NASA (edit by Ian O’Neill)
In our quest to understand what the heck is going on with Tabby’s Star, astronomers have been given a cosmic gift — a dimming event is happening right now and they’re collecting data in real time.
Early Friday morning, the star — officially designated KIC 8462852 — dipped in brightness inextricably and bulletins started to fly around the internet. Astronomers involved in the original discovery took to Twitter to announce the awesomeness and rally the world’s observatories to point their telescopes at the action 1,300 light-years away:
ALERT:@tsboyajian's star is dipping
This is not a drill.
Astro tweeps on telescopes in the next 48 hours: spectra please!
— Jason Wright (@Astro_Wright) May 19, 2017
#TabbysStar IS DIPPING! OBSERVE!! @NASAKepler @LCO_Global @keckobservatory @AAVSO @nexssinfo @NASA @NASAHubble @Astro_Wright @BerkeleySETI
— Tabetha Boyajian (@tsboyajian) May 19, 2017
But why all the excitement? Well, this is the same star that, last year, hogged the headlines with speculation that a super advanced alien civilization was building some kind of “megastructure” around the star. (You can read my article on it here.) But why would the world’s media, let alone professional scientists, be okay with even hinting at the “alien” ...