We don’t know that we’re not alone in the universe, but we do know that we’re not alone when it comes to KIC 8462852. Okay, firstly, we need to work out a less awkward way to phrase that we haven’t proved the existence of aliens, and secondly, can we get a snappier name for a star? You may remember some excitement a while back when it was suggested that the dimming of light around the star in a galaxy far, far away (1,500 light years) was caused by “an alien megastructure.” Well, you don’t need to make any WELCOME TO EARTH signs anytime soon. The Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) International feels that the chances of finding an alien civilization around KIC 8462852 are highly slim. Sorry, Jeff Goldblum.
SETI’s Doug Vakoch says that “the hypothesis of an alien megastructure around KIC 8462852 is rapidly crumbling apart.” The dimming of light emission is probably caused by passing comets. Vakoch did use the occasion, though, to point out that the universe is really, really big and astronomers need all the help they can get in mapping it. “If some day we really detect a signal from an extraterrestrial civilization, we need to be ready to follow up at observatories around the world, as quickly as possible.”