Science

The mysterious Tabby’s star has entered into another dimming phase

The mysterious Tabby’s star has entered into another dimming phase

Researchers analyze the data obtained from stars with respect to its brightness levels to determine the life cycle of a star. Every star undergoes changes in brightness levels throughout its life cycle, however, it takes ages for any star to go into another round of change in brightness. This is difficult to register since the humans cover just a minute blip on the cosmic timeline. However, a star designated as ‘KIC 8462852’ or better known as Tabby’s star has given a hard time to the astronomers. Touted as an ‘Alien Megastructure Star’, the bizarre star has a strange dimming cycle since scientists have been monitoring this bizarre star with data dating back to 2011 when it was first discovered. The star has recently entered into another all-time low dimming phase according to the findings.

Per the astronomers, one of the best way to learn about exoplanets and the planets orbiting around their own host sun is by registering dips in the brightness of distant stars. Known as Transit Photometry, observatories such as Kepler Space Observatory uses this method with which, it has discovered thousands of exoplanets and more are awaiting confirmation. Talking about the Tabby’s Star, it was first intercepted by Kepler when it observed a huge drop in brightness which continued for few days. It dropped an average 5 to 10 percent in its brightness levels at random intervals which have intrigued astronomers to study about it extensively.

Few scientists suggested that the Tabby’s Star portrays strange behavior because of aliens who could be building space platforms around it from where it was christened as ‘Alien Megastructure Star’. However, the lead author Tabetha Boyajian who studied the star first denied such hypothesis. He pointed out towards a giant dust cloud that could be a plausible reason behind the star’s unknown drop in brightness. The star is located about 1,200 light years away and it is 50% larger than the size of the Sun.

KIC 8462852 as it has been designated by the scientists, is a fascinating object which recently entered into another dimming cycle. Boyajian pulled out the data from Kepler observations from 2011 and touted that the recent dip was the largest in the series of dips registered. On March 16, the brightness dropped below normal while it reckoned up by March 22. However, it started dipping big time as on March 22 and recorded a dip of 5 to 10 percent. Historical data from Kepler has revealed that the star’s brightness dipped to a record low of 22% in the past and therefore, it is expected to fall further.

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