Dimming star not caused by aliens, but still a mystery

NASA           Tabby's Star

Hypotheses ranged from a swarm of comets orbiting the star, to a dusty debris disk surrounding a black hole between the star and Earth, to material within our own solar system, stellar fluctuations in Tabby's Star, and finally, alien megastructures.

Artist's concept of a hypothetical uneven ring of dust causing the mysterious dimming of the star KIC 8462852, also known as Boyajian's Star or Tabby's Star.

Previous speculation about the freakish Tabby's star wondered whether there was some sort of extraterrestrial interference, but it turns out that the dimming of the star may (much more boringly) be a case of space dust. It's still unclear what is causing all this dust and whether or not the dust is orbiting the star or if it's coming from somewhere else.

The project began after a crowdfunding campaign raised more than $100,000 to find an answer, allowing a dedicated ground-based telescope time to observe and gather more data on the star through a network of telescopes around the world.

Scientists closely observed the star through the Las Cumbres Observatory from March 2016 to December 2017.

"The current evidence suggests that the short-term and long-term dimming are caused by dust of different sizes", they write.

While scientists searched for a reasonable explanation to the original findings, some considered the possibility of an alien megastructure similar to that first proposed by physicist Freeman Dyson in the 1960s. But thanks to observations made by the Kepler Space Telescope from 2009 to 2013, we know that this otherwise normal star experiences sporadic and intermittent dimming (at least from our vantage point on Earth).

A study lead by Tabetha Boyajian - the astronomer who Tabby's Star is named after - has found that the unusual dimming is most likely caused by dust. "If you have something that is completely opaque like a planet, you would expect all the colors of the light to be blocked out at the same levels". "Therefore, whatever is passing between us and the star is not opaque, as would be expected from a planet or alien megastructure".

KIC 8462852 is nicknamed "Tabby's Star" after Boyajian, who discovered it with the help of citizen scientists. Beginning in May 2017, astronomers managed to chronicle four distinct dimming episodes, dubbed Elsie, Celeste, Scara Brae, and Angkor by Kickstarter supporters who got to nominate and vote for the names.

The new study was published online today (Jan. 3) in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. "Weird stars that have dust coming from somewhere isn't as much of a headline grabber", Jason Wright, an astronomer at Penn State University and one of the 200 authors on the paper, tells The Verge.

"If it wasn't for people with an unbiased look on our universe, this unusual star would have been overlooked", Boyajian added.

Astronomers even pointed one of the planet's most sensitive radio telescopes at the star, hoping to hear murmurs from a civilization intelligent enough to craft structures so large they sometimes block a substantial portion of the star's light. But unlike the small, orderly brightness dips caused by exoplanets, the KIC 8462852 data was much stranger. Morris said he "pleaded" with those scheduled to use the telescope that late that night to get a few minutes of observing time.

"We don't really have a working model quite yet, so things are still up in the air in terms of how everything is put together", Boyajian said.

Related News:

  • Flight of the Conchords return to HBO in May

    Flight of the Conchords return to HBO in May

    The upcoming special will apparently feature a selection of old Flight of the Conchords favourites, as well as new material. Since then, McKenzie won an Oscar for writing songs for 2011's The Muppets , with Clement now co-starring on FX's Legion .
    Prince of Persia Creator Trying to Revive Game Series

    Prince of Persia Creator Trying to Revive Game Series

    Two days ago, however, the franchise creator, Jordan Mechner, tweeted that he's actually working to bring back the series. As reported by SegmentNext, Mechner said that "Chrissy, I know a few other people who feel the same way".
    Stock Overview: Technical Check on Energy ETF Vanguard (VDE)

    Stock Overview: Technical Check on Energy ETF Vanguard (VDE)

    The simple moving average is a mathematical calculation that takes the average price (mean) for a given amount of time. A reading under 20 would suggest no trend, and a reading from 20-25 would suggest that there is no clear trend signal.
  • Mamata gets Doctorate of Literature degree

    Mamata gets Doctorate of Literature degree

    The honour by the State university to the Chief Minister has not come without controversy, with the matter being challenged before the Calcutta High Court.

    How Many Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST)'s Analysts Are Bearish?

    Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now directly owns 35,225 shares in the company, valued at $6,021,713.75. The retailer reported $1.36 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating analysts' consensus estimates of $1.35 by $0.01.

    Equities Analysts Issue Forecasts for Marathon Oil Co.'s FY2017 Earnings (MRO)

    Bank Of Ny Mellon, New York-based fund reported 380,520 shares. 31,625 shares were sold by SEWELL D BRUCE, worth $5.00 million. Cibc World Markets Inc decreased Ishares Tr (IWM) stake by 104,987 shares to 54,500 valued at $8.08M in 2017Q3. (NASDAQ:SCVL).
  • "LG showcases new rollable 65" OLED display

    LG Display is the sole large-size OLED manufacturer now, as Samsung has already shifted its focus to QLED TVs. Since it's an 8K OLED display, we can expect high quality TV, deep black levels, and extremely bright colors.
    Keane may return to United on Monday as Stoke assistant

    Keane may return to United on Monday as Stoke assistant

    If O'Neill had taken the job, he would have been free to walk away without the FAI reeceiving any compensation . He told RTE Radio 1 : "It's embarrassing for the FAI".

