It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
Boyajian and her colleagues considered a number of possible explanations, including variations in the star's output, the aftermath of an Earth/Moon type planetary collision, interstellar clumps of dust passing between the star and earth, and some kind of disruption by the star's apparent dwarf companion. However, none of their scenarios could explain all of the observations. Their best explanation was a giant comet that fragmented into a cascade of thousands of smaller comets. (This hypothesis took a hit when the LSU study was announced because it could not explain a century-long dimming.) The Kepler telescope is no longer collecting data in the Cygnus region, but Hippke reports that the mystery has captured the imagination of amateur astronomers around the world so thousands of them are pointing their telescopes at Tabby's star, snapping images and sending them to the American Association of Variable Star Observers in hopes of detecting further dips that will shed new light on this celestial mystery.
And while they didn’t find any obvious signs of a Type II civilization or Dyson Spheres in any of them, they did find around 50 candidates that showed unusually high levels of mid-infrared radiation. The next step will be to confirm whether or not these signs are due to natural astronomical processes, or could be an indication of a highly advanced civilization tapping their parent star for energy.
A new, unpublished study posted to arXiv, reports the results of studying images of the star from the Kepler Telescope over the past four years. The paper shows shocking results: the star's luminosity varied, sometimes dipping by 20% over the course of the study period. Even more perplexingly, its total luminosity, or flux, diminished by 4% overall over that time.
"The part that really surprised me was just how rapid and non-linear [the dimming] was," study author Ben Montet of Caltech told Gizmodo. "We spent a long time trying to convince ourselves this wasn't real. We just weren't able to."