Friday, August 12, 2016

a few months ago a story was published about a star located in the cygnus constellation about 1400 light years away from earth that has this odd habit of its light dimming at irregular intervals.  nicknamed tabby's star, after the astronomer who lead the team that discovered this star, the odd shifts of brightness offers us no known explanation as to its cause.

scientists are science fiction geeks, particularly astronomers who spend their lives looking up to the heavens.  some believe that we might have some evidence of alien intelligence because the dimming of tabby's star could be the result of a dyson sphere, named after the mathematician freeman dyson who posited an advanced intelligent civilization would develop technology to harness the energy of their star. 

the more we learn about the universe we live in the more we discover how wonderful, beautiful and utterly mind-blowingly strange it is.  more than likely the irregular dimming of tabby's star is natural in origin.  we just don't know enough yet what might cause such variables in brightness.  but today i read this article asking us to keep an open mind about an alien civilization satisfying its energy needs by building a structure around its star. 

we as a species have been high technology for a little over 200 years.  in that time we've gone from steam engines to wi-fi, from using leeches in medicine to mri scanning in medicine.  200 years is a very short time and our technology is mind-blowingly advanced.  the universe is 14 billion years old.  our galaxy contains a 100 billion stars and planets orbit each of those stars.  there are more than a 100 billion galaxies in the known universe.  there are probably much more than that we are unable to see.

meaning we are a small speck in this universe.  life might indeed be out there.  personally i think it is hubris to think we are the only planet that harbors life in this vast universe.  i'm with the author of that article to keep an open mind.  there is no evidence for life near tabby's star.  SETI has pointed its antennas at the star and have found nothing.  but imagine, for a minute, that we might be looking at the technology of an alien civilization.  and there is the space between fact and fantasy where poetry resides.  for i think we shall come to an age, if we don't destroy ourselves, which is looking more likely, that we may find evidence of life in the universe.  we shall know for sure we are not alone. 


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