does not look like a normal exoplanet or binary star light curve. However, I think that saying that it immediately is alien is a bit of a stretch,” Howell said.
The paper was published in October in a British journal called the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. “We’d never seen anything like this star,” Boyajian was quoted as saying in The Atlantic magazine. “It was really weird.”