    Williams mars Durant's milestone game

    However, a couple of missed free throws by Hill (who otherwise had a good game) and a late turnover by Kosta Koufos were costly. He played 38 games and averaged 27 minutes, scoring 14.7 points, grabbing 3.9 rebounds, and dishing out 3.6 assists per game.
  • ISIS Executioner Who Threw Gay Men Off Roofs Is Arrested

    ISIS Executioner Who Threw Gay Men Off Roofs Is Arrested

    Omer was reportedly discovered following a tip from local civilians, who gave up his hiding spot to Iraqi security forces. These "death to gays" videos are released on social media and often reported on by worldwide media.
    Gore Verbinski won't direct 'Gambit' as planned

    Gore Verbinski won't direct 'Gambit' as planned

    We're hoping that Tatum's enthusiasm for the film doesn't wane or else fans are never going to get to see this Gambit movie. Tatum still remains on board, and from what we understand, the search for a replacement is already underway.

    "Ingredients for Life Found" in Space Rocks

    Everything leads to the conclusion that the origin of life is really possible elsewhere,"adds Dr. Previous studies of these two meteorites marked the first time that pairing was found together.


Most liked

Panagora Asset Management Inc. Sells 841769 Shares of NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA)
The computer hardware maker reported $1.33 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks' consensus estimate of $0.94 by $0.39. Tennessee-based State Of Tennessee Treasury Department has invested 0.15% in NVIDIA Corporation ( NASDAQ : NVDA ).

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger handed three-match ban over referee comments
But it would be Bellerin who had the final say in the dying seconds as he bagged a late leveller to earn a share of the spoils. The Spaniard scored a stoppage-time equaliser to salvage a 2-2 draw in an end-to-end game at the Emirates .

Security Minister to Social Media: "Fight Extremism or Face Tax Penalties"
The UK wants to hit Google, Facebook , and other tech companies with tax fines if they fail to take action against extremism. That is for what he says is a failure to address the danger of the radicalization of people online.

Dimensional Fund Advisors LP Increases Holdings in DENTSPLY SIRONA Inc (NASDAQ:XRAY)
TRADEMARK VIOLATION NOTICE: This story was reported by The Lincolnian Online and is the sole property of of The Lincolnian Online. Dimensional Fund Advisors LP owned about 0.53% of DENTSPLY SIRONA worth $72,733,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

East West Bancorp (EWBC) Receives Outperform Rating from Wells Fargo & Co
The insider De Lange Bob sold 1,572 shares worth $216,276. (NYSE:CAT) was sold by DICKINSON DANIEL M on Monday, October 30. Bancorp from $55.50 to $50.00 and set a "neutral" rating for the company in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st.

Elderly Couple Who Said They'd Give Weed as Christmas Gifts Arrested Again
Paul Vrbka told the News-Times that Barbara Jiron was cited but was not jailed at that time "due to some medical issues". Sergeant Mayo said the vehicle was traveling westbound from Vermont to the Jiron's home state of California.

Barca-Espanyol, Real-Leganes in Copa del Rey quarterfinals
Moreno set up Baptistao in the 14th minute, before scoring his goal in the 34th. Correa then headed in from a corner taken by Pablo Sarabia in the 54th.

Girl Scout Cookie orders now being taken
Girl Scout cookie season is here to break your New Year's resolutions - but this year you can feel good about it. According to gsoh.org, the first known cookie sale by the Girl Scouts was in 1917.

Constellation Brands Inc (STZ) Position Maintained by Capital World Investors
With the existing current ratio, Constellation Brands , Inc.is more than equipped to confront its liabilities with its assets. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now owns 72,924 shares in the company, valued at $15,825,237.24.

ABC staging 'Scandal,' 'How to Get Away with Murder' crossover episodes
The Scandal edition was directed by actor Tony Goldwyn , who portrays Pope's on and off again lover, Fitzgerald Grant III. This spot look familiar?! This will be the first time the two actresses guest star on each other's shows.

Is Britney Spears Engaged One More Time?
She continued: "I kept his number, and it was so weird because it was like five months later that I found his number in my bag". Britney also teased her followers with a racy video of her on the beach.

Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) Rating Increased to Buy at BidaskClub
Beese Fulmer Investment Management Inc bought 65,669 shares as the company's stock declined 11.04% while stock markets rallied. Oakworth Incorporated invested in 110 shares or 0.01% of the stock. 5,297 are held by Cambridge Investment Incorporated.

U.S. east coast hit with sub-zero wind chill hitting -34C
Saturday's cold snap has been called unsafe because it will make it easier for people to experience hypothermia and frostbite. Sunday, cautioning residents to expect "dangerously cold wind chills" ranging from 15 below zero to 25 below zero.

Traders Secrets on Oasis Petroleum Inc. (OAS), Discovery Communications, Inc. (DISCK)
Whitebox Advsrs Ltd Liability has invested 0.01% in Oasis Petroleum Inc . (NYSE: OAS ) has an average volume of 10.67 Million. Public Employees Retirement System of OH grew its stake in shares of Oasis Petroleum by 14.5% during the third quarter.

Trump fights fake news with awards for 'most dishonest & corrupt media'
DeMille Award , saying "There was one performance this year that stunned me - it sank its hooks in my heart". ABC News incorrectly claiming Trump ordered Michael Flynn to contact Russian officials while a candidate.