Mysterious light on a distant star could be a sign of alien civilisation, some astronomers have claimed, stirring controversy among their peers. Not so fast, said NASA. “The mysterious star, KIC 8462852, does have an odd light curve,” said Steve Howell, a US space agency scientist working on the Kepler space telescope’s planet-hunting mission, which launched in 2009 but lost its key orientation abilities in 2013.

“It does not look like a normal exoplanet or binary star light curve. However, I think that saying that it immediately is alien is a bit of a stretch,” Howell said in an email to AFP. A paper recently authored by Tabetha Boyajian, a postdoctoral student at Yale University, and several citizen scientists, described the planet as having a unusual light pattern, and suggested that it appeared to have matter circling it. The paper was published in October in a British journal called the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. “We’d never seen anything like this star,” Boyajian was quoted as saying in The Atlantic magazine. FULL REPORT