Stars Show Signs of Hosting Advanced Alien Civilizations

By: Alyssa Miller | Last updated: Jun 13, 2024

Questions about the great unknowns of space have left many to believe that there are other lifeforms out there waiting to be discovered. While we might not be able to visit these planets, a team of researchers may have found life in the stars.

The team, based in Sweden, India, the US, and the UK, has devised a way to search for complex extraterrestrial megastructures that could point to advanced alien life.

Looking for Dyson Spheres

In a report by Science Alert, these extraterrestrial megastructures, known as Dyson spheres, are hypothetical engineering projects that only highly advanced civilizations can build.

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These Dyson spheres would allow a civilization to harness all of a star’s energy. The Earth does not have a megastructure around it since the planet is not a star nor does it capture the Sun’s energy output.

The Origin of Dyson Spheres

The prospect of these types of constructions existing in space was proposed by physicist and astronomer Freeman J. Dyson in 1960.

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Freeman J. Dyson in a blue button up standing next to a chalkboard

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Dyson believed that these Dyson spheres, which were solar-system-sized shells, consisted of a “swarm of objects” traveling on independent orbits around a star similar to our sun.

Spotting a Dyson Spheres in Space

A team of scientists created “Project Hephaestus” to find Dyson spheres or their technosignatures and publish their results in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Academy of Sciences.

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Scientists believe that only civilizations capable of such a project are those who measure Level II on the Kardashev scale.

Pulling the Data

The team first analyzed the data gathered by the European Space Agency’s Gaia map of stars,  the 2MASS infrared astronomical survey, and NASA’s WISE infrared astronomy space telescope.

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Using this information, the team determined the radiation emitted from the spheres through the infrared data.

Researchers believe We Could Spot a Dyson Sphere

The team believes that if Dyson spheres did exist, they would be able to spot them through existing technology today.

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“Starlight harvesting could, in principle, result in different observational signatures that may be detected using existing telescopes,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “These signatures include optical dimming of the host star due to direct obscuration, and waste-heat emission from the absorbing structure.

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The Structure Depends on Temperature 

“This structure would emit waste heat in the form of mid-infrared radiation that, in addition to the level of completion of the structure, would depend on its effective temperature,” Matias Suazo, of Sweden’s Uppsala University explained.

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Suzao continued: “A specialized pipeline has been developed to identify potential Dyson sphere candidates focusing on detecting sources that display anomalous infrared excesses that cannot be attributed to any known natural source of such radiation.”

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The Issues Behind Finding a Dyson Sphere

Plenty of issues come from trying to pinpoint which objects are possibly Dyson spheres and which are just emitting infrared radiation.

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Nebulae and background galaxies are naturally occurring objects that could clog up the team’s research as they hunt for Dyson spheres (via Universe Today).

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Scientists Spot Possible Dyson Spheres

The team believes that they have identified seven of these Dyson spheres in the cosmos after filtering through millions of potential space objects.

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However, researchers will need to investigate these objects further to determine whether advanced life formed them or if they are just a phenomenon created by something else.

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The Data Behind the Discovery

The researchers said, “We developed this pipeline to identify potential Dyson sphere candidates by focusing on detecting sources that display anomalous infrared excesses that cannot be attributed to any known natural source of such radiation.”

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So far, astronomers have found signs that seven different stars in our galaxy may be contained within Dyson spheres.

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Seven Potential Alien Megastructures Might Exist

“After analyzing the optical/NIR/MIR photometry of [around 5 million] sources, we found seven apparent M dwarfs exhibiting an infrared excess of unclear nature that is compatible with our [Dyson sphere] model,” the researchers wrote in the paper.

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The light from these stars showed a strange spike in infrared wavelengths, which researchers associated with the potential existence of the alien megastructures.

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Team Needs To Conduct Further Research

Currently, researchers have called these seven potential candidates “clear mid-infrared emitters with no clear contaminators or signatures that indicate an obvious mid-infrared origin.”

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The team is now trying to perform an optical spectroscopy to understand these seven candidates further.

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