Scientists Identify Seven Star Systems That May Be Hosting Alien Megastructures

Scientists Identify Seven Star Systems That May Be Hosting Alien Megastructures

So you’re telling me there’s a chance?

Dyson Near

Astronomers have identified seven star systems in our galaxy that could potentially host a Dyson sphere — a hypothetical megastructure an alien civilization could build around a star or black hole to capture most of its power in the form of radiation.

The concept, first proposed by theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson in 1960, could take on a number of different shapes, from giant cage structures to ring shells to constellations of mirrors.

Of course, it’s an entirely theoretical idea. After all, we haven’t even discovered the existence of extraterrestrial life, let alone an intelligent alien civilization.

But scientists do suspect it’s still possible — and tantalizingly, if these megastructures do exist, they should be visible to us due to the tremendous amount of infrared radiation being released by such a structure as the star heats it up.

Seven Dwarfs

In a recent study published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a team of researchers created a computer program to hunt for “infrared excess emissions” (IEEs) in our galaxy.

They created a list of seven strong candidates that may be hosting Dyson spheres by analyzing observations from the European Space Agency’s Gaia satellite an, as well as more infrared survey results from other ground- and space-based telescopes.

The seven candidates are all M-dwarf stars, meaning they’re both smaller and dimmer than our Sun.

The researchers, however, stopped well short of claiming these extremely heated dwarf stars are definitely surrounded by Dyson spheres — instead, they emphasized, they’re just candidates.

“There are several natural explanations for the infrared excess in literature, but none of them clearly explains such a phenomenon in the candidates, especially given that all are M dwarfs,” the researchers wrote.

For instance, “it might be something that happens very rarely, like if two planets collide and produce an enormous amount of material,” as coauthor and New York University physics professor David Hogg told New Scientist. “I think it’s most likely to be a natural phenomenon.”

In their paper, the team admitted that it’s “definitely premature to presume” that the infrared readings are coming from at least “partial Dyson spheres.”

At the same, they’re not willing to rule them out just yet, something that may be possible with the help of NASA’s extremely sensitive James Webb Space Telescope.

“Either we’ll rule them all out and say Dyson spheres are quite rare and very hard to find, or they’ll hang around as candidates and we’ll study the heck out of them,” coauthor and Pennsylvania State University astronomy professor Jason Wright told New Scientist.

More on Dyson spheres: Building a Dyson Sphere Around the Sun Would Be Easy if We Used Jupiter for Raw Materials

Scientists Identify Seven Star Systems That May Be Hosting Alien Megastructures

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