The Star That Sparked Alien Megastructure Theory Is at It Again
25 May, 2017, 00:59 | Author: Jacqueline Ellis
One of the best ways for scientists to locate and study distant stars like this is to track how they emit light - slight, periodic dips in brightness can reveal the existence of one or more large objects orbiting it in a regular fashion.
First observed by the Kepler space telescope in several years ago, KIC 8462852 (also called "Tabby's star" as a nod to astronomer Tabetha Boyajian, who decoded its signature from Kepler's data in 2015), has dimmed by as much as 22 percent since Friday morning, a dramatic behavior not previously observed in stars. Most scientists are puzzled on the irregularities of the brightness of Tabby's Star and no established explanation has been confirmed yet, according to Zee News. It was found that it dimmed over a span of seven years by nearly 22 percent, before its luminosity became normal again.
Many people have claimed the dimming is evidence of a Dyson Sphere - a hypothetical space structure that is being used by advanced alien races.
Of course, it is far from certain the star is home to any sort of alien activity, though its odd behavior has caused astronomers to scratch their heads for the past few years. All of the other dips that we know of are from historical observations, but this one is happening right now, which gives astronomers a chance to really figure out what's happening.
However, in the case of Tabby's Star, experts are now clueless as to what is causing the irrational dimming, with the possibility of aliens slowly becoming a likely scenario. In that case, common components of these materials like water and hydrogen will block specific parts of the spectrum, which we should be able to see. And by the time we realized how weird Tabby's star is, it was too late for us to get the spectrum from another telescope. This can be a challenge due to the way that telescope time is proportioned.
The Breakthrough Listen initiative, which searches for signs of intelligent life in the universe, has also taken an interest in the star and will be observing it with the Automated Planet Finder telescope at Lick Observatory in California, according to Andrew Siemion, director or the Berkeley SETI Research Center, said in the webcast.
Researchers came up with numerous hypotheses behind the mysterious behaviour of the star. "There's a palpable tension". Scientists haven't detected any radio signals coming from that direction, even since they started listening with the massive Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. At one point, the star lost almost a quarter of its radiance, an inexplicable event that earned it the "alien megastructure" name.
It was subsequently named after Louisiana-based astronomer Tabetha Boyajian, who wrote a paper about its unusual behaviour.
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