Strange starlight patterns could be evidence of alien technology, according to two new scientific studies

In 1960 during the early days of the scientific search for extraterrestrial intelligence, theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson wrote an article titled "Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation" for the journal Science. He posited that "if extraterrestrial intelligent beings exist and have reached a high level of technical development, one by-product of their energy metabolism is likely to be the large-scale conversion of starlight into far-infrared radiation." One way to achieve that, he suggested, was by building an "artificial biosphere surrounding one star," now known as a Dyson Sphere. Now, Popular Mechanics reports on two scientific studies identifying quite a few stars generating excess radiation that could, maybe, possibly, potentially be the result of Dyson Spheres.

"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," writes Uppsala University astrophysicist Matiías Suazo and his colleagues in a peer-reviewed scientific paper. "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."

Meanwhile, a study from Italy's International School for Advanced Studies found 53 stars with unusual mid-infrared measurements. These anomalies might be from Extreme Debris Disks formed by planetary collisions, not signs of alien technology. David Hogg, a co-author of the study, told New Scientist that the most likely explanation is still a natural one. "It might be something that happens very rarely, like if two planets collide and produce an enormous amount of material."

Before jumping to conclusions about Dyson Spheres or other cosmic phenomena, scientists need to rule out all the less exciting explanations and take a closer peek at the stars, possibly through the James Webb Space Telescope.

Previously: Physicist Freeman Dyson`s alien megastructure legacy

(Thanks, Syd Garon!)