Discovery.com reports on the recent attempt by the SETI Institute’s Allen Array to examine KIC 8462852, the star with an anomalous set of transit brightness dips that may be due to swarms of comets… or else conceivably a convoy of orbiting alien mega structures. I wouldn’t put any money on the latter unless give great odds. Moreover, preliminary negative results obtained by a couple of Allen Array SETI scans set (rather high) upper limits to the radio activity of such civilization cluster. Still, the ensuing public interest and conversations have been vivid and interesting.http://news.discovery.com/space/alien-life-exoplanets/alien-megastructure-seti-spies-no-intelligent-signals-151106.htm
It’s worth noting that we’re talking about a very large, co-orbiting swarm of purported alien structures that presumably collect and utilize sunlight (hence blocking our view of the star, part of the time. This would be be a substantial step — by perhaps a few percentages — toward a Kardashev Type II civilization, utilizing large fractions of the star’s emitted energy. At one extreme this would become a “Dyson Swarm or Sphere.”
The way you look for such an advanced system is by finding one with a huge excess in the infra-red, radiating waste heat into space. No such profound infrared excess is observed at KIC 8462852 — another crack in the alien civilization hypothesis.
Only hold on a second. One fellow I know — long time space power systems promoter Keith Henson — has pointed out that such co-orbiting mega structures would orient their cooling systems the way we do, on the International Space Station, so that the radiator panels line their edges toward the sun and their big, flat faces either north or southward, orthogonal or at ninety degrees away from the hot star.
Envision the situation. We are observing these objects (whether comets, planets or cities) transiting — passing between us and the star — precisely because we are lined up with their orbital planes. So any heat dissipation radiators would likewise be edge-on to us, as well! And hence we would be unlikely to see much infra-red excess, even if these are prodigious, Kardashev-type structures.
So, the lack of an infra-red excess may not be meaningful after all. The jury is still out. So stay tuned. Keep watching and listening to the skies! And meanwhile, let’s stay quiet ourselves.