Although NASA's Kepler Space Telescope typically examines the rocks and asteroids in the orbits of distant stars, it also picks up on other galactic features such as planetary rings, stellar fares and recently, potential alien megastructures, according to Discovery News. In a paper that was submitted to the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, a star named KIC 8462852 was found to have a very strange transit signal that stems from multiple mysterious objects surrounding it, according to the Mirror.
"Over the duration of the Kepler mission, KIC 8462852 was observed to undergo irregularly shaped, aperiodic dips in flux down to below the 20 percent level," the paper reads.
The star has been steadily monitored for four years, and the data has not fluctuated, leading scientists to consider other alternatives.
"We'd never seen anything like this star," said Tabetha Boyajian, lead author of the study. "It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out."
Although the current paper examines the natural and known possible causes of the star's characteristics, a second paper is in the works that will investigate the possibility of alien megastructures.
"Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build," said Jason Wright, an astronomer from Penn State University who is getting involved in the research.
The second paper will use a radio dish to gather wavelengths from the star and search for those that could be associated with technological civilization, according to The Independent.
"If things go really well, the follow-up could happen sooner," said Wright. "If we saw something exciting... we'd be asking to go on right away."