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CosmosUp | November 23, 2017

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KIC 8462852 Star Mystery Just Got Even Deeper

By | On + -

In a relatively distant place, approximately 1,480 light years away from Earth, sits one of the most controversial objects in our galaxy, KIC 8462852, as its dubbed, clearly becomes the primary subject of much ongoing research.

The star KIC 8462852 is apparently a completely-ordinary main sequence star, much like our sun, with no spectral peculiarities and no emission lines or anything unusual; Its located in the constellation Cygnus, appearing in the original field studied with the NASA’ Kepler spacecraft.

But this star catch our attention being in the news recently for unexplained and strange behavior, too odd even by the generous standards of cosmic phenomena.

The Planet Hunters project discovered in the Kepler light curve that KIC 8462852 displays a unique series of aperiodic dips in brightness, the star faded by 0.2%–20% with duration from a day to weeks — such fast variations of a single main sequence star are inexplicable.

In September 2015 astronomers and citizen scientists associated with the project uploaded a paper on arXiv describing the data and possible interpretations of KIC 8462852 behavior.

Since the paper was published, scientists have been speculating on what could be causing such irregular dips. Yale University researcher Tabetha Boyajian, who first spotted KIC 8462852 signals, published a study which describes various scenarios to explain the dipping events observed in the Kepler light curve. But lately, most of the proposed scenarios are ruled out due to the lack of evidence.

We’d never seen anything like this star,

said Boyajian.

It was really weird. We thought it might be bad data or movement on the spacecraft, but everything checked out.

Leading hypothesisBoyajian consider scenarios where the dust originated in a catastrophic collision in an asteroid belt, a giant impact between planets, and a family of comets. Most of the proposed scenarios are ruled out due to the lack of any infrared excess.

Bodman & Quillen investigate the idea of a comet family, but find that they need implausibly-large comets in large numbers, plus a contrived disruption history. Further, the comet hypothesis cannot explain many of the dip light curves.

The most intriguing hypothesis but still a possibility was that this star is home to a technologically sophisticated society that has constructed a so-called Dyson sphere that block light from the star. But the Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, SETTI, trained its Allen Telescope Array on the star for more than two weeks, and ruled out an alien structure.

The history of astronomy tells us that every time we thought we had found a phenomenon due to the activities of extraterrestrials, we were wrong.

Institute astronomer Seth Shostak said then.

But although it’s quite likely that this star’s strange behaviour is due to nature, not aliens, it’s only prudent to check such things out.

 But earlier this month, the world’s top alien-hunting astronomer refused to rule out the possibility of extraterrestrial megastructure orbiting KIC 8462852 star. Also at that time, SETTI’ researchers states that they were unable to disprove the theory that a massive artificial structure is causing the mysterious light patterns spotted around the distant star.

Something pretty amazing is going on around KIC 8462852 star

Astronomers Bradley E. Schaefer from Louisiana State University takes a different approach to find out more about this star. He looked over a collection of sky photographs in the archives at Harvard College Observatory, a collection which covers the entire sky from 1890 to 1989.

Then he measured 131 magnitudes of KIC 8462852 star from 1890–1989. Results? The star appears to be dimming slowly, over the course of the past century;

KIC 8462852 star displays a secular dimming at an average rate of 0.164 magnitudes per century. This century-long dimming is unprecedented for any main sequence star. Such stars should be very stable in brightness, with evolution making for changes only on time scales of many millions of years.

Previously, the only evidence that KIC 8462852 was unusual in any way was a few dips in magnitude as observed by one satellite, so inevitably we have to wonder whether the whole story is just some problem with Kepler

commented Schaefer.

Implication Within the various dust-occultation ideas, there is some quantity of dust required to create the one deepest dip of 20%: Boyajian and Thompson calculate that the comet family scenario requires 648,000 giant-comets (each with 200 km diameter) to create the century-long fading, all orchestrated to pass in front of the star within the last century — this can be compared to the entire mass of the Kuiper Belt in our own Solar System.

I do not see how it is possible for something like 648,000 giant-comets to exist around one star, nor to have their orbits orchestrated so as to all pass in front of the star within the last century.

said Schaefer.

