Comet Swarms or Alien Megastructures? The Strange Variations of the Star KIC 8462852

A star with unusual changes in brightness was discovered the Kepler Mission Planet Hunters. This star is called KIC 8462852 or "Tabby’s star" and has strange irregular dips in brightness and also seemed to be getting fainter over the last 4 years.

6914 Views | Published on 12th Jan, 2017

A star with unusual changes in brightness was discovered the Kepler Mission Planet Hunters.

This star is called KIC 8462852 or "Tabby’s star" and has strange irregular dips in brightness and also seemed to be getting fainter over the last 4 years. The object is slightly brighter than the Sun and is more than 1400 light years away. The variations and dimming are hard to explain. One idea is that a swarm of comets has been disrupted near KIC 8462852 causing variable eclipses of the star. Other explanations have been proposed including the presence of a massive astro engineering project or megastructure constructed by aliens.

Besides numerous follow up studies using a variety of telescopes, the scientists at the SETI institute were very interested in investigating the latter idea and studied the star using the Allen Telescope Array for radio frequencies and several other facilities for optical observations.

What is the cause of KIC 8462852’s strange behavior? Tune into the Afternoon Astronomy Coffee Hangout to find out!

NOTE: During this hangout we will be observing KIC 8462852 (Tabby's Star), so people can look at http://setiquest.info.

Link to article discussed in hangout:
http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.3847/0004-637X/825/2/155/meta;jsessionid=C6F6ED977A234208A1677CC8703DAFF9.c4.iopscience.cld.iop.org

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astronomy space cosmology Tabbys star kepler space telescope KIC 8462852 alien megastructure dyson sphere comet swarm exoplanets life in the universe astro coffee

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