Tabby's Star: The Most Mysterious Star Is Dimming In An Unusual Way

First Posted: Aug 10, 2016 05:57 AM EDT

The researchers have found something weird and unusual on the mysterious star KIC 8462852, which is known as Tabby's Star. It has become even stranger according to the new analysis from the Kepler Space Telescope. The astronomers cannot explain the dimming of the mysterious star.

Ben Montet of the California Institute of Technology, an astronomer and Josh Simon of the Carnegie Institution found that the mysterious star dimmed during that time at an unprecedented rate of 0.341 percent each year. They analyzed the first four years of Kepler's mission, wherein it stared constantly at KIC 8462852 as well as 150,000 other stars while looking for exoplanets transits, according to Astronomy Now.

The researchers examined closely the full-frame images of Tabby's Star taken during the Kepler's mission. The star's luminosity decreased by about 0.34 percent per year for the first 1000 days. Then, on the following 200 days, its flux lowered by 2 percent and then leveled off. In the four years of Kepler's mission. The star faded approximately by 3 percent. This is such as the big amount in such a small period of time.

Montet said that the part that really surprised him was just how rapid and non-linear it was. He further said that they spent a long time trying to convince them this wasn't real.

Meanwhile, according to Bradley Schaefer from Louisiana State University, who examined the old photographic plates that date back to the 19th century earlier this year, he claimed that Tabby's Star had faded an exorbitant 19 percent within the past 100 years. On the other hand, some astronomers were not convinced on his findings. They said that the dimming was the result of flawed data.

Montet said that in order to settle this controversy, you needed either a long baseline or high precision data. He further said that Kepler has the latter and then measured the rate of dimming in the Kepler data to be about twice what Schaefer found, which is different, yet not necessarily inconsistent, as noted by Gizmodo.


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