Scientists confused by a distant star that periodically flickers have come up with an unlikely explanation—maybe there’s an alien megastructure with solar panels getting in the way. “It was kind of unbelievable that it was real data,” Yale astronomer Tabetha Boyajian admitted. “We were scratching our heads. For any idea that came up there was always something that would argue against it.” The star in question, KIC 8462852, is unique among 150,000 stars seen by the Kepler telescope: It flickers every two and a half to three years—and scientists say even a large planet would not account for this degree of variation. After considering scores of hypotheses, scientists suggested it may be alien solar panels.
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