KIC 8462852: The Plot Thickens | Summary and Q&A

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September 18, 2021
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John Michael Godier
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KIC 8462852: The Plot Thickens

TL;DR

Tabby's Star, also known as KIC8462852, has exhibited inexplicable behavior with strange light curves and dimming events, leading to speculation about the existence of alien megastructures. However, further observations and data suggest alternative explanations such as fine dust and cold comets. Other stars with similar anomalies have also been discovered, deepening the mystery.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What makes Tabby's Star so mysterious and intriguing to scientists?

Tabby's Star has unusual light curves, showing dips in brightness of up to 22%, which cannot be easily explained by natural phenomena. This has led to the speculation of alien megastructures as a possible cause for these anomalies.

Q: What are the alternative explanations for the irregular light curves of Tabby's Star?

Further observations and studies suggest that the irregular light curves can be attributed to the presence of fine dust and the disintegration of cold comets around the star. These explanations challenge the previous alien megastructure hypothesis.

Q: What is the significance of the long-term dimming events exhibited by Tabby's Star?

Tabby's Star has shown gradual dimming over the past century, indicating an increasing amount of dust surrounding the star. The source of this dust and its replenishment remain a mystery, as natural processes would take much longer to exhibit such effects.

Q: Are there other stars with similar anomalous behavior?

Yes, other stars such as HD139139 and VVV WIT08 have shown unusual light curves and dimming events, further deepening the mystery and raising questions about the nature of these anomalies.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Tabby's Star, also known as KIC8462852, has intrigued scientists and astronomers due to its strange light curves and dips in brightness of up to 22%, leading to speculation about alien megastructures.

  • Initial explanations for the peculiar light curves fell short, leading to the consideration of the alien hypothesis. However, subsequent ground observations and studies revealed the presence of fine dust as a possible cause.

  • The star has also exhibited long-term dimming events, contrary to its classification as a type F main sequence star, raising questions about the increasing amount of dust surrounding it and the source of its generation.

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