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The infamous and mysterious ‘alien megastructure’ star set off a frenzy of activity yesterday when astronomers noticed that it had begun inexplicably dimming.
Since October of 2015, the star KIC 8462852, dubbed ‘Tabby’s Star,’ has baffled scientists due to its strange changes in brightness.
The notoriety of the star was helped considerably by the initial paper that detailed its unique nature and suggested that the dimming could be evidence of an ‘alien megastructure’ at work.
Since that time, astronomers have struggled to explain why the star is dimming with a myriad of theories offered, but none that have completely solved the case.
However, there may finally be a break in the case as scientists observing the enigmatic wonder on Friday detected that the star’s luminosity had suddenly dipped a remarkable 3 percent.
In what could serve as a preview of a future scenario where alien signals are detected from space, a call to action was put out to any and all observatory to quickly turn their attention to the star.
“This is not a drill,” declared Penn State astronomer Jason Wright as he implored researchers around the world to help observe the unexpected event.
The dimming of the star is seen as perhaps the best chance yet for astronomers to capture critical data that could finally solve the baffling celestial mystery.
As Wright explained, whatever is causing the dimming to occur should leave behind spectral clues that will inform astronomers as to what sort of elements could be at work in the process.
And while it may be some time before researchers are able to parse the data collected during this dimming period, it’s likely that there will be some new insights that just may answer the questions surrounding the notorious ‘alien megastructure’ once and for all.