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Vanishing stars that 'disappear' suddenly from the night sky without any scientific explanation could help us find extraterrestrial life, scientists have suggested.

Researchers in Sweden have already identified one such 'vanishing' star, and while they're not sure what made it disappear from the view of our telescopes just yet, the absence of any astrophysical explanation means extraterrestrial intervention can't be ruled out.

Stars coming and going is part of the natural flow of the Universe (our own Sun has a few billion years of life left yet), but by studying space surveys taken just a few years apart, the team wants to see if any stars appear to suddenly drop out of the sky in unusual ways.

In other words, they want to find stars logged in one survey that aren't where they should be a few years later.

"We propose to search for physically impossible effects caused by highly advanced technology, by carrying out a search for disappearing galaxies and Milky Way stars," the researchers from Uppsala University explain in their paper.

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