Could those things possibly be satellites? That is what the SETI Institute hopes to find out. It should have at least preliminary results sometime this week. In the meantime, the call has gone out to citizen astronomers to keep an eye out. After all, it was citizen astronomers who discovered what could (maybe) be alien megastructures circling a star. In other words, satellites.
The star in question has the spiffy, roll-of-the-tongue name of KIC 8462852. It is located in the Northern hemisphere in the Milky Way, approximately 1,500 light years from Earth. That means that what we are seeing now was there in 6th century. To put that in perspective: in the 6th century, we were (to quote the Washington Post on the subject) emptying chamber pots out of second story windows and fighting off the first bubonic plague pandemic. In other words, even on the off-chance that we are seeing mega-structures built by alien life-forms those aliens may well have died out by now.
All that said, KIC 8462852 has a mass of objects circling it. Now, this would not be unusual if KIC 8462852 were a young star, this would not be unusual. But it isn’t a young star and the objects—whatever they are—are not falling into the star. Again, quite unusual. Now, there are a lot of things those objects could be: a gas that was ejected from KIC 8462852, remains of planets that crashed together for some reason, or comets. Aliens are generally speaking the last things that should be considered.
But there is a chance—however minuscule—that we are looking at something that was alien-made. We could (for example) be looking at “light collectors” that are meant to capture the heat of KIC 462852. If that (or something like it) proves to be the case, we may be seeing the very first evidence of a civilization far more advanced than we are. For when we were dying of the bubonic plague, they were capturing, storing, and using the light of their sun. What might they be up to now?
Do they know that we, humans, are around? And if they do, what kind of impression do you think we made on them?