A mysterious star whose repeated obscuration could be traced to "alien megastructures", according to some researchers, may now have more than a dozen analogues with similar mystifying behaviors, a new study finds.
Exploring all these stars could help solve the mystery of the confusing flicker, according to the author of the study.
In 2015 scientists noted unusual light fluctuations in a star named KIC 8462852. which is slightly larger and hotter than the sun, is located about 1,480 light-years away from the earth in the constellation Cygnus.
as the researcher data from analyzed The NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, the astronomer Tabetha "Tabby" Boyajian, then at Yale University, and her colleagues found that dozens of KIC 8462852 cases declined by as much as 22 percent, with such burglaries just a few days to a week. These events seemed to follow no pattern and seemed too substantial to be caused by planets or dust that permeated the star's face.
These analyzes of KIC 8462852 – now called "Boyajian's Star" (formerly Tabby's Star), according to its discoverer – threw away the possibility that astronomers had discovered signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life. In particular, researchers have suggested that the star is surrounded by a Dyson sphere, a hypothetical megastructure built around a star to capture as much light as possible. Mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson suggested that such megastructures could help energize an advanced civilization. (In science fiction, Dyson spheres are often depicted as solid shells around stars, but the megastructures can also be spherical flocks of giant solar collectors.)
The hypothesis of megastructures is now in most astronomer lists relative to the star from Boyajian in the end, however; Further analysis has pointed to more prosaic explanations such as dust clouds or comet fragments. Nevertheless, the scientists have not yet discovered the exact cause of the strange dimming. The answer is sometimes difficult to grasp, as Boyajian's star seemed unique; There were no known counterparts that could provide additional clues to solving this cosmic puzzle.
Study author Edward Schmidt, astrophysicist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, suspects that he has discovered more than a dozen such stars Boyajian's star.
Schmidt searched for counterparts to Boyajian's star with the help of a software that searched from April 1999 to March 2000 for analog dimming events of about 14 million objects with different brightness. Subsequently, he pursued promising candidates By examining their long-term behavior using data from the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernova, sources were excluded whose obscuration could be caused by conventional explanations such as a hidden companion star or intrinsic variability in brightness.
Schmidt identified 21 stars that may have displayed unusual darkening. These fell into two distinct categories: 15 were "slow ladles" dimmed at similar rates as Boyajian's Star, and six were "fast ladles" whose dimming rates fluctuated even more extreme.
"What surprised me Most were those stars that had so many burglaries that I called 'quick break-ins'," Schmidt told Space.com. "I expected more occasional break-ins like the Boyajian star."
Further analysis using data from the Gaia Space Observatory of the European Space Agency revealed that these potential burglaries were either conventional "main series" stars of about the same mass as the Sun or red giant stars of about twice the solar mass. The slow and fast ladles can be seen in both groups, suggesting that they represent different degrees of the same mechanism, Schmidt said.
Schmidt noted that the Northern Sky Variable Survey, which he searched for possible counterparts of Boyajian's Star, contained no records of Boyajian's star itself darkens during the year of data in this catalog. This shows how astronomers easily overlook stars that can darken themselves in this way, if they only look at catalogs in which stars are monitored for relatively short periods of time.
"Obviously, some of these stars are missing due to the catalogs we have, said Schmidt," If we look at more catalogs, we may get a better picture of what is going on, even if this is not a complete picture. "[19659002FutureresearchinvestigatingmorecatalogsofstellaractivitiescouldyieldevenmoreanaloguesofBoyajian'sstarhesaid
"I intend to pursue the fast ladles," Schmidt said. "One thing that me What struck them is that at least one of the five years of reporting we have about them seemed to have slowed down their drop-in rate significantly. It would be interesting to find out what happened in the past, what could possibly help Give a better idea of what is going on with these stars.
Schmidt described his findings on July 18 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.
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