Dust, not aliens, behind mysterious flickering star

An artist's concept of an

The light visible from the star follows a flickering pattern which seems like a gigantic neon signal visible near the Cygnus constellation. The star is brighter than our sun, Mike Wall reports for Space.com, but experiences some drastic dips in brightness-once even dimming up to 22 percent of its usual luminosity. Boyajian believes that source could be exocomets, the signature of which have been successfully spotted around other stars, but it's not the only explanation.

Now, a team of 200 brilliant scientists confirms the reason behind this issue via a crowdfunded astronomy project on Kickstarter.

Davenport, who did separate research on Tabby's Star in late 2017 and was among those who Boyajian notified, said his contribution was mostly alerting Morris, whose expertise in observational astronomy made him "the ideal person for doing the follow-up". After many months and four distinct dips (named Elsie, Celeste, Scara Brae and Angkor), the star was no longer visible to telescopes in the northern hemisphere. Its light fluctuations are extreme, dimming by up to 20 percent at times. The methods included spectroscopy from the 3-meter Shane telescope at the Lick Observatory, as well as the Low Resolution Imaging Spectrometer on the Keck telescopes; infrared photometry employing NEOWISE observations; polarimetry using the Kast spectropolarimeter on the 3-meter Shane telescope; and even radio SETI observations from the Allen Telescope. "Therefore, whatever is passing between us and the star is not opaque, as would be expected from a planet or alien megastructure", Boyajin said in a statement. This is similar to a hand which blocks a certain amount of light when waved before a flashlight. However, some scientists thought maybe, just maybe, we were seeing the infrastructure of an advanced alien civilization surrounding and orbiting the star.

As to what the cause behind the dimming could be, Wright offered some ideas. An orbiting planet wouldn't dim the star as much as it was dimming, and a planet would cause periodic dips each time it passed between the star and Earth. This finding negates all the speculations related to alien mega-structure or swallowing any planet. "It truly is something extraordinary". This star has a Reddit based forum too.

"It was an interesting idea to follow up on, but I don't think anyone's really upset at the claim that it is probably not what's going on", lead author Tabetha Boyajian, an astronomer at Louisiana State University, told Newsweek. The astronomer explained this diminishing of light to be caused by aliens.

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It's not aliens, but Tabby's Star remains a puzzle to astronomers.

On the other hand, Boyajian along with her colleagues prepared to take the study, a step beyond the Kepler data while watching the real-time dip in the starlight.

Boyajian said, "It's exciting". Red and blue light, for instance, have different wavelengths: blue light is much shorter and compressed whereas red light is more elongated and stretched out.

The new analysis of KIC 8462852 showing these results is to be published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. This variable dimming where more blue light is blocked than red light is what scientists would expect if something more diffuse was responsible, like clouds of dust or shattered comets, Wright explained in a blog post about the data. On top of that, the amount of dust needed should be more than the star could have churned out, which is another mystery. Our galaxy's most mysterious star is still ripe for further research.

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