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The mystery of Tabby’s Star deepens

The uncertainty of science: New data from Kepler has made it even more difficult for scientists to explain the strange fluctuations and dimming of Tabby’s Star.

KIC 8462852, as it is more properly known, flickers so erratically that one astronomer has speculated that nothing other than a massive extraterrestrial construction project could explain its weird behaviour. A further look showed it has been fading for a century. Now, fresh analysis suggests the star has also dimmed more rapidly over the past four years – only adding to the enigma. “It seems that every time someone looks at the star, it gets weirder and weirder,” says Benjamin Montet at the California Institute of Technology, who led the study.

There are as yet no natural explanations for the star’s dimming.

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.

One comment

  • Localfluff

    Tabby’s star is a telescope malfunction. Haven’t I’ve told you here already?
    The abnormalities in the star’s light curve only occur when the telescope is oriented in the same way. Kepler turns 90 degrees four times per year to keep its shield and solar panels towards the Sun. So the abnormalities only occurred at a few pixels of the CCD. Which could’ve been damaged by cosmic rays if nothing else.

    Jason Wright has published a paper explaining how the ingress and egress of transits work for planets. The anomaly of Tabby’s star don’t fit any possible transit pattern. Not a planet, not a comet swarm, not an alien mega structure. It’s just a slight error in the telescope. I wonder how long it will take for the public astronomy community to realize this fact. But I suppose it is profitable and entertaining to keep the alien dream alive.

    KIC 8462852 is a normal healthy F-star and there’s nothing strange about it. Now in September Gaia will release detailed data about millions and millions of these stable normal Sun like stars.

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