OCT 08, 2017 10:04 AM PDT

Has the Mystery Behind Tabby's Star Finally Been Solved?


KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby's Star, resides more than 1,200 light years away from Earth and baffles scientists every day. Astronomers typically observe starlight dips of around 1% when orbiting exoplanets transit their surface, but Tabby's Star becomes 15-22% dimmer from time to time, and astronomers can't seem to explain why.

There have been many theories, but no solid answers. One idea proposed that a high concentration of space rocks orbiting the star were behind the behavior, while another went on to suggest that a 'giant alien megastructure' was blocking the light.

Most science professionals probably laughed at the latter explanation more than they took it seriously, but new infrared and ultraviolet observations made with both space and ground-based telescopes may have ruled it out altogether.

In these observations, the ultraviolet light seemed to dip more an infrared light did, which wouldn't be possible if an alien megastructure were to blame. If it were, then scientists would expect to see similar dips in infrared light.

With the new data, astronomers now think a massive dust cloud could be behind the dimming effect, which happens every 700 days or so. Infrared light is notoriously useful for peering through dust, so this would explain why the dips can only be made out in ultraviolet light, and not infrared.

As it would seem, aliens aren't to blame for our misunderstandings of the vast universe. Nevertheless, the new findings don't solve the mystery entirely. There are still unexplained abnormalities in the starlight's brightness on a daily basis, and these have yet to be explained.

Perhaps future observations will unlock the secret...

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.
You May Also Like
NOV 05, 2018
Videos
NOV 05, 2018
The Mechanisms Underlying the Deadly Blow of the Mantis Shrimp
The mantis shrimp packs a powerful punch that can strike its enemies with one of the fastest moves in the animal kingdom....
NOV 07, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 07, 2018
Here's How Far Your Sneeze Can Travel
When you get stuck with a cold or the flu, sneezes are inevitable. But have you ever wondered how far your sneezes travel? As it turns out, your sneeze may...
NOV 14, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
NOV 14, 2018
The Remarkable Life of Marie Skłodowska Curie
November 7 was the birthday of Marie Skłodowska Curie, a pioneer of nuclear research who achieved many "firsts" in the world of science. She was...
NOV 25, 2018
Videos
NOV 25, 2018
Ongoing Ebola Outbreak in DRC Becomes Country's Worst Ever
On August 1, 2018, an Ebola outbreak was declared in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is still ongoing....
NOV 27, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 27, 2018
Here's What Makes Mars So Challenging to Land On
Humankind has sent spacecraft to a plethora of worlds in our solar system, including asteroids, comets, moons, and planets. Of all, Mars has consistently p...
DEC 01, 2018
Videos
DEC 01, 2018
Identifying Disease-causing Gene Mutations
Genetic diseases can be traced back to an error in a gene. This video explores how the process works....
Loading Comments...