File under: Holy crap. Penn State and Yale University astronomers, unable to explain strange data patterns they're observing from a star (KIC 8462852), have come to the conclusion that there may be an "alien superstructure" orbiting it, outfitted with solar panels to absorb energy from the star.
“Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build," said astronomer Jason Wright.
Essentially, scientists observed strange, irregular fluctuations in the light from the star. These would be explicable in a younger star as debris in orbit around it, but make no sense for a star of this age. Of 150,000 comparable stars the Kepler telescope has observed, this is the only one behaving this way. The patterns of light emission are unusual, too, even for a younger star.
The astronomers are taking this hypothesis seriously, and so should we. We'll be watching this story VERY CLOSELY.
UPDATE: Science Keeps Not Debunking The Alien Dyson Sphere
Read the full story over at The Washington Post.
Image credit: Getty Images/gremlin