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“Alien Megastructure” May Actually Be Scraps of an Ingested Planet

12 Jan 2017, 16:54 UTC
“Alien Megastructure” May Actually Be Scraps of an Ingested Planet
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Artist’s impression of the star KIC 8462852, surrounded by randomly transiting objects. Credit: NASA/JPL
For the past couple of years the astronomy world has been abuzz with news of the strange and randomly-occurring dimming of the star KIC 8462852—aka Tabby’s Star—located 1,276 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus and recently observed by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft. Hypotheses about the cause range from conservative (a transiting cloud of comets) to quite speculative (an “alien megastructure” constructed around the star) but to date nothing seems to perfectly fit the observations. Now, researchers from Columbia University and UC Berkeley are proposing a new idea: the dimming of Tabby’s Star is being caused by debris left over from a planet that was consumed by the star thousands of years ago, the orbiting scraps from a case of stellar infanticide.
Read more in a Universe Today article by Matt Williams: Finally, An Explanation for the Alien Megastructure? Tagged: alien, Cygnus, dimming, exoplanets, Kepler, KIC 8462852, light curve, science, space, Tabby's Star

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