ENRICO FERMI, CALL YOUR OFFICE: A Study Suggests We Found Potential Evidence of Dyson Spheres—and Alien Civilizations.

Finding such a star among the millions observed by star-gazing projects, such as the Gaia satellite, Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explore (WASE), and the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), is even worse than looking for a needle in a haystack. But recently, two separate studies accepted the challenge, and came across more than a few compelling candidates.

The first study, led by Ph.D. student Matías Suazo at Uppsala University in Sweden, is actually the second paper relating to Project Hephaistos, which describes its mission as “searching for extraterrestrial intelligence using indirect signatures of astroengineering.” Looking at optical and infrared data from the aforementioned satellites, the team developed a comprehensive method for examining the data and identifying potential Dyson Spheres and their resulting technosignatures. The results were accepted for publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

“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,” Suazo and his colleagues wrote in the 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.”

A civilization advanced enough to build a Dyson Sphere (or even “just” a Niven Ring) likely wouldn’t need anything from primitive Terrans — which might prove a saving grace.