The Internet has been alight with speculation about the existence of alien megastructures since the publication of a paper about the star KIC 8462852 in early September. The star is one of more than 150,000 being monitored by the Kepler Space Telescope in the hopes of finding one orbited by an Earth-like planet.
Each year, the light from the stars in the area near the constellations Cygnus and Lyra generate more than 2.5 billion data points that are analyzed to look for changes in the strength of the light, or dips, because dips may indicate the movement of planetary systems in front of stars, especially if they occur at regular intervals.
The amount of data generated by Kepler’s observations cannot be solely analyzed by computer. Humans are needed to look for oddities and information that algorithms might miss. For the Kepler mission, NASA has turned to volunteer citizen scientists who are part of the Zooniverse project. Some of these volunteers examined the data and noticed that the light from KIC 8462852 was dipping by about 20% at intervals. Astronomers then reviewed
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