That star's 'alien megastructure' is likely just a swarm of comets

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That star's 'alien megastructure' is likely just a swarm of comets

Occam's Razor apparently holds true everywhere, even in the farthest reaches of space. While researchers speculated that star KIC 8462852's mysterious dimming might be the result of alien megastructures, NASA is about to publish evidence supporting the theory that it's really just a swarm of comets. Based on the strange dimming and the moderate infrared light levels, you may be looking at a pack of cold comets on a "very long, eccentric" orbit. If so, the strange signatures over the years reflect different-size comets passing around the star.

Astronomers will still need more data before they can reach a conclusion. However, NASA is quick to note that the 'boring' answer is likely the correct one. Remember, scientists briefly thought that pulsars might have an alien origin -- it only took a bit more data for them to realize that there was a natural (if still interesting) explanation. Even if the star's neighbors amount to little more than packs of ice and dust, it's a friendly reminder that humanity still has a lot to learn about the cosmos.

[Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]

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