Dip in star's brightness has scientists looking for answers.
About 1,400 light years away from Earth, there sits a star not too different from our own sun, but this star is casing a lot of discussion in the scientific community, according to cnet.com.
For some reason, this star’s light has been fading consistently for over 100 years, a process that normally takes millions of years to complete, and scientists are struggling to figure out how and why this is happening. New research reveals that some of the strange activities have only been going on for decades, unheard of in stellar observations.
Bradley E. Schaefer, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Louisiana State University, examined photographic plates at Harvard University, taken between 1890 and 1989, and found that light from the star had consistently and significantly faded over the last century.
Schaefer said, “The KIC 8462852 light curve from 1890 to 1989 shows a highly significant secular trend in fading over 100 years, with this being completely unprecedented for any F-type main sequence star. Such stars should be very stable in brightness, with evolution making for changes only on time scales of many millions of years.”
Just last year, a group of volunteer citizens using the online platform Planet Hunters flagged the star for observation, leading to a paper being published Tabetha Boyajian, a Yale postdoc, which detailed the irregular dips in light from the star. According to the paper, the light would fade by as much as 20 percent for up to a whole day.
Boyajian suggested in the paper that some natural occurrence was likely the cause of the fluctuations, possibly swarms of giant comets passing between the star and the observers. But Schaefer’s research found the light had dimmed consistently by about 20 percent in the last 100 years, and experts calculate that it would take 36 giant comets to record such a dip in luminosity. That means a steady stream of almost 648,000 giant comets on the same orbit would have to pass by the star within the last 100 years.
While the scientists say a giant alien mega structure, a construction project that has been going on for centuries around the star, cannot be absolutely ruled out as an explanation for the phenomenon, it should be the last resort theory.
But, with the lack of any other explanation, might they be wrong?