So I take this century-long dimming as a strong argument against the comet-family hypothesis to explain the Kepler dips.

So what is going on with this star? We don’t know, we still scratching our heads, I think. It’s a mystery, but an amazing one.

The aliens idea may make this seem silly, but the data are real. Something is going on around KIC 8462852 star. I don’t know what it might be, but what I can guarantee is that when we do figure it out, it’ll be something pretty amazing.

said Phil Plait, Slate’s Bad Astronomy blogger.

Article by A. Ali Appeared first on ©CosmosUp  



Comments


  1. Richard Colbert

    I have a different theory based on Alien Technology…..actually I have two!

    Theory #1: There is an actual Dyson Sphere around the star, but the sphere itself is rotating (much like planets would) and thus would explain the irregularities in the light dips.

    Theory #2: An alien race built a giant satellite with something similar to a solar sail that they can move (as needed) and position in front of upcoming Solar Flares. This also would explain the wide variance in Light Dips.


    • Elias

      I like your theory #1 but would add that not only is it rotating but it is in the process of being completed and that explains the changes of the last century.

      Either that or the alien intelligence is using the sun as a power source causing the variation.


    • Christopher M. Gardner

      The sphere would need some means to absorb and circulate the energy emissions from the star or else the creatures would bake themselves. Maybe a series of large gaps could help but having a solid shell around a star would surely destroy life, not grow it.


      • Jeroen De Dauw

        No one is suggesting a solid shell. Then we’d not be able to see the star… well, presumably you’d get infrared from the shell. There are many variations on the original shell concept, such as swarms, rings and all kinds of combinations. Leaving gaps is besides the point for getting rid of heat.


      • Christopher M. Gardner

        Good point on the heat signatures. Even the most efficient and effect use of solar energy would show visible light or heat changes in the material used for the shell. A species capable of building a network large enough to encase a star system might have means to create feedback to the star. What’s more sci-fi?
        I am thinking about the way our planet and star absorb cosmic energy via magnetic field. The idea is a bit over the top.


      • Nam Nguyen

        Well … we’re assuming a) physics laws are only ones we know of, and b) “they” only know the kind of physics we know. Years ago we “knew” motion would be absolute and didn’t know about the energy-mass conversion E=mc2. I mean, if “they” caused the dimming of their star, it might well have been the case they extracted 20% of the number of photons into a different dimension, instead of the Dyson Sphere solar panels, as far as the aliens-theory could go.


    • Geo

      Maybe the blips are just times when something was blocking the light, like debris or gas clouds…?


  2. Terence mc sweeney

    I have a theory one that you might not really think possible. What if this star has its own set of rings much like Saturn only these sets of rings are much much more massive in both volume and mass also giving way to an irregular orbiting sets of ring an eccentric orbit. This too would explain the highly inexplicable and very unusual dimming of 20% of the stars light..


    • Rudolf

      (y)


    • Scott

      Great idea. But another star was discovered with a huge ring system orbiting it and the data coming in allowed the researchers to model the ring system band by band. Google giant ring system exoplanet. You will find the aarticle. The dips on this star are irregular.


    • Rob

      I like your concept of looking for natural phenomena first. I suspect there is a dim companion star in front with planets and moons causing the dimming


    • Christopher M. Gardner

      How are the rings so unstable they cannot form planets though?


      • Aramis Erak

        A ring system should be one or more of
        1) very low density
        2) inside the roche limit of the body orbited
        3) slowly clumping

        A ring is inherently “unstable”, but on a solar system scale, “unstable” can mean tens of millions of years before changing which clade it falls under.

        Cassini, with a cross section of about 4x4m, hit 680 dust particles per second at 20 km/s while crossing saturn’s rings… so 4x4x20000*particlesPerCubicMeter=680… so about 320 k cubic meters per second, that’s one particle per 470.558 (approximately) cubic meters. Or about 2,125,000 particles per cubic kilometer. Pretty thin. (but considerably more than the interplanetary medium.)


  3. Mike Lorrey

    Not an expert on Kepler, but what is the chance that it’s data on this star is due to transient semiconductor behavior on the Kepler CCD cameras pixel that observes that perticular star?


