In 2011 and 2013 the light shining from a distant star dropped by an unprecedented 20 percent. Some say the star’s brightness has been gradually dimming over the last century. Other suggest large comets, huge dust cloud or a massive alien megastructure could be blocking the light.
There is something very, very big blocking Star KIC 8462852, also known as ‘Tabby’s Star’, from Earth’s view. But nobody knows what. KIC 8463852 is located in the Cygnus constellation, about 1,480 light years from Earth.
Some say the star’s brightness has been gradually dimming over the last century. Others suggest that large comets or a huge dust cloud could be blocking the light. A number of people think a massive ‘alien megastructure’ is to blame.
New study, new questions
Results from a new study that observed Tabby’s Star over four years confirmed that the star has dimmed continuously. But this new study also reveals some new mysteries.
Astronomers Ben Montet and Joshua Simon recorded a slight decrease in light from the star at first before a dramatic plummet of 2.5 percent in just 200 days – after which the drop in light returned to a steady fade.
And astronomers couldn’t believe their eyes: The part that really surprised me was just how rapid and non-linear it was. We spent a long time trying to convince ourselves this wasn’t real. We just weren’t able to.
Tabby’s star continues to defy easy explanation.
These intriguing new findings suggest that none of the considered phenomena can alone explain the observations. Of course, the star doesn’t have to abide by our hope for a single explanation. In the end, figuring out this puzzle may require accounting for a combination of effects.