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Is there a massive alien structure orbiting Tabby’s Star ? Image Credit: NASA / Rick Guidice
The mysterious star has been puzzling astronomers for years due to its erratic, inexplicable behavior.
Originally picked up between the constellations Cygnus and Lyra by the Kepler Space Telescope in 2009, the star known as KIC 8462852 has long proven to be something of an enigma.
Unlike most other planet-hosting stars which exhibit slight periodic dips when their planets pass in front of them, this one seemed to be exhibiting extremely erratic dips indicative of a large, tightly packed assortment of matter in orbit around it.
The phenomenon gained particular fame when astronomer Jason Wright suggested that one possible explanation was the presence of a gigantic extraterrestrial structure in space.
One recent study found that the star’s dimming seemed to occur at 0.34% per year to begin with, yet inexplicably fell to 2.5% for 200 days before returning to its original dimming rate.
Now in response to yet another period of unexplained dimming that started on Monday, a call has been put out to astronomers around the world to turn their telescopes back towards the star.
With any luck, if enough people observe the phenomenon in action, it may be possible to learn something new about it that will help to explain why it is happening once and for all.
Whether the answer lies in the actions of an alien civilization however remains to be seen.