    • Ray Winters

      Why ONLY this star?


  4. Brian

    I find it a bit strange that the scientists would say that it just couldn’t possibly be so many comets. Why not? Why not have 648,000 comets around one star. Do we really know ALL there is to know about comets? Have we even seen comets outside of our own system? (That’s an honest question, I really have no idea if astronomers have or not.) Perhaps I’m just ignorant of the facts when it comes to comets. I dunno. But perhaps they’re not comets…perhaps they’re not a dyson sphere…perhaps it’s not anything we know about…perhaps it’s something we just don’t know what it is. That’s possible too right?


    • John Blernt

      Why would you find it strange that a group of folks who do this for a living made an educated assertion?


    • Matthew Hoyt

      All those comets would also have to have passed between us and KIC 8462852 within the last century. I think they’re saying the odds are so high that they ruled it out


      • jelink

        Say what? the star is more than a thousand light years away!

        And, exactly WHO has been keeping track of the stars luminosity over the last century?


    • Arsen

      Article states: “Most of the proposed scenarios are ruled out due to the lack of any infrared excess.” I guess that is why the comet hypothesis was discarded.

      I agree with you… universe is such a weird and awesome place, it could be just about anything and us having no idea about it wouldn’t surprise me at all!


  5. Chris Thompson

    Great post! This was a very interesting read. Keep up the good work and I wish you all the best.-Chris Thompson


  6. Wayne King

    How much better will the data be with the new James Webb Telescope?


    • Ali

      Not so much …. And I really don’t think NASA will aim JWST toward this star. I really don’t know why there is so little interest in this topic (referring to science community)… This could be our lifetime discovery that will go through whole generations.

      I think that SETII will find something soon…. and it will be epochal.


  7. Ron Cole

    Where’s the real photo? Pics or it doesn’t exist.


    • Lara Krašovec

      The star is approximately 1,480 light years away from Earth, so I guess there are no photos of this star other than artist’s ilustrations. That happens pretty often. A lot of objects that we are talking about are just to far to take their photos by the telescope. And if scientists were somehow able to do it, I think we would know by now exactly what is orbiting the star KIC 8462852. :)
      However, awesome post! I really enjoyed reading it. Well, I have heard about the ‘mistery of the star KIC 8462852’ months ago, and I’m surprised that we still have no idea what is actually going on in that solar system. If scientists haven’t made any mistakes using Kepler Telescope, and there is not just a bunch of asteroids or comets orbiting that star, it must have been something we have never seen before.


      • Nam Nguyen

        I thought Hubble would have the ability to take pictures of it. No?


    • Ali

      We saw Pluto only when New horizons pass by and Pluto is really close to us…. Its just 0.0005 light years away. So How could we see a star that is 1500 light years?


      • geokstr

        Because Pluto is cold, dark and tiny, while stars are immense, super hot and intensely bright. Even so, we can see Pluto from the earth with both land and space based telescopes. We can see stars that are thousands of light years away with the naked eye, as well as galaxies that millions of light years away.

        Uh, this is all really kind of basic stuff. Do you have any education in science at all?


      • MFischer

        Because even with modern instruments, that star at that distance is a dimensionless point of light, which is not much to show a photo of. Any apparent dimension in a photograph of a star is an artifact of the telescope or camera. We measure the star’s light output and spectrum, which tell us many things, but to the eye there’s not much to see.


  8. Doc Lo

    Progressive dimming over time indicates ongoing construction…


    • Ali

      Yes…. Its also my theory.


    • Nam Nguyen

      Or the photons are being siphoned to somewhere else … on a massive scale.


  9. Zanstel

    Has been discarted that the objects that absorb the light are not near us instead of orbiting this system?

    Perhaps is a group of objects in oort cloud that pass in front of this star. That will explain why there is no infrared and the apparent big size of the objects (really a lot near to us).

    But if this hypothesis was true, other stars in the route of these hypothetical bodies, should dim as well.


  10. Peter Teoh

    I think the periodic dip is caused by the interception of signals by another object – possible in between the star and earth, perhaps a few blackholes in between, that causes the steep absorption of signals before reaching the earth.


