No, this isn't a headline we got from a tabloid; there is actual science, and real scientists, behind this story. And that story starts with the Kepler Space Telescope.
Since 2009, it's been watching the light coming from 150,000 stars to spot the regular dimming that indicates a star has planets. It, and the people around the world examining the data, have found quite a few. However, one star really caught researchers' attention because it was different from any other star being observed.
Located between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra, this star's light pattern shows there's a lot of matter closely surrounding the star. If it were a younger star that would make sense, but for an older star it's very strange. Any nearby matter should have been consolidated or burned up.
Researchers have looked at several possible explanations, from a glitch in the telescope to planetary collisions, but the only scenario that really fits the data is if another star had passed through the system and dragged a ton of comets in close. At least that's the best natural explanation.
The data is also what we might see if a highly advanced civilization had built a number of solar collectors, space stations and other space-based facilities in orbit around the star. For obvious reasons, the scientists involved are presenting this scenario very skeptically, but they are taking steps to check it out.
Right now, the plan is to point a radio dish at the star and see if there are any strong radio waves that would match up with what an advanced civilization would put out. That's going to happen in January. If the researchers detect something promising, they're going to petition for time on the Very Large Array radio astronomy observatory in New Mexico to get a better look.
So, what do you think? Are we about to discover life outside of Earth, or do you think there is a natural phenomena behind this. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.