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Normally the star is so bright it can be seen with the naked eye even by city dwellers. For all but the most rural star-gazers, though, the mystery object that eclipses the star causes it to vanish for about 18 months every 27.1 years.
Ever since the star's periodic eclipses were first recorded in 1821, astronomers have been puzzling over how Epsilon Aurigae pulls off its lengthy disappearing act.