    • Ali

      Good point but if its so, then why we could see the close stars to that star normally,,, why only this star present so crazy behavior?


      • Jason

        Because we don’t know everything about the universe if we did we would probably be traversing it already.


  11. Ron Cole

    Humans have a very poor history of dealing with the unknown. Every time we see something we can’t quickly explain, magical thinking takes over. Everything from lightening to erupting volcanoes have been ‘explained’ to be the actions of an angry god. Several instances of what is actually just bad luck become associated with the breaking of a mirror or spilling salt accidentally. Sadly, even among the highly educated people the observation of an inexplicable thing or event becomes quickly attached to notions of ‘alien mega-structures’ or ‘disruptions in the time/space fabric’ when there is no evidence of any such things.

    All that is known is that a star is dimming periodically and unpredictably, the true explanation of this is probably going to turn out to be something pretty boring, like a line of dense clouds of uninteresting gas that are coincidentally aligned between us and that star causing it to dim. Very much like a partly cloudy day here on Earth when the sunlight coming in our windows brightens and dims frequently just because of the clouds… no big deal.

    There may be no evidence that there is no Dyson sphere but there is also no evidence that it’s not a huge armada of Star Destroyers from the Galactic Empire passing in front of that star. There is also no evidence that it’s not a huge herd of purple space cows performing a star worshiping dance. There is also no evidence that it’s not the lost spacecraft ‘Jupiter II’ an the Robinson family isn’t sending a coded message to Earth by blocking the light from that star in a form of Morse code to let us know where they are.

    Absence of evidence stirs the Human imagination, as well as our fantasies and delusions.


    • Phelps

      Clouds of “uninteresting gas” that absorbed that much energy would heat up and start giving off black body radiation. We aren’t seeing that black body radiation.


    • Dave

      The problem is, any natural object more massive than ~5*10^20kg (between the asteroids Vesta and Ceres) inevitably collapses under its own gravity into a solid sphere. That means that any natural object of sufficient area to block 20% of a star’s light would be so massive as to be a star in its own right, easily detectable from Earth.

      The eclipses are neither identical nor periodic, so each one was made by a different object.

      KIC 8462852 is spinning very rapidly, making its poles much brighter than its equator, so you could block 20% of its light by covering 5% of its visible surface. That’s still a very large planet.

      On the other hand, a giant solar panel could cover a vast area with very little mass because it is extremely thin. The failure of the SETI search only means that KIC 8462852 is not emitting radio waves in our direction.

      Perhaps a giant comet passed across the face of the star with its long tail pointing straight at us and deflecting much of the star’s light away from our line of sight. A comet can’t maintain such a tail for very long before it melts away to nothing, so this star must have a *lot* of comets for this to be a regular occurrence.

      It would be great if we could catch one of these eclipses with a spectrometer; that would give a much clearer picture of what’s happening here.


      • CFO

        How likely is it that an advanced civilization uses radiowaves for communication? Sounds ridiculus..


      • Dave

        How likely is it that an advanced civilization uses radio waves for communication?

        Nothing beats radio waves for long-distance wireless communication. They propagate at the maximum possible speed and penetrate anything that is not electrically conductive, such as interstellar dust that is opaque to shorter wavelengths. They can be generated and detected efficiently, and focused very precisely with a parabolic dish. If you amplify visible light, you’re soon counting individual photons. Not a problem with radio, because the feeblest signal contains billions of photons.

        Our best radio telescopes today could communicate with a similar device 15,000 light-years away, if we knew exactly where to point it and what frequency to use. Satellites in a Dyson swarm must send each other messages all the time, and tiny indecipherable bits of this traffic would leak our direction, but when you’re eight orders of magnitude farther away than the intended recipient (the distance to KIC 8462852 being about 100 million AU), the signal gets sixteen orders of magnitude weaker!


    • Nilgün Esen

      No need for negativity. Humans are who they are, so what if they believe in magic? if you are a highly educated person, then you maybe understand that highly educated people does not give you the guarantee for the behaviour you probably desire or expect


  12. Louis K Turner

    Does somebody know how do we look in the solar system from another distant star? We have an asteroid belt, a Kuiper Belt, an Oort cloud, and who knows what else out there!


