Technology Mystery Dimming of Alien Megastructure Star “Just Dust"

21:51  05 october  2017
21:51  05 october  2017 Source:   Newsweek

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The perplexing cosmic object known as "Boyajian's star " is once again exhibiting a mysterious pattern of dimming and brightening that scientists have tried to explain with hypotheses ranging from swarms of comets to alien megastructures .

When this was theorized, some astronomers came out with more explanations to the possible dimming of the star . This led the whole debate back to the issue of alien life. As this debate is still ongoing, a new study recently published on the star has deepened the mystery . which the astronomers claimed

  Mystery Dimming of Alien Megastructure Star “Just Dust© Provided by IBT Media The bizarre behaviour of a star 1,300 light years from Earth may have finally been explained. NASA says the big dips in brightness of the star—KIC 8462852—could be down to a massive, uneven cloud of dust moving around it.

This is far less of an exotic explanation than other theories proposed over the last few years, which include an “alien megastructure” built by some advanced extraterrestrial civilization to harness power from the star.

Scientists first announced that they had observed weird dips in the brightness of KIC 8462852 in 2015. Normally, when you observe a star and an object—a planet, for example—passes in front of it, there is a small dip in the amount of light coming from that star. Because the size of the planet is fixed, the dip would happen at regular intervals and would block the same amount of light each time. But this is not what happened with KIC 8462852.

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The mystery of why a distant star keeps dimming continues to baffle scientists, fuelling rumours that it is being orbited by an " alien megastructure ". Astronomers have once again detected unusual light patterns coming from a star called KIC 8462852 - or Tabby's Star .

Now, scientists have detected the dimming again, and they say it's just started. Scientists remain skeptical, offering that the dimming could be explained by a dust ring around the star But Professor Osmanov has warned that should we find the alien megastructure , it could be extremely powerful.

What the astronomers saw were huge fluctuations in the star’s brightness, ranging from two percent up to 20 percent, at irregular intervals. To block this much of the star’s light, the object must be extraordinarily large—a Jupiter-sized planet would block about two percent of the light from our sun.

Many hypotheses have been put forward over the last few years, including a massive swarm of comets and a giant ringed planet orbiting very close to KIC 8462852. None of these explanations quite explain what was being offered, however.

In an interview with Newsweek earlier this year, Louisiana State University’s Tabetha Boyajian, who first discovered the dimming, said: “Every theory that’s been proposed is [far more extreme] than what we know to exist now. So we’re looking for a solution that works with a reasonable physical mechanism we can postulate.”

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The mystery behind a strangely dimming star could soon be solved. "The simplest measurements we can take — just looking in different wavelengths [of light] — should rule out, or suggest, alien megastructures "The amount of dimming we get tells us something about the size of the dust

Or maybe some unknown object in the depths of space between the star and Earth is causing the dimming . The brightness dips are even consistent with a gigantic energy-collecting structure built by an intelligent civilization — though researchers have been keen to stress that this " alien megastructure "

However, the mystery may now have been solved. In a study published in The Astrophysical Journal, researchers used NASA's Spitzer and Swift missions to examine the dimming in different wavelengths. What they found was there was less dimming when looking at the star in infrared light than when they observed it in ultraviolet.

If the cause of the dimming was anything bigger than dust particles, then the dimming in different wavelengths would be the same. "This pretty much rules out the alien megastructure theory, as that could not explain the wavelength-dependent dimming," lead author Huan Meng, at the University of Arizona, Tucson, said in a statement from NASA. "We suspect, instead, there is a cloud of dust orbiting the star with a roughly 700-day orbital period."

  Mystery Dimming of Alien Megastructure Star “Just Dust© Provided by IBT Media

The team observed KIC 8462852 between January and December last year. Findings showed the dimming was more pronounced in the infrared wavelength, suggesting the particles are bigger than interstellar dust—tiny particles that cannot remain in orbit around a star because pressure would drive it away.

This meant there was only one plausible explanation—circumstellar dust. This is bigger than interstellar dust, but no so big that the dimming would become uniform across the various wavelengths. Concluding, the authors say a huge, uneven cloud of circumstellar dust could explain the irregular dimming observed.

Their hypothesis comes with problems. It does not address short-term dimming events seen, nor does it explain the dips where 20 percent of the star’s light is blocked. Potentially, the dimming could be the result of this dust cloud combined with a massive swarm of comets. However, further research will be needed to fully solve the mystery of KIC 8462852.

How Are Planets Made? Scientists Get Closer to Anwer .
The key is in how rings of dust around young stars behave.They know that young stars are surrounded by huge disks of dust and gas, and many researchers believe that, gradually, this material either drifts away or comes together to form into planets and asteroids.

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