Outer Space, Stars

Scientists May Have A Solution To The ‘Alien Megastructure’ Around Tabby’s Star

Earlier this year astronomers and scientists speculated around seemingly un-natural dimming of Tabby’s star. This led to a whole batch of theories including a swarm of comets, and our favorite – the alien megastructure mystery.

A new theory has recently emerged around the dimming of Tabby’s star, and it’s much more plausible. This theory posits that the star known as KIC 8462852 is fading because it is simply emitting less light.

Middle-aged F type stars (slightly bigger than our sun), have never been witnessed varying significantly in brightness over short periods of time. While initial theories suggest it could be the result of the light being blocked by an un-natural phenomena, the theories have just not held up. Especially in the wake of evidence that shows a long term decline in the star’s brightness, not just a minor dip in one time frame.

The Possible Solution To The 'Alien Megastructure' Around Tabby's Star
Infrared (RIGHT) and Ultraviolet (LEFT) images of Tabby’s star. Courtesy of University of Illinois.

A paper in Physical Review Letters shows that the star exhibits both large dips in brightness and smaller ones that appear to obey a power law; leading to a more natural conclusion.

We’ve never witnessed a middle-aged F type star at this time in it’s life, or observed it this closely. New research suggests that this may be a transition period in the stars life, possibly a magnetic transition. Kepler was not trained on Tabby’s star for long enough to collect enough data to come to a full conclusion on this event, however many other telescopes around the world (such as SETI) are picking up the slack.

If the latest paper is correct, it may take thousands of years to witness this transition occurring.

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Jamie Stevens
Jamie is an amateur astronomer and every day space geek.