Astronomers said that the most thorough study of Tabby’s Star showed that its dimming episodes are not caused by a large opaque object passing in front of it.
An illustration depicts a hypothetical uneven ring of dust orbiting Tabby’s Star (KIC 8462852) released October 4, 2017 by JPL-Caltech and obtained by Reuters January 3, 2018. NASA/JPL-Caltech/Handout via Reuters
Washington: It was too good to be true. Scientists have ruled out the most exotic explanation – an orbiting alien mega-structure – for the behaviour of a celestial oddity dubbed Tabby’s Star that has been puzzling scientists with its sporadic dimming and brightening.
Astronomers said on Wednesday that the most thorough study to date of the star, officially called KIC 8462852, showed that its dimming episodes are not caused by a large opaque object passing in front of it. The dimming could be due to some sort of dust, they added, though the cause remains uncertain.
The researchers relied on observations of Tabby’s Star from March 2016 to December 2017 using Las Cumbres Observatory telescopes in Maui and the Canary Islands. The star is named after Louisiana State University astrophysicist Tabetha Boyajian, who was instrumental in identifying its idiosyncrasies in 2015.