Saturday, 21 May 2016 13:48

KIC 8462852

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KIC 8462852 is still in the news. KIC 8462852 is a F class star located in the constellation of Cygnus. At a magnitude 11.7, its only visible in telescopes, and is located some 1480 light years away. Often called Tabby's star after Tabetha Boyajian, the lead author on a paper investigating its unusual light curve. The star's unusual light curve was first discovered by citizen scientists as part of the Planet Hunters project examining data from the Kepler space telescope.
The light curve shows small random dips in brightness and a large dip in brightness in what appears to be around a 750 day cycle. The large dip can dim the star as much as 22%, which would take a very large object dimming almost half the star.

Several theories have been suggested including a swarm of disintegrating comets, a planetary debris field, that the star is younger than it appears, and may still have material coalescing around it, and finally, an alien mega-structure. So far, no evidence has been found supporting any of these hypothesis. Even SETI has found no signals from this star system. Follow up monitoring will hopefully shed more light on what is causing the dips in light.

One study found a long term gradual fading of the star based on a century worths of photographic plates which would be unusual for this type of star, but of course another study disputes this based on errors of extracting magnitudes from photographic plates.

 

 



My image was taken back in Oct 2015, but with Cygnus in the early morning sky now, hopefully I can revisit this interesting star.


Read 1363 times Last modified on Wednesday, 03 January 2018 15:17