- The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy, The Atlantic
- Has Kepler Discovered an Alien Megastructure?, Discovery News
- Planet Hunters X. KIC 8462852 - Where's the Flux?, arXiv
- KIC 8462852, Wikipedia
The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy, The Atlantic, has posted a story about a weird star. Other news sources have also seized on The Atlantic's lead with more explicit alien stories.
Astronomers looking for exoplanets watch stars. Occasionally, a star might dim, suggesting that there's something like a planet in the way. Keep watching the star, and you can start guessing how many planets there are with what oribital periods based on the pattern. You can start guessing their sizes based on how dark the star gets (like smaller planets won't block as much light). Based on a planet's size and orbital period, along with what you know about the star, you can start guessing its mass, composition, etc. This can lead to news stories about new Earth-like exoplanets being found.
Astronomers have noticed that one star, KIC 8462852, has this luminosity time series:
Astronomers aren't sure since the grouping of them suggests that it's a lot of clustered objects orbiting the star together. And some folks think that this might be those alien megastructures other researchers were looking for.
Has Kepler Discovered an Alien Megastructure?, Discovery News, provides a more educated perspective. Planet Hunters X. KIC 8462852 - Where's the Flux?, arXiv, has a PDF from the researchers.