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Home / Science / Astronomers have their best solution yet for the mysterious alien megastructure star

Astronomers have their best solution yet for the mysterious alien megastructure star



  • Since 2015, astronomers have been trying to find the cause for the mysterious behavior of Tabby's star. The star darkens in a strangely sporadic pattern and has become 10% less bright in just a century.
  • Some scientists have suggested that a strange megastructure or a massive swarm of comets could be at fault.
  • In 2019, a team of astrophysicists at Columbia University suggested another offender. The star could have stolen icy moons from a orbiting planet. Over time, the radiation dissolved these moons and created a dusty cloud that blocked part of the starlight.
  • More stories can be found on the homepage of Business Insider.

A copy of the video follows.

Narrator: In 201

5, astronomers noticed something … Strange happening at almost 1,500 light-years away from home. A star named KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby's Star, was getting darker. As if something would pass before it. Since then, scientists have been trying to figure out what might be . A swarm of comets flying by in droves? A foreign megastructure? Then, in 2019, a team of astrophysicists proposed a new, more plausible explanation. That could finally solve the mystery of Tabby's star.

Narrator: There are really TWO Mysteries revolving around Tabby's Star. First, the star shines and darkens in a strangely sporadic pattern. While very young stars behave this way occasionally, astronomers have never seen it in a star of Tabby's age. Second, over time the star slowly but surely weakens and steadily declines, something that astronomers have never observed in any other star of this species. Obviously, something is going on. Some researchers have suggested that an advanced alien civilization is to blame.

If extraterrestrials build a megastructure called the Dyson Orb to suck off the star's energy, this could explain that the star is a whopping 10% weaker than it was a century ago. But this idea contains some gaps. For one thing, one would expect a surrounding megastructure to make regular, predictable orbits around the star. Just as the International Space Station regularly flies around the earth. So far, however, there is no clear evidence that the burglaries occur on a consistent schedule. Also, when it comes to a theory about advanced alien civilizations.

Brian Metzger: It's a bit difficult to test them.

Narrator: He studies what he calls.

Butcher: Things that spin at night.

Narrator: Or weird phenomena in the universe – including the strange behavior of Tabby's Star. Butcher says that another theory also has problems. You see, some experts claim that a massive swarm of comets is the real culprit. This has the advantage that, unlike aliens, there are positive comets, and when they circle the star, they explain the random blips. But …

Butcher: Many of the explanations encounter the problem: "Why is this relatively rare, why do not other stars show this behavior?

Narrator: Basically it would have to Be special about Tabby & # 39; s Star to attract so many comets that they gather at the same time at the same place, but as far as astronomers can tell, Tabby's Star is just like any other star By luck, Metzger and his team have a new solution: in 2019, they published a publication in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, in which they argued for another culprit: The dusty remains of a dying moon A gas giant may have the star in front of millions Circling for years, and like Jupiter and other gas giants, there were some icy moons.

Well, the planet and its moons would have orbited Tabby's star until now, if not for a problem: Butcher says a second star nearby might have exerted a Ti ny gravitational force on the planet. Over time, it slowly pulled the planet out of its orbit and towards Tabby's Star. Until finally the planet invaded and was destroyed. But the planet's moons could have escaped this fate instead of being put into orbit by Tabby's gravity. Over time, the constant radiation could have melted off parts of these icy moons, resulting in a colossal cloud of moon dust around the star. This plan makes sense for several reasons. First

Butcher: Dust – as a small, particulate grains – is a very effective method to block the light of a star.

Narrator: Unlike a strange superstructure, dust floats around in a lump That is constantly changing its shape, which might explain the irregular break-ins. And if enough of it accumulates over time around the star, it could cause mysterious astronomers to darken 10%. The lunar part of Metzger's hypothesis works well too.

Butcher: You need a massive object that contains a lot of material that can survive for a very long time and nourishes this huge cloud of debris.

Narrator: In the meantime, you need a remarkably large swarm of unusually large comets to do the same job.

Butcher: We need something much bigger than an ordinary comet to explain Tabby's star.

Narrator: In addition, unlike an alien machine, we see moons all the time. And although we have not yet seen this EXACT scenario, it is based on what we have observed with Jupiter-like planets .

Butcher: We have much evidence from other planets that Jupiters can be driven into their stars. If you think Jupiter is being driven near their stars, you have to say what happened to their moons.

Narrator: So the puzzle is solved? Well, not quite. While Metzger says that he is satisfied with the explanation of his team, he still has a lot of work to do.

Butcher: I think it's important to go beyond what we're working on and make predictions that can be tested.

Speaker: After all, you only get so far with theoretical models. Other than that, it's probably not aliens yet.


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