Astronomer Tabetha Boyajian

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and it is my job, my responsibility, as an astronomer, to remind people that alien hypotheses should always be the last resort. Now, I want to tell you a story about it. It includes data from a NASA mission, ordinary people and one of the most extraordinary stars in our galaxy.
00:41
It started in 2009 with the launch of NASA's Kepler mission. Kepler's main scientific goal was to find planets outside our solar system. He did it by staring at a single field in the sky, this one, with all the little boxes. And in this field, he monitored the brightness of over 150,000 stars continuously for four years, taking a data point every 30 minutes. He was looking for what astronomers call a transit. This is when the orbit of the planet is aligned in our line of sight, just so that the planet crosses in front of a star. And when this happens, it blocks a bit of starlight, which you can see as a dip in this curve. 01: 31
And so the NASA team had developed very sophisticated computers to search for transits in all Kepler data. At the same time as the first data release, Yale's astronomers were asking themselves an interesting thing: and if computers had lost something? 01: 53
And so we launched the citizen science project called Planet Hunters to make people look at the same data. The human brain has an incredible pattern recognition capability, sometimes even better than a computer. However, there was a lot of skepticism about this. My colleague, Debra Fischer, founder of the Planet Hunters project, said that people were saying, "You're crazy." There's no way a computer will lose a signal. "And so it was, the classic game of chance between man and machine. And if we found a planet, we would be thrilled. When I joined the team four years ago, we had already found a couple. And today, with the help of over 300,000 science enthusiasts, we've found dozens of them and we've also found one of the most mysterious stars in our galaxy.

02:45
So to understand this, let me show you how a normal transit occurs in Kepler's data. In this chart on the left side you have the amount of light, and at the bottom is the time. The white line is light only from the star, what astronomers call a light curve. Now, when a planet passes on a star, it blocks some of this light, and the depth of this transit reflects the size of the object itself. And so, for example, we take Jupiter. The planets do not become much larger than Jupiter. Jupiter will drop one percent in the brightness of a star. The Earth, on the other hand, is 11 times smaller than Jupiter, and the signal is barely visible in the data.

03:26
So let's get back to our mystery. A few years ago, Planets Hunters were sifting through data for transits, and they identified a mysterious signal from KIC star 8462852. The May 2009 observations were the first to be detected and they began to talk about this in discussion forums.

They said and objected that Jupiter would make a fall like this in the light of the star, but they were also saying it was gigantic. You see, transits normally last only a few hours and this lasted for almost a week.

04:01
They also said that it looks asymmetric, which means that instead of the clean U-shaped dive we saw with Jupiter, it had this strange slope visible on the left side. This seemed to indicate that whatever was obstructing and blocking the starlight was not as circular as a planet. There have been other declines that have happened, but for a couple of years it has been pretty quiet.

04:26
And then in March of 2011, let's see this. The starlight drops an entire 15 percent, and this is huge compared to a planet, which would only drop one percent. We have described this feature as both smooth and clean. It is also asymmetrical, with a gradual dimming that lasts almost a week, and then retracts to normal in a few days.

04:52
And again, after this, it does not happen much until February 2013. Things are starting to get really crazy. There is a huge complex of dips in the curve of light that appear, and last for a hundred days, until the end of Kepler's mission. These dives have variable forms. Some are very sharp and some are large and also have variable durations. Some last only for a day or two, and some for more than a week. And there are also downward trends in some of these declines, almost as if several independent events overlap one on the other. And at this moment, this star drops in its brightness over 20 percent. This means that anything blocking its light has an area of ​​over 1,000 times the area of ​​our planet Earth.

05:46
This is truly remarkable. And so the city scientists, when they saw this, informed the scientific team that they found something quite strange that it might be worth following up. And so, when the science team examined it, let's say "Yes, probably there's just something wrong with the data." But we really found ourselves, really, really difficult, and the data were good. And so what was happening was supposed to be astrophysical, which meant that something in space was interfering and blocking the light of the stars. And so at this point, we decided to learn everything we could on the star to see if we could find any clues about what was going on. And the fellow scientists who helped us in this discovery, joined together for the trip, watching science in action in the first person.

06:37

First, someone said, you know, if this star was very young and still had the cloud of material born from around. And then someone else said, well, and if the star had already formed planets and two of these planets clashed, similar to the Earth-Moon formation event. Well, both these theories could explain part of the data, but the difficulties were that the star showed no sign of being young, and there was no glare of any material that was being heated by the star light, and one would expect this if the star was young or if there was a collision and there was a lot of dust. And so someone said, well, how about a huge swarm of comets passing by this star in a very elliptical orbit? Well, it ends up that this is actually consistent with our observations. But I'm on agreement, it seems a little bit forced. You see, it would take hundreds of comets to reproduce what we are observing. And these are just the comets that pass between us and the star. And so, in reality, we are talking about thousands of tens of thousands of comets. But of all the bad ideas we had, this was the best. And so we went ahead and published our results.

