Tabby's Star (Dyson Sphere, Alien SETI Eclipse?) Flickering Again

Discussion in 'Astronomy, Exobiology, & Cosmology' started by danshawen, May 30, 2017.

  1. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    The Washington Post has reported that KIC 8462852, otherwise known as Tabby's star, in the constellation Cygnus, is a yellow to white dwarf star. As of May, 2017, it is beginning to flicker again, and so a whole host of astronomical instrumentation is being trained on the object again, even you read this. Some detail about this appears also in the Wikipedia article.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/vide...bdf918-3fe9-11e7-b29f-f40ffced2ddb_video.html

    As this is something not generally recognized as a phase of stellar evolution for an F-type main sequence star, this is rather interesting. Some suggestions for why it does this, similar to the ones suggested in the Post article, also appear in the Wikipedia entry:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KIC_8462852

    Tabby's star, named for its discoverer Tabitha Boyjian, is one of several known objects with variable luminosity. Some of the other reported objects have actually exhibited both regularity and also deeper dips in luminosity than Tabby's Star. The recent boom in discovery of exoplanets has had the side effect of instrumentation that is much better at finding such objects more quickly and with greater regularity than at any previous period in the history of astronomy.

    Facilities like SETI have been around for decades and have already sent directed and tightly focused transmissions in other likely directions in the sky relating to the existence of intelligent life on our own planet (although this may be debatable). Even if these transmissions ever reach an alien civilization with the capacity to receive such broadcasts, the range would be very limited, about 10-20 light years, before all of the transmit power we could muster fades into intergalactic background noise.

    If we were 100% certain of the direction in which we wished to send a transmission, how difficult would it really be to set up the stellar equivalent one of those old style Naval morse code signaling devices to operate point to point? Only one large enough to eclipse a star at the outer reaches of a solar system over a couple of arc seconds would be required. Depending on the technology used and the resources available, possibly this would not be either prohibitively expensive or a drain on the resources of a sufficiently advanced alien civilization.

    I think this makes more sense than imagining an alien civilization actually building a Dyson sphere. If you can do something like that, would it not be easier to wait until the star cannot support life and simply move the civilizaton to a newer one?

    Like the Dyson sphere featured and depicted in an episode of STTNG (the one where James Doohan 'Scotty' had landed a shuttle craft on its surface and stored himself and Franklin in a transporter buffer), stars eventually become quite problematic to contain or manage, even under the best of circumstances. Even something like Larry Niven's Ringworld would eventually become a prohibitively costly bridge to nowhere. But using stars themselves for interstellar communication within a sparsely populated region of space bigger than tens or even hundeds of light years would make perfect economic sense. Owing to prohibitive time delays, such communication would likely be half duplex, and we would only be intercepting half of the channel, many aeons after it had been sent, obviously. Most of us would probably agree, this would be both secure and safe enough to be practical.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    I think, in general, world-building is predicated on the idea that FTL travel is not possible, and that other factors prevent Ark ships. (too slow, can only move a portion of the pop. to move entire pop. requires bringing star along, etc...)
     
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  5. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    This is the best kind of science: the kind that begs a question; what the heck is going on over there?

    Tabby's star is about the same size as ours. What if ours started doing the same thing? Perhaps it already is. This would no doubt draw considerably more attention than this thread seems to be garnering. When it got brighter, we would be in a global warming situation. Not interested at all then; just a minor F sequence star of no consequence at all?
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Well, it's garnering a lot of attention on real science forums.
     
  8. karenmansker HSIRI Banned

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    Re: Tabby's Star

    While there is likely a simple explanation (e.g., TS going supernova watch for flicker rate increase!?), the article piques my SciFi creative neurons.

