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The mysterious dust surrounding Tabby’s Star

New studies of Tabby’s Star suggest that the dust clouds that cause it to fluctuate in brightness in apparently random ways are unusual and baffling in their own right.

[I]t appears that the dimming of Tabby’s star comes not from large objects such as swarms of asteroids, comets, or alien solar collectors, but from drifting bands of dust particles. But like any good mystery, it’s not quite that simple.

Each of the four dimming events observed in 2017 affected red and blue light differently, suggesting that they involved dust particles of different sizes. And the long-term brightness changes appear to be associated with much larger grains. “So the dust cloud is extremely complex,” Bodman says. “Each dip is a different kind of dust … What we’re seeing is different parts of the [dust] cloud as they pass in front of the star.”

A first guess, probably wrong, is that the four dimming events were caused by dust streams orbiting the star at different distances, each a different patchy ring around the star made up of slightly different materials.

And if you accept my guess as right, I also have bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you. Real cheap too!

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

 
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

 
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

 
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

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