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Is the "alien megastructure" around Tabby's Star actually a ringed gas giant?

Bringing some of the mysteries of the universe a little closer to home.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:48 pm

KIC 8462852 (aka. Tabby's Star) continues to be a source of both fascination and controversy. Ever since it was first seen to be undergoing strange and sudden dips in brightness (in October of 2015) astronomers have been speculating as to what could be causing this. Since that time, various explanations have been offered, including large asteroids, a large planet, a debris disc or even an alien megastructure.

The latest suggestion for a natural explanation comes from the University of Antioquia in Colombia, where a team of researchers have proposed that both the larger and smaller drops in brightness could be the result of a ringed planet similar to Saturn transiting in front of the star. This, they claim, would explain both the sudden drops in brightness and the more subtle dips seen over time.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:03 pm

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Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This illustration shows a star behind a shattered comet. Observations of the star KIC 8462852 by NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes suggest that its unusual light signals are likely from dusty comet fragments, which blocked the light of the star as they passed in front of it in 2011 and 2013. The comets are thought to be traveling around the star in a very long, eccentric orbit.

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Owlscrying
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Unread post Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:11 pm



Tabby's Star — officially known as KIC 8462852 — is acting weird, again. Recent reports indicate it has started to dim in brightness. That's what Tabby's star does — it dims.

The astronomers used Kepler to study the luminosity of the star, and found that it dipped by about 0.34% per year during the first 1,000 days of observations, then dipped by more than 2% over the course of the next 200 days.

 
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