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The Alien Megastructure Mystery Gets Weirder


Earlier this year astronomers found our Galaxies strangest star, KIC 8462852, a star that exhibited rapid changes in brightness over a short period of time. This led astronomers to suspect an orbiting alien megastructure. 

Closer research at the time had determined that the phenomena was not the suspected alien megastructure, and was rather a swarm of comets that surrounded the star.  Using observations from using observations from the Kepler Space telescope astronomers had noted the star had dimmed by 14 percent in just over a century.

New evidence from Kepler is still showing strange and unexplained phenomena around KIC 8462852 (otherwise known as Tabby’s star); “Our highly accurate measurements over four years demonstrate that the star really is getting fainter with time. It is unprecedented for this type of star to slowly fade for years, and we don’t see anything else like it in the Kepler data.” says the team, from Caltech, in a statement.

“This star was already completely unique because of its sporadic dimming episodes. But now we see that it has other features that are just as strange, both slowly dimming for almost three years and then suddenly getting fainter much more rapidly,” note astronomers, from the Carnegie Institute of Science.

“It’s a big challenge to come up with a good explanation for a star doing three different things that have never been seen before,” Montet added. “But these observations will provide an important clue to solving the mystery of KIC 8462852.”

The current belief is that the massive breakup of planetary and comet debris could be causing the dimming, the brightening, and the rapid transitions between the both. Unfortunately, until we get a better look at Tabby’s star, we won’t be able to conclude exactly what is going on.

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