    "Should we be joyfully optimistic that the TS flickering might be a SETI-like "signal" . . . something like Native American (Indian) smoke signals . . . . or something like Morse Code (in physics lanquage)? "

    "If I were (and perhaps I am!) an ET, I might conclude that if I were 'looking' to the heavens (visible starfields), so might other ETs (relative to my ET status) be doing the same thing and other ET's might thereforre be looking at 'my star (TS)'. My having discerned that the home star (that earthers call Sol) might have intelligent beings (because it was so like my ET planet!), what more unique and grandiose a signal could I provide than waving a huge 'space blanket' in the line-of-sight between our respective locations?" (<--- a humorous anectdote, HAHA!)
     
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  9. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

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    As an F class star, it is not massive enough to go supernova.
     
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  10. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    If only slightly larger than our sun, it could collapse to a neutron star. Those things are supposed to have a regular cubic metalic structure, aren't they? That would cause some flickering as it rotated. Something like that should hold our interest for a while.
     
  11. The God Valued Senior Member

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    Some correction here..

    It's the core's post implosion/explosion mass which is around solar mass. The original collapsing star is required to be around 8-10 Solar mass for supernova. Tabby is not a Neutron Star, neither it is in the process of being one.
     
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  12. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    You are right. It would be spinning much faster if that were the case, also it is not nearly massive enough.
     
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  13. karenmansker HSIRI Banned

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    OK . . . . . so whatever an Fclass star does . . . . .
     
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  14. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. Keep those creative scifi neurons firing. My original Arthur C Clarke / Larry Niven idea was a little grander. Intelligent life would be in the plane of the galaxy, so a continuous annular ring of inhabited beacon satellites at an appropriate distance would send those smoke signals everywhere, a strategically located galactic communications hub like Clarke's original geostationary satellite idea which eventually created COMSAT corporation as the US signatory to Intelsat, the international satellite consortium. I worked for 22 years at COMSAT Laboratories, with the finest engineering minds from every corner of the globe. This was not fiction, but it seemed like a dream come true.

    Late in my career, I helped send some disused equipment and instruments to Arthur in Sri Lanka. I still have my autographed copy of Fountains of Paradise, which he signed that occasion.

    Creative neurons fired up yet? I don't think I told this much of the story in any other thread here. Feel free to use any or all of it as you wish. If I write any books, it won't be about that. We had plenty of others there who could write better ones. The Comsat Technical Review was a world renowned technical journal about the fine work we did there.

    This idea would be a perfect application of ultra high bit rate (qubit) quantum entanglement telecommunication. The half duplex 'smoke signals' would need to provide the necessary entanglement protocols to any quantum computing ready remote civilizations. The character development should be easy in that setting. A race to transmit all of the information of a civilization before a supernova type event would be a typical story line.

    No one writes those like Arthur did any more, and I miss him. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
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  15. RADII Registered Member

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    I can see this using phase-transition signalling, like differential Manchester, but broadened to incorporate multiple phase transitions (as I assume the entangled particles would be most efficiently used by inducing multiple phases). This would make it adaptable to any base (beyond binary). Hmmm...
     
  16. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    ^^^
    Sometimes when someone tries to say humans definitely will do X someday, I remind them that X is impossible at this time & we cannot know it will happen. On the other hand, we do not know it will not happen. We do not know whether discoveries will be made which will make a Dyson sphere much more practical than it seems now.
    As far as imagining an alien civilization doing whatever, we simply cannot know & truly cannot even make a good guess.

    <>
     
  17. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    ^^^
    I miss him too. Along with Isaac & others.

    <>
     
  18. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    From PostDaveC426913 Post 2
    An Ark ship might be possible with our current technology & would surely be possible in a few hundred years or less. One ship could not carry our entire population & I doubt that technology & resources would allow building enough ships to carry billions of people.

    It would have to be a generation star ship with plant life to supply oxygen. It would probably be best to build it on Earth’s moon so that the completed ship could start from a place with gravity weaker than Earth’s.

    It would probably be best to have nuclear power plants & enough radioactive material to last for many generations. Breeder reactors would be useful.

    Couples would be required to conform to restrictions on number of children allowed per couple.
     
  19. StrangerInAStrangeLand SubQuantum Mechanic Valued Senior Member

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    ^^^
    I suspect within a few hundred years, it will be too late.

    <>
     

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