- In 2015, citizen scientists found weird dimming and brightening from a star called KIC 8462852, or Tabby’s Star.
- Astronomers at the time said they couldn’t rule out alien activity as an explanation.
- However, an exhaustive new study by more than 200 astronomers mostly debunks this wild possibility.
- The mystery of Tabby’s Star remains unsolved.
The mystery of a star located about 1,300 light-years from Earth is finally coming into clearer focus — and it’s not aliens.
A strange brightening-and-dimming behavior of Tabby’s Star, or KIC 8462852, was first studied by professional astronomers in 2015. The researchers hadn’t seen anything like it, and said they could not rule out alien activity as one remote yet possible cause, such as a Dyson sphere or “alien megastructure” built around the star to harvest its energy.
“It’s been called the most mysterious star in the galaxy,” Jason Wright, an astronomer at Penn State University who’s studied Tabby’s Star, told Business Insider. “We call it the ‘WTF’ star” (an abbreviation, he added, that stands for “where’s the flux?“).
Following a crowdfunded campaign to observe Tabby’s Star in the most detail ever recorded, however, Wright and more than 200 scientists are now debunking the wildest explanation.
“There’s no reason to think aliens have anything to do with Tabby’s Star, given these data,” Wright said. He helped coauthor a new study about the star, published Wednesday in Astrophysical Journal Letters.
The most likely explanation, according to the new report, is that the phenomenon is caused by dust.
The mystery of Tabby’s Star
The weird dimming of Tabby’s Star was first detected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which stared down about 145,000 stars and measured their brightness from 2009 through 2013.
But the actual discovery was made in Read More Here