Astronomers on Alert –“Strangest Star in the Milky Way Dimming Again This Week”




Tabby’s Star, KIC 8462852, located deep in an outer spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy, some 1,480 light-years from Earth is entering another of its irregular dimmings, dipping suddenly by 3 percent in just a few days. Penn State astronomer Jason Wright fielded questions during his visit to UC Berkeley SETI’s Breakthrough Listen Lab via a livestream Friday afternoon about the event. Efforts to check for signals that could come from an intelligent civilization, have failed so far.

“So we are officially on alert and we are asking astronomers on telescopes … to please take spectra (light measurements) of the star,” Wright said. Wright and colleague Andrew Siemion from the Berkeley SETI Research Center said Friday that they’re hoping to using telescopes at UC Berkeley and the huge National Radio Astronomy Observatory radio telescope in Green Bank, West Virginia, to continue surveillance.




This strange object is acting in ways the world’s astronomy community has never seen before, defying all known explanations. At random intervals, its light dims by as much as 22 percent, and appears to have gotten dramatically darker over the past century.


Wright has pointed out that these light patterns are similar to what we might expect if aliens built a Dyson Sphere, a megastructure around the star to harvest its energy. But the mystery persists as the search for natural explanations intensify.

Since August 2016, Wright has rounded up and analyzed some of the most common explanations from being an artifact of the instruments, to a solar system cloud, a comet swarm, the interstellar medium or Bok globules, to black holes. Read all of Wright’s possible scenarios in at his blog, AstroWright.

The image at the top of the page is an artist’s impression of a Dyson Swarm (Dyson Sphere) – a megastructure made by a super-advanced civilization that completely surrounds a star and harnesses its power, proposed by Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson.

The Daily Galaxy via Berkeley SETI and SETI Institute

Image Credit: top of the page with thanks to artist Adam Burn’s concept of a Dyson sphere.


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