Remember that strange solar system that could have been home to an 'alien megastructure'? Well it turns out that the sensible theory that was supposed to disprove the 'alien megastructures' has now itself just been disproven.
The whole fiasco has stemmed from a completely normal star called KIC 8462852. The only problem was that this star wasn't behaving as it should have been, instead it was dimming in light in a way that frankly wasn't supposed to happen.
At first some researchers came up with the out-of-this-world theory that it was as a result of a giant 'alien megastructure' possibly even a 'Dyson's Sphere' that was harnessing the power of the star.
- 'Alien Megastructure' Solar System Spotted By Kepler Space Telescope Most Likely A Star Swarmed By Comets Say NASA
- Kepler's 'Alien Megastructure' Is Now The Focus Of SETI Researchers Looking For Extraterrestrial Life
- Kepler Space Telescope Spots 'Bizarre' Star Prompting SETI Experts To Believe They Have Found An 'Alien Megastructure'
- Professor Brian Cox Suggests 'Aliens' Could Use KIC Star System To Power Their Civilisation
This outlandish claim was soon replaced by a new theory courtesy of Massimo Marengo of Iowa State University, Ames. Using an infrared camera Marengo claimed that the dimming was in fact caused by a huge body of comets passing directly in front of the star thus causing the dimming.
Well now even that theory has been seemingly disproven by Dr. Bradley E. Schaefer, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Louisiana State University.
Dr Schaefer claims that the comet theory just doesn't hold up, arguing that for comets to be the reason there would need to be at least 648,000 giant comets (all with a diameter of 200km) and for all of them to pass in front of the star in the space of just a century.
Now as you can probably guess, that's highly unlikely.
The only problem is Schaefer doesn't yet have an alternative, so while we can now supposedly rule out 'alien megastructures' and huge swarms of comets we're now back to square one, which as Marengo points out, is extremely exciting.
"We may not know yet what's going on around this star," Marengo observed. "But that's what makes it so interesting."