  13. RTD

    Perhaps the artificial object is draining energy from the star for use by whomever built it. Would not this account for the slow steady drop in its energy level?


    • Phelps

      It’s more likely that the artificial object is just getting bigger and obscuring more of the star over time.


  14. Fish

    Well, the Oort cloud is an assumption (theory) – not a proven reality – unlike the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is a theory to try to answer “how can we have asteroids without an asteroid belt?” We see an asteroid belt, so their must be an asteroid belt (or cloud) we cant yet see! Since we are unable to pinpoint the origination of asteroids from mid-space to inner-space, things that are irregular, just like Ron Cole says, leads to imagination, rather than scientific reality.


  15. egoist

    Electric Sky. Stars are merely arc welders in the sky, excited by plasma (Burklin currents). They flicker. The sun could literally go out tomorrow. Good day.


    • AstroHipster

      We observe thousands of stars similar to our sun and have never seen one simply going out for no reason. Stars explode, but generally they are very old, big ones and it takes place over a long period of time. There are variable stars but our sun is not of that type. Aliens might hit our sun with some star-buster type device (a la Death Star) but I wouldn’t hold my breath.


  16. Joseph Mendes

    What if it is not a “Dyson Sphere”, but a group of small habitable áreas floating around the local star? This if there are or was some kind of civilisation in that área.
    The comet theory is strange to me. Imagine milions of objects “flying” together all in the same direction, same orbit. Eventualy, they whould touch each other and create a planet or a proto-planet.
    On the other end, if it is a group of comets, them the theories of the our solar system formation need to be to reviewed.


  17. Bob Druwing

    What I find interesting is that nearly everyone here, including the author of the original article, has made at least one spelling error in their writing. I find it hard to respect the opinions about scientific phenomena of those who can’t even spell correctly.


    • Einstein never mispelled a word ever

      science = english … gg


      • Bob Druwing

        Being a mathematician, Einstein understood the importance of every single symbol used being accurate. If one changes a symbol, one changes the meaning. I would not doubt if, in haste, Einstein occasionally made an error, but he was known for spending very long periods of time thinking about a problem before writing about it, so he had a very clear vision of what he wanted to write before he wrote. In any case, I doubt Einstein published his misspellings.


    • John Blernt

      Goodness, what a tremendous point, Bob. Highly noteworthy. Yet another stunning contribution to our discernment of truth. Keep thinking, Bob! For God’s sake, man, don’t stop thinking! Don’t stop using that exceptional mind of yours for the betterment of society, because without you, the world will continue to misspell key words, such as “Bob” (e.g., boB), eventually bringing about our ultimate destruction from no less than Satan herself. So, thank you, boB; thank you for just being you!


  18. Paul

    Could the structure actually much closer to earth? Maybe a 50 or so light years away? Lone black hole? A Noah’s Ark? Romulan Warbird?


  19. John

    why could it not be a comet belt that slowly have been fading in position between the earth and the star? I don’t think that a kupiter-like belt could be around that star as well?


    • John

      I don’t think that it is impossible that a kupiter-like belt could be around the star as well!*


  20. Jack Lacton

    The thing is 1480 light years from Earth, which means that what we’re looking at happened 1480 years ago and that means if it is an advanced civilization they’ll be even more advanced by now. Luckily for us, if they’re looking our way then they won’t see anything but a dark planet. For them it’ll be another 1400 years or so before our energy signal becomes detectable.


    • Bob

      Unless an Einstein rosenbridge exists between they and we. Or perhaps they use their Dyson sphere to power a device which can warp space time in order to facilitate intergalactic/interstellar travel in a single direction or maintains the integrity of the rosenbridge. Perhaps there are many of these charging stations across the universe powering such travel for but a small fee.


  21. Jack67

    It’s a shame the idea of aliens is regarded as “silly.” It might be improbable, based on past findings, but we’ve only examined a tiny fraction of the stars in our own galaxy; few options should be regarded as “silly.” Dismissing a reasonable possibility (and life elsewhere is completely reasonable) as silly is exactly how poor science is done.

