A distant star system called KIC 8462852, also commonly known as ‘Tabby’s Star,’ has a particularly interesting reputation for dimming sporadically. In fact, the dimming effects were so unheard of and so significant that some astronomers went as far as to suggest that some kind of ‘alien megastructure’ could have been orbiting the star to siphon its energy.
If that sounds to you like something straight out of a science fiction movie, then you’re not alone. In fact, most have already discredited the aforementioned theory, instead considering more realistic possibilities, such as an abundance of comets or space dust that obfuscates the star’s light instead.
One of the latest theories, on the other hand, considers that a Jupiter-like gas giant may have fallen into the star, leaving behind a plethora of moons, oodles of gas, and flakes of dust that now orbit Tabby’s Star in an irregular fashion to create the seemingly unpredictable dimming effects we witness today.
While it’s a far-out theory, it’s certainly more applicable than the thought of a massive alien megastructure orbiting the star. On the other hand, Tabby’s Star is the only star we know of to exhibit dimming of this scale, so no one’s entirely sure what might be causing this effect.
Observations and investigations will continue despite best efforts to explain what’s going on.