Monday, May 22, 2017

Tabby's Star

Tabby's Star, aka KIC 8462852, is stirring intense interest due to extensive dimming that defies traditional explanations as seen by an earlier BRT post titled KIC 8462852 and now, by Forbes, as Something's afoot as the esteemed Sherlock would say, when analysing a case as fascinating as this one truly is.

While other stars show small, periodic dips in their brightness due to transiting planets, Tabby's star shows something unique.

Its dips are much larger in magnitude by up to a factor of 20, and show up irregularly in time.

It gets better

Now the mystery has grown stranger still.  A paper made public last week based on a different kind of Kepler imaging (full-frame imaging) found not two but one enormous dip in the light curve, as well as a surprising and significant dimming the of star over the four year observing period of the space telescope.  The paper has been submitted for publication in American Astronomical Society journals.

Benjamin Montet of Caltech and Joshua Simon of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, analyzed the full-field images taken by Kepler every three months (rather than the hourly images studied by Boyajian et al,) and concluded that something strange was indeed going on.

Their conclusion: “No known or proposed stellar phenomena can fully explain all aspects of the observed light curve.”

Something's afoot indeed. :)

Don't you love a mystery.? Yours truly does. :)

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