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KIC 8462852: A Dusty Solution?

3 Jan 2018, 15:38 UTC
KIC 8462852: A Dusty Solution?
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Research into Boyajian’s Star, otherwise known as KIC 8462852 or ‘Tabby’s Star,’ has continued in robust fashion even as many of us were distracted by that other curiosity with a faint SETI potential, the interstellar asteroid `Oumuamua. In both cases, a highly interesting object provoked speculation as to its origins, with Boyajian’s Star getting the lion’s share of attention because the unusual dips in its lightcurve proved hard to explain.
Now a team of more than 200 researchers led by Tabetha Boyajian herself is drawing useful conclusions about the star. Also on the team is Penn State’s Jason Wright, whose interest in possible SETI signatures led him to point out that engineering on a vast scale could not immediately be ruled out. The paper now being made available in The Astrophysical Journal Letters shows that the star dims more at some wavelengths than at others.
And that is, to say the least, problematic for the idea that an artificial megastructure orbits Boyajian’s Star. The paper, titled “The First Post-Kepler Brightness Dips of KIC 8462852,” draws on data collected by Boyajian (Louisiana State) and colleagues as a result of a Kickstarter campaign in which some 1700 contributors donated money to observations ...

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