AUG 01, 2017 12:47 PM PDT

Researchers Have Many Theories About the Odd Situation in the Tabby's Star System

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


Tabby's star (KIC 8462852) has been getting a lot of attention over the last few years. Some people legitimately think an ancient alien mega-structure is orbiting the star and blocking out some of its visible light, but scientists are a bit more skeptical about what's going on in this strange star system.

The confusion comes from the fact that the star's light continues to dim by extreme amounts. When planets transit a star, we can typically expect around a 1% dip in light, but researchers have noticed light drops ranging from 15-22% coming from Tabby's star.

There are several theories about what might be happening here, including planet-forming dust obstructing the light and collisions in the star system that have kicked up enough chaos to block out large amounts of light, but both seem a bit far-fetched.

Instead, researchers think that a giant planet about five times the size of Jupiter might be orbiting the star along with several Trojan asteroids, which are asteroids share an orbit with a planet. Similar activity occurs right here in our solar system in Jupiter's neighborhood, so it's not too crazy of an idea.

What's causing this strange blockage of light is still a mystery today, but it's hoped that we'll learn more soon, especially with the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope just around the corner.

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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