08:00

Now, let me tell you, this was one of the most difficult documents I've ever written. The scientists aim to publish the results, and this situation was far from that. And so we decided to give it a catchy title, and we called: "Where's the flow?" I will allow you to work out the acronym.

(Laugh)

08:22

So this is not the end of the story. Around the same time I was writing this article, I met a colleague of mine, Jason Wright, and was also writing an article about Kepler's data. And he was saying that with the extreme precision of Kepler, he could actually detect the alien megastructures around the stars, but he did not. And then I showed him these strange data that our city scientists had found, and he told me: "Shit shit, Tabby, now I have to rewrite my newspaper."

08:54

So yes, natural explanations were weak, and now we were curious. So we had to find a way to exclude aliens. Together we convinced a colleague of ours who works on SETI, the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, that this would be an extraordinary goal to pursue. We have written a proposal to observe the star with the largest radio telescope in the world at the Green Bank Observatory.

09:21

A couple of months later, the news of this proposal was leaked to the press and now there are thousands of articles, over 10,000 articles, only on this star. And if you're looking for Google Images, this is what you'll find.

09:39

Now, you're wondering, OK, Tabby, well, how does the aliens actually explain this light curve? OK, well, imagine a civilization much more advanced than ours. In this hypothetical circumstance, this civilization would have exhausted the energy supply of their home planet, so where could they get more energy? Well, they have a star host just as we have a sun, and so if they were able to capture more energy from this star, then this would solve their energy needs. So they would go to build huge structures. These gigantic megastructures, like giant solar panels, are called Dyson spheres.

10:22

This image above is a lot of the artists' impressions on the Dyson balls. It is really difficult to provide a perspective on the vastness of these things, but you can think this way. The Earth-Moon distance is a quarter of a million miles. The simplest element on one of these structures is 100 times that size. They are huge. And now imagine one of these structures moving around a star. You can see how it would produce data anomalies, such as irregular and unnatural dives.

10:58

But it remains that even the alien megastructures can not defy the laws of physics. You see, everything that uses a lot of energy is about to produce heat, and we do not watch it. But it could be something as simple as if they were just re-examining it in another direction, but not on Earth.

11:23

Another idea that is one of my favorites is that we have just witnessed an interplanetary space battle and the catastrophic destruction of a planet. Now, I admit that this would produce a lot of dust that we do not observe. But if we are already invoking the aliens in this explanation, then who is saying that they have not efficiently cleaned up this mess for recycling purposes?

(Laugh)

11:50

You can see how this quickly captures your imagination.

Well, that's it. We are in a situation that could turn out to be a natural phenomenon that we do not understand or an alien technology that we do not understand. Personally, as a scientist, my money is on the natural explanation. But do not get me wrong, I think it would be great to find aliens. However, there is something new and really interesting to discover.

00:24

So what happens next? We must continue to observe this star to learn more about what is happening. But professional astronomers, like me, have limited resources for this sort of thing and Kepler is engaged in a different mission.

00:39

And I'm happy to say that, once again, the city scientists have come and saved the day. You see, this time, amateur astronomers with their telescopes on the courtyard have intensified immediately and have begun observing this star every night in their establishments, and I am so excited to see what they find.

13:03

What is surprising to me is that this star would never have been found by computers because we were not looking for something like this. And what's more exciting is that there are more data to come. There are new missions that are coming out, observing millions of stars all over the sky.

And think: what will it mean when we find another star like this? And what will it mean if we do not find another star like this?

Thank you.

(Applause)

