There’s clearly something mysterious going on. We don’t know what it is or how it works and we’re as close to figuring it out as we were in 2009.
An artist’s impression of Tabby’s star. Credit: NASA/Wikimedia Commons
Sandhya Ramesh is a science writer focusing on astronomy and earth science.
In May of 2009, several hundred people around the world noticed a star in a galaxy far, far away. It looked like nothing they’d ever seen before. They thronged to discussion forums on the web for the citizen science project called Planet Hunters and frantically discussed what they were seeing. They’d all been working on data obtained by the Kepler Space Telescope. The star, later called KIC 8462852, was blinking in a very strange way.
Hunting for planets outside the Solar System is an active field of astronomy today. The first exoplanet was discovered in 1992. Only 25 years later, there are more than 3,500 confirmed planets orbiting stars other than our own. NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope alone was responsible for finding over 2,000. It did so by watching the stars in a patch of the sky for weeks, months or even years at a time. When a planet that ...