Response to Washington Post Article: âAlien megastructureâ(TM) continues to not be aliens in latest study
I responded to the WP directly, but here is the original composition which is a little longer than the 2000 character limit on WP submissions.
It is hard to put odds on whether Aliens are responsible for the odd light occlusions of KIC 8462852. The failure of the ATA to detect radio signals was a small blow as is this more recent LASER pulse detection failure. However, both pretty much have to rely on enormously strong signals being transmitted directly at us continuously (or at least with reasonably short rapidity) for us to detect anything.
Since Earth had no technological footprint 2800 years ago (the minimum turnaround time for the aliens to notice and respond) it is doubtful they would spend much effort to communicate with us.
If they are building truly gigantic structures it does seem likely there would be a lot of stray emissions, but 1400 light years is a vast distance to detect leakage radiation â" maybe they donâ(TM)t leak much (as time goes on technologies tend to become more efficient).
We really havenâ(TM)t trained our big guns on this system yet. China will be completing a 500 meter radio dish in 2016, I suspect this would be an excellent target for it to study. Sometime in the early 2020â(TM)s the SKA will be coming on line. If this behemoth detects nothing from KIC 8462852 I might be ready to throw in the towel.
As to the cometary theory currently in vogue, nothing really supports it strongly, it is just that the other natural hypothesis of planetary collisions was ruled out, leaving it the only natural theory standing. Most comets have enormous elliptical orbits or parabolic trajectories. The comet theory supposes a pass by an enormous comet in 2011 and then a swarm in 2013 (we missed opportunities in 2015 for detection due to one of Keplerâ(TM)s reactions wheel being out of service). If in 2017 we see another large occlusion event, then this will be the end of the comet theory. Also we will know if the occlusion is dust or gas. If not dust or gas â" then Aliens it will be.
As to this structure being a Dyson sphere â" this I doubt. Generating energy directly by fusion is probably trivial for any society even a few decades more than ours. Likely they would fuse hydrogen directly rather than create enormous structures to harvest it. If this is an alien structure I think it far more likely it is an enormous telescope of some sort. In any event Who knows what artifacts intellects thousands or millions of years older than us would construct or why.
As to whether this system is old enough to evolved intelligent life, we only have one example of how fast evolution works to create intelligent, technological capable life. Fast examples could occur far faster (we just have no way of knowing whether we are average, fast, or slow). This also assumes the system engineering would have to be by beings native to this system. If artificial, its creators could have come from virtually anywhere, and chosen this system based on criteria we donâ(TM)t have the intellectual capacity to comprehend (yet).
I for one will be on pins and needles until 2017 comes and goes. Of course there is also the mystery of Fast Radio Bursts
to ponder as well. I suspect this will be the decade we finally know we are not alone.