The mystery of Tabby’s Star deepens


Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

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.

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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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