    True, a natural phenomenon is most likely — but those odds are based on our small sampling of other stars. And the fact that SETI didn’t find anything doesn’t prove much; they’re just examining a relatively small spectrum, based on our human constructs. An alien race that can manipulate its solar system is likely thousands of years ahead of us and, if they ever did use radio, it’s possible they replaced it with better communication methods (quantum entanglement?) many thousands of years ago.


  22. Adrian

    Very interesting article. But…did no one edit this? It’s filled with grammatical mistakes. I expect more from professional writers, particularly ones writing science-based articles.


    • Bob

      Agree. It reads like something translated from a foreign language by a bad translator.


  23. Kevin

    I agree with Richard Colbert, it could be a giant solar sail. The fluctuations are due to tacking (a sailing technique of crossing back and forth) and they are on there way here. The closer the interstellar ship is getting to us, the more light that is being blocked by the sail. Would make a great sifi movie and is plausible.


  24. Bob

    Maybe NASA isnt looking into this cause they already know exactly what it is and is trying to lead us away from that fact by trying to get us interested in something else just like the government does here on earth.


    • Jordan

      NASA can’t even even reuse rockets like the infant spaceX. I don’t think they are as high on the pedestal as you may imagine..


  25. Ryan

    In less than 100 year the human race has about 2,500 artificial satellites buzzing around the planet. I can imagine in another hundred years that number will multiply many times with potentially even large space craft and space stations added to that mix. If an alien civilization turned a telescope to earth during that time, they may be puzzled by the way the light seems to be sporadically dimming and over a century the build of of space junk would cause a gradual increase in the amount of light that is being blocked. It’s not difficult to imagine an extraterrestrial civilization more than a thousand years ahead of us has accumulated a large amount of artificial satellites orbiting their star, whether to harvest the energy or for some other purpose it is an interesting thought.


  26. Matt Kramer

    How does seti rule this out. Because an alien race might not use radio waves to communicate.
    Any alien race that advanced would most like use light packets to communicate information
    What if this is was a very dense slow moving neutron star from a failed binary twin


  27. BeckoningChasm

    Actually, any aliens who built this structure wouldn’t be “aliens” if they’ve always lived there. They’d be natives.


  28. Rich B

    Donald Trump will make this star great again.

    No seriously, this is fascinating.


  29. Skeezix

    Where’s the effin pics?


  30. Andre Cornelis

    Could this star or some orbiting planets have enormous vulcanic activity and as such creating irregular dust?


  31. George Noory

    I’m not saying it’s aliens, but it’s aliens.


  32. Bernie

    Obviously, the star was taken over by socialists and it is now experiencing energy shortages and rolling blackouts.


  33. Andrew

    The title for this article “JUST GOT DEEPER” made me think something new/worthwhile had happened or been discovered. But the info here is about 5 months old…

    Disappointing. Misleading title.


  34. Alura

    Looks like a Deathstar. I hope the force is with us!


  35. Ray Van Dune

    It’s a shame the idea of aliens is regarded as “silly”….

    Indeed I still get irritated by the “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” attitude. Not a UFO believer per se, but puzzled at how so many supposed scientists dismiss the possibility of UFOs. Everything we have learned since 1950 makes it MORE likely aliens exist, but a lot of peoples’ brains are still parked back there!


  36. effinayright

    All these comments, and not one referring to “Occam’s Razor”, which admonishes us not to multiply hypotheses unnecessarily.

    Also, there’s a whole lotta of “Arguments from Ignorance”…”if it’s not a Dyson Sphere, tell me what else COULD it be?”

    Listen up: scientists do NOT have stellar evolution completely figured out. They see new and “unexplained” things all the time. To attribute an “unexplained” observation as a Dyson Sphere is nothing more than Conclusion-Jumping , on a Cosmic Olympic scale.

    “Unexplained” doesn’t mean “unexplainable”. As An Astro 101 example, consider how puzzled 19th century astromomers were about variable stars: what could possibly explain that kind of weird behavior?


  37. Andy

    Absolutely impossible for it to be a Dyson sphere. They would call it something else (i.e. named after their own scientist/technician).


