NASA's Kepler telescope is a planet hunter that detects exoplanet orbits around a star, known as a transit, to find worlds beyond our solar system.
Earlier this year, Kepler stumbled onto an irregularly shaped object that defied explanation. Planets are round, their mass governed by hydrostatic equilibrium, but the object orbiting KIC 8462852, a star 1,500 light-year away, wasn't.
With no immediate determination of what this unusual object might be, one widely circulated article in
speculated that it could be
an alien megastructure
, a remote but not impossible scenario. A much more likely explanation would suggest the object is a clump of exocomets, a scenario favored by researchers.
As one astronomer told the Atlantic, an alien megastructure should be the last possible scenario considered to explain what is orbiting KIC 8462852, but it should still be investigated.
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