The afirmaciones extraordinarias requieren pruebas extraordinarias, y es mi trabajo, me responsabilidad, como astrónoma, register the people that the hipótesis extraterrestres siempre deben ser el último recurso.Quiero count a historia to the respecto. This includes data from a NASA mission, people together and one of the most extraordinary estrellas in nuestra galaxia.
00:41
If inició in 2009 with the son of mercy Kepler de la NASA. El principal objetivo científico de Kepler was encontrar planetas fuera de nuestro solar system. If hizo esto targeting only one field in the sky, este, with todas las pequeñas cajas. You are a field, watch the film of more than 150 000 estrellas de forma continues during the month, including a data point falls 30 minutes.Buscaba aquello que los astrónomos llaman un tránsito. As far as the kitchen of the floor is concerned, there is the kitchen area inside, with regard to an estrella's dining table. Y cuando esto sucede, bloquea a little de luz de las estrellas, as you do in a moment in a curve.
Yes, the balance of NASA has desarrollado equipos muy sophisticados para buscar tránsitos de todos los datos de Kepler.Al mismo tiempo de la primera publicación de los datos, los astronomos de la Universidad de Yale se preguntaban algo interesante: ¿Qué pasa yes las computadoras perdieron algo? 01: 52
As for the proyecto de ciencia ciudadana llamada cazadores de planetas to incorporate a people observing los mismos datos. El cerebro humano holds an asymmetrical capacity for reconocer patrones, a veces included mejor que una computadora. Sin embargo, había mucho escepticismo al respecto. I am in charge, Debra Fischer, fundadora of the proyecto Planet Hunters, diego que le entonces decía: "Están locos, it is not possible that a computadora pierda a señal." As it continued the clásico juego de azar humano contra la máquina. of work, estaríamos encantados Cuando me uní equipo hace cuatro años, ya habíamos encontrado a pareja Yes, with the aura of more than 300,000 people looking for nonsense, hemos encontrado docenas, and también hemos encontrado una de las estrellas más misteriosas en nuestra galaxia.02: 45
As far as the data is concerned, data is a normal trait in Kepler's data. En este gráfico en el lado izquierdo represents the cantidad de luz, y en el fondo es el tiempo. La línea blanca is the luz solo de la estrella, which is los astrónomos llaman a curve de luz. Beyond a plan for an estrella, a matter of little importance, and for the depth of a trophy of objective tango reforms. Y así, por ejemplo, tomemos Júpiter. Los planetas no llegan a ser mucho más grandes que Júpiter. Júpiter hará a caída of 1% en el brillo de una estrella. The Earth, in other parts, is 11 veces más pequeña que Júpiter, y la señal es apenas visible en los datos.

03:26
How I made a mystery nuestro. Hace unos los los cazadores de planetas purifying datos en busca de tránsitos, vieron a mysterious señal proceeding de la estrella KIC 8462852. Las observaciones en mayo de 2009 fueron las primeras, y empezaron a hablar de esto en los foros de discusión.

Deco que objeto igual que Júpiter haría a caída como ét la luz de la estrella, however también if decía que was giant. Los tránsitos normally only duran unas pocas horas, y este if prolongó during cases a semana.

04:01
También has said que ve asimétrica, which means that it is in line with the image of a song by Júpiter, tender is more than anything else regarding life. Esto parecía indicar que todo la que estaba en el camino y que bloqueaba la luz de las estrellas was circular like a planeta. Surgieron unas cuantas lagunas, but hace a par de años, todo estaba quiet enough.

04:26
Y luego, en march 2011, vemos esto: gotas de luz de la estella caen en a 15%, y esto es huge in comparison with a planeta, que solo haría a descenso of 1%. Hemos described esta característica como algo suave y limpio. Tambien es asimétrica, with a gradual duration that lasts a week, and just one month with a normality is alone.

04:52
Yes, you're dead, it did not happen much had February 2013. Las cosas empiezan a ser really de locos. Hay a huge complejo de caídas en la curve de luz en la que aparecen, y duran unos 100 días, todo el tiempo hasta el final de la misión Kepler. Estas caídas tienen formas diversas. Algunas son muy afiladas, y otras son anchas, y también tienen duraciones variables.Algunas duran only a día or dos, others más de una semana. Y también hay tendencias hacia arriba y abajo en algunas de estas caídas, como si superpusieran varios eventos independientes. You are a moment, 20% estella cae en su brillo más. It is an area of ​​1000 square meters of land.

05:46
Esto es verdaderamente remarkable. As for the voluntari cienti, beyond, notificaron to the equipo científico que encontraron algo enough rare que podría worth the hacer a followimiento. Yes, the equipo científico observes him, pensamos: "Yes, it is likely that haya algo malo with los datos". Pero nos parecía muy, muy, muy difícil, y los datos eran buenos. Yes, this is my way of seeing the astrophysicist, which means that it is a space where the fireplace is full of light. Yes, point of view, empezamos an opener for the sobre position for estrella to poderate the guns easily and quickly. Y científicos ciudadanos que nos han ayudado en este descubrimiento, if unieron a lo largo del paseo viendo la ciencia en acción en primera persona.

06:37

En primer lugar, alguien dijo: yes you pull it out ella she ella ella she ella mu mu mu mu mu mu mu mu mu mu mu mu mu mu mu? Y entonces otro dijo: qu pas pas pas si si si si estr estr estr estr estr estr estr estr estr estr ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, dos dos estr ,,,, ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ………. Pue ​​bien, estas dos theorías podrían explicar parte de los datos, but las dificultades eran que la estrella no parecía ser joven, y no había respensor de cualquiera de los materiales que if calentaban por la luz de la estrella, y que se puede esperar, yes la estrella was joven or hubo a colisión y se produjo a gran cantidad de polvo. As you said, do you have a great friend of comet from a girl in a girl? Really es consistent with nuestras observaciones. Pero estoy de acuerdo, parece algo artificial. If you need to be able to reproduce the que observamos. Yes, lonely son, comets and nothing at all. Y así, in realidad, estamos hablando de miles to decena de miles de cometas. Pero de todas las malas ideas que teníamos, esta fue la mejor. Y así seguimos adelante y publicamos nuestros hallazgos.

