Brian Clegg gives his opinion on this week’s discovery of ‘alien megastructures’

airglow_lco_beletskyImage credit: Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Carnegie Las Campanas Observatory)

This week’s big news was a star identified by the Kepler Space Telescope which may harbour structures created by an advanced technological civilisation. I asked Brian Clegg, author of Exploring the Universe and Before the Big Bang for his thoughts on the matter:

We have a long history of reading too much into observations – not surprising really as we understand the world through patterns, and it’s all too easy to see patterns where they don’t exist. Sometimes that makes bogeymen under the bed, sometimes, a surprising observation in space, whether it’s a pyramid on Mars or an apparent artificial structure around a distant star. Occam’s razor says let’s assume it’s a collection of debris until we get any better evidence to the contrary. But it keeps the media happy.

For more detail, Brian recommended this article.

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2 comments

  1. Mikey Hemlok

    It absolutely makes sense to be skeptical – but the interesting point here is that the Kepler data is absolutely unlike any of its other observations, so whether it’s ‘alien megastructures’ or something completely natural is less important at this stage than is the opportunity to learn something potentially important about the universe…

  2. AndrewZ

    For a moment there I read the headline as “Brian Clough gives his opinion”.
    “Whatever it is, it’s not bigger than me…”

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