New data debunks alien megastructure theory

Researchers are one step closer to solving the enigma of the 'most mysterious star in the universe', also known as 'Tabby's Star'. 

Its dramatic dips in brightness has sparked countless theories since its discovery, with many suspecting an ‘alien megastructure’ could be behind the phenomenon.

But now, scientists say the real cause of the dimming seen at Tabby’s Star may be far more mundane.  

Experts believe dust is why it appears to dim and brighten as different colours of light are blocked by different intensities.

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It has baffled astronomers since it was first discovered in 2015, but now experts believe they may be one step closer to solving the mystery of Tabby's star (artist's impression pictured)

It has baffled astronomers since it was first discovered in 2015, but now experts believe they may be one step closer to solving the mystery of Tabby's star (artist's impression pictured)

TABBY'S STAR 

Tabby's Star, known officially as KIC 8462852 but named for Tabetha Boyajian who first discovered it in 2015, has baffled experts ever since.

Observations revealed its light dimmed regularly, as do distant stars when their planets pass in front of them. 

But while the stars of most exoplanet systems are seen to dim by a few per cent, KIC 8462852 dimmed by more than 20 per cent over periods of months.

Some have claimed this dimming could be evidence of a Dyson Sphere – a hypothetical structure which could be used by an advanced alien race to harness the energy of a star.

But now, scientists say the real cause of the dimming seen at Tabby’s Star may be far more mundane.  

Experts believe dust is why it appears to dim and brighten as different colours of light are blocked by different intensities.

Tabby's Star, known officially as KIC 8462852 but named for Tabetha Boyajian who first discovered it in 2015, has baffled experts.

While the stars of most exoplanet systems are seen to dim by a few per cent, KIC 8462852 dimmed by more than 20 per cent over periods of months.

Previous studies have claimed the strange dimming could be evidence of a Dyson Sphere – a hypothetical structure which could be used by an advanced alien race to harness the energy of a star. 

The mystery of Tabby's Star is so compelling that more than 1,700 people donated over $100,000 (£73,800) through a Kickstarter campaign in support of dedicated ground-based telescope with the aim of observing and gathering more data on the star.

As a result, a new body of data has been collected by Dr Boyajia and colleagues from the Lousisiana State University Department of Physics & Astronomy in partnership with the Las Cumbres Observatory.

'Dust is most likely the reason why the star's light appears to dim and brighten', said Dr Boyajian.

The new data shows that different colours of light are being blocked at different intensities', she said.

'Therefore, whatever is passing between us and the star is not opaque, as would be expected from a planet or alien megastructure,' Dr Boyajian said.

Scientists closely observed the star through the Las Cumbres

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