08:00

Este fue uno de los artiículos más difíciles que he escrito. If you have seen your data, please contact us at the latest. As for courage and atractive talent, y llamamos: "¿Dónde está el flujo?" Voy a dejar que Uds. resuelvan el acrónimo.

(Risas)

08:22

Pero esto no es el final de la historia. Cases at the mismo tiempo que yo escribía este artículo, me encontré with a colega mío, Jason Wright, que también estaba escribiendo an artículo sobre datos de Kepler. Yes, with the utmost precision of Kepler, podría detectar megaestructuras alienígenas alrededor de las estrellas, but no fue así. Le mostré los datos que los voluntarios científicos habían encontrado, y me dijo: "Tonterías, Tabby Ahora tengo que reescribir mi artículo".

08:54

Why, the explanations are eran débiles, y ahora teníamos curiosidad. Like the tuvimos that welcome a manera de descartar alienígenas. Así que juntos, convencimos a colega nuestro que trabaja en SETI, the búsqueda de inteligencia extraterrestre, which is an extraordinary project for development. Escribimos a propuesta para observar la estrella with the radio telescope mayor of the world at the Observatory de Green Bank.

09:21

A par de meses más tarde, the noticia de la propiesta choice for filtering a la prensa y ahora hay miles de artículos, more than 10 000 artículos sobre esta estrella sola. This is Google Google, if encontrará esto.

09:39

Ahora, podrían preguntar: "Bien, Tabby, how does your alien strangeness curve the luz?" Bueno, he imagines a civilization much more advanced than the nuestra. En este case hipotético, esa civilización habría agotado the energy of planeta de origen, Entonces, ¿dónde podrían obtener más energía? Ellos holds an extrella mother aligual que nosotros tenemos el sol, y si fuesen able de capturar más energía de esta estrella, exponents eso resolvería sus necesidades energéticas. As for buildings, things are huge. Estos gigantes, megaestructuras como los paneles solares descomunales, if denominan esferas de Dyson.

10:21

The image of a house contains a museum of artistic objects from the Dyson Islands. Es muy difícil ofrecer a perspectiva sobre l'infinity of estas cosas, but if he can think of this manera. The Tierra-Luna distancia is 400,000 km. El element más simple en una de estas estructuras es 100 veces ese tamaño. Huge son. Ahora imagines something on the move. If something like this or something else can ever happen, nothing more natural than irregular.

10:58

However, it is necessary to include las megaestructuras exóticas no pueden desafiar las leyes de la física.Cualquier what uses great cantidad de energía to produce calor, but eso no observamos. Pero podría ser algo tan simple como que están irradiando en otra dirección, no hacia la Tierra.

11:23

Another idea is a wrong choice and this is my testament to a battle and an interplanetary space and the destruction of a catastrophe. Ahora, I admit that it is producing a great cantidad de polvo que no se observa. But do you invocamos a alienígenas en esta explicación, entonces ¿quién puede decir que no limpiaron eficientemente todo para reciclar?

(Risas)

11:50

If puede ver cómo esto rapidamente capta su imaginación.

Bueno, ahí tienen. Estamos en una situación que podría revelarse como un fenómeno natural que no entendemos or a tecnología alienígena que no entendemos. En lo personal, como científica, voy por la explicación natural. But not me malinterpreten, I create que sería increíble encontrar extraterrestres. De cualquier manera, siempre hay algo nuevo and interesante para descubrir.

00:24

Entonces, ¿qué pasa después? Tenemos que seguir observando per estrella para aprender más sobre lo que pasa. Pero los astrónomos profesionales como yo, tenth limit regarding the type of cosas, and Kepler está en una misión diferente.

00:39

Yes, there are felic de decir que, a vez más, los ciudadanos científicos han entrado y salvado el día. En esta ocasaón, astronomos aficionados with sus telescopios caseros intensificaron y comenzaron to observar esta estella nocturna en sus propias instalaciones, y estoy muy emocionada de ver que queuentran.

13:03

It surprises me that this estella nunca fue detectada por las computadoras porque simplemente no buscábamos algo así. Yes, I know that emocionant and that has many other data in the future. Hay nuevas misiones que están surgiendo que están observing a millones de estrellas for todo el cielo.

Y piensen: "Qué significará cuando nos topemos with otra estrella de esta manera? Yes that means there are no agreements for my girlfriend?

Gracias.
(Aplausos)

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