  38. Amano Khambata

    ‘ I do not see how it is possible for something like 648,000 giant-comets to exist around one star, nor to have their orbits orchestrated so as to all pass in front of the star within the last century. ‘

    Here is what I believe – We are witnessing the aquification proccess underway for planetary seeding of life. The entire universe conspires together to make the miracle of life an actuality = just like it did for us to be on planet earth here and now. These comets will deliver their icy payloads on a planet orbiting this very star. The fluctuations in luminosity are due to the resultant relese of water vapor obscuring the star.


  39. Raid damra

    I think the star is rotating near a black hole which absorbing it’s energy


  40. Bill

    How do we know that the light isn’t being blocked by something on the sun’s surface?
    Coronal holes are fairly common as far as I know.


  41. Paul

    The simplest explanation seems to be a ring system with inherent gaps. Those gaps give us the random major light fluctuation. Also, the rings could be made out of big boulders and not small ice grains (like for Saturn).

    The century dimming is normal, if we think about precession movement, typical for any rotating body. The ring system slowly come between us and the star, due to this movement, and in a century or so the alignment will disappear.


  42. judit

    ”such fast variations of a single main sequence star are inexplicable”

    It might be the case that such star is not main sequence star;
    other options:

    1)a white star or other system coming from a progenitor that exploded and the material released is rotating around the star

    2) an unresolved binary or multiple system of stars instead of one star whose behaviour might be unique or peculiar


  43. Michael R. Watson

    There *is* some new information, though not covered in this article. Astronomer Bradley Schaefer has selected a new set of ‘check stars’, controls of constant brightness, to compare to the variations in brightness of KIC 8462852.

    He also included some new data points from near the start and finish of the series of old Harvard Observatory astrophotography plates. He finds that despite these changes, a dimming trend over the years 1890 to 1989 is still present.

    Old astrophotography plates from another observatory, in Europe, are currently being analyzed to see if they show the same century-long dimming trend.

    A century of fairly consistent dimming of the star, Dr. Schaefer feels, is inconsistent with a reasonable cometary hypothesis. It would require a extraordinary number of unusually large comets.


  44. John

    What about something in OUR outer system. Say another gas giant like Saturn out beyond the Kuiper belt, or something in the Oort cloud?


  45. Hung Huy Nguyen

    Speaking of Romulan Warbirds, maybe something is popping in & out of space, whether it’s natural or artificial. Sub Atomic particles pops in & out of our dimension all the time. Could we be seeing it on a larger scale? Or a Space Port?


  46. Nilgün Esen

    It’s great to read all the different theories. Perhaps it is something very simple, so simple, we might not take that into consideration. Maybe it is the stars nature to be irregular…..


  47. Utkarsh Johri

    As I am not knowing much about working of kepler CCD, isn’t it possible that if a star is completely blocked by any object for 20% of the exposure time of kepler camera then it will appear to be dimmed by 20%.
    Suppose we set our DSLR to image sun with exposure of 8 min during a 7 min solar eclipse, light dimming of sun would be quite large. But size of moon is not comparable that of sun. This is just happening because moon is much closer to us than sun.

    In the same way isn’t it is possible that some objects in that star’s outer system, similar to our kuiper belt objects blocking star light and dimming it quite a lot.


  48. Rick

    Maybe it’s a few planets orbits coinciding on occasion, wouldn’t that cause variations in the light?


  49. Abe Hoekstra

    Tabetha Boyajian did NOT discover the giant eclipses in the lightcurve of the star KID 8462852. That is a huge misconception.
    On Planet Hunters Sam Goodman was the first to find the first big eclipse in the 8th quarter of observations. Yours truly found the eclipses in the 16th quarter. You can check the discussion on Planet Hunters yourself.
    Tabetha observed and wrote the article months AFTER we found the eclipses, but for unknown reasons Planet Hunters does not want to acknowledge us.


  50. Charles Murray

    I think we need longer exposure to these dimming observations, what will it mean if after 10 years, the dimming forms a pattern?


  51. N. Unya

    Unfortunately the more spelling and grammar errors i encountered, the less impact the content of the article had for me.

    How can i take any conclusion seriously from a writer that can’t take three minutes to proof-read their own work?

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