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Kepler's 'Alien Megastructure' Star, still baffles Science

Quantum

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Last fall, astronomers were surprised when the Kepler mission reported some anomalous readings from KIC 8462852 (aka. Tabby’s Star). After noticing a strange and sudden drop in brightness, speculation began as to what could be causing it – with some going so far as to suggest that it was an alien megastructure. Naturally, the speculation didn’t last long, as further observations revealed no signs of intelligent life or artificial structures.

But the mystery of the strange dimming has not gone away. What’s more, in a paper posted this past Friday to arXiv, Benjamin T. Montet and Joshua D. Simon (astronomers from the Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Caltech and the Carnegie Institute of Science, respectively) have shown how an analysis of the star’s long-term behavior has only deepened the mystery further.

To recap, dips in brightness are quite common when observing distant stars. In fact, this is one of the primary techniques employed by the Kepler mission and other telescopes to determine if planets are orbiting a star (known asTransit Method). However, the “light curve” of Tabby’s Star – named after the lead author of the study that first detailed the phenomena (Tabetha S. Boyajian) – was particularly pronounced and unusual.

http://www.universetoday.com/130213/tabbys-star-megastructure-mystery-continues-intrigue/



So, everyone remembers Tabby's star, the wierd star, which was thought to have a Dyson sphere around it. Then, it was eventually dismissed by comet cloud theory. Well, now after a long term obsrvation (results above), we will have to rule out comets. No one is saying it out loud, but it looks more like 'Alien Megastructures'.

Cant wait for the James Webb scope to check this out!


We spent a long time trying to convince ourselves this wasn’t real," one of the researchers, Ben Montet from Caltetch, told Maddie Stone over at Gizmodo. "We just weren’t able to."



But basically what Kepler saw was KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby's star, dimming at such an incredible rate that it can't solely be explained by any of the leading hypotheses we had: comet swarms, or the effects of a warped star.



For the first 1,000 days Kepler was observing the star, that diminishing wasn't too extreme - the star dropped in luminosity by about 0.34 percent per year. But over the next 200 days, the star dimmed more than 2 percent before levelling off. In total, the star lost around 3 percent of its total luminosity during the four-year period.
http://www.sciencealert.com/we-just-got-even-weirder-results-about-the-alien-megastructure-star
 

bartypus

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Amazing thread , shame it hasnt more replies.

I find this stuff amazing and i enjoy your contributions Quantum.

As to what this could be i have no idea, but the possabilities are amazing
 

euroking

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Though it would be awesome to be able to conclude that this is the work of aliens, I very much doubt it.

Just because we can't explain it by any known natural phenomenon to us, doesn't mean that it in fact is just that: a natural phenomenon.
 

dhamy pur

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A Dyson Sphere would be built over time, not be an instantaneous construct. As such, the reason Dyson Sphere fits as an answer to what's going on is the way the dimming is happening over time and continuing to grow in strength.

The theory is the the Dyson Sphere is in the process of being built, and not yet complete.
 

full monty

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A Dyson Sphere is great science fiction and nothing more. Wouldn't it be more feasible for an alien civilization to find another habitable world instead of building an unbelievably large structure around a star? Seems like it would be easier to pack up and move instead of harvesting and manufacturing all the material needed to construct something of this magnitude.
 

Bi Ciuin

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is it even possible to build such a structure around a Star?

Would the system it resides in even have enough mass and material to build around it?
 

euroking

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is it even possible to build such a structure around a Star?

Would the system it resides in even have enough mass and material to build around it?
I dont think it would be possible in our own system, but if you have the technology to build a Dyson sphere to begin with who knows what tech you have to make it happen.
 

Art

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I don't know what the fuss is about. So the star dimmed by a few percent over the course of a few years. That is no big deal. I can think of several things off the top of my head which could cause that and none involve aliens.

For starters it could be a change in diet; if the star is coming to the end of its hydrogen burning phase its fusion core is dampened by the increased helium levels which reduces the amount of hydrogen fusion and so the amount of energy produced, resulting in dimming. An excessively fast decline in energy output could be because of other 'impurities' gathered by the star as it formed resulting in greater than 'expected' dampening. This would also explain flickering as pockets of other elements briefly burst into fusion before burning away.

Alternatively the star might have recently swallowed a large body and is suffering from indigestion. The ingestion of such a body would temporarily cool the outer layer of the star while also blocking photon emission and matter blown back into a low orbit of the star would create a cloud effect which would also result in a perceived dimming.

The simplest solution could be there is a dust field of varying density passing between us and the star.

What it categorically isn't is an alien megastructure.
 
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