It's known affectionately as Tabby's Star or you may know it better as the alien megastructure star. It was first flagged back in 2015 when an astronomer called Jason Wright suggested that some weird fluctuations in the star's brightness, first recorded by the Kepler space telescope, could be the result of an alien civilization who have built a Dyson sphere. A vast structure that can harvest energy from a planet's host sun.
And very recently Tabby's Star, also known as KIC 8462852, has been acting strange again. Jason Wright alerted people to it, and sent a call to arms, by tweeting the following:
Since the freaky dimming was spotted some years ago by Tabetha Boyajian, a Louisiana State University astronomer (see TED Talk vid above) and who Tabby's Star is named after, there has yet to be a satisfactory explanation as to why it's happening. There have been theories, but nothing concrete. But now the star, which sits in the constellation Cygnus, and its irregular dimming, can be observed in the act as it were.
What Do Astronomers Think About Tabby's Star
Live Q&A about Tabby's Star important news with David Kipping & Tabetha Boyajian.
This is thanks to a team of astronomers in Canary Islands who noted some unusual readings which indicated the star was showing the unknown light fluctuations again. Astronomers across the globe have since trained their telescopes to Tabby's Star in the hope of collecting enough data that they can figure out what's going on.
The reports are currently saying the star has dimmed by around two to three percent. So, hopefully, through observing some more and taking multiple readings form the many telescopes that are now looking at it, it's thought that an answer to the mystery can now be discovered.
Previous ideas, as well as an alien megastructure, have included other less alien-based theories. Like fragments left over by comet swarms, debris from a destroyed planet, interstellar dust or gas.
But, hopefully, once the data from these recent observations has processed, we'll be closer to finally knowing just what the hell is going on with Tabby's Star. Which, although unlikely, still could be a Dyson Sphere.
“That theory is still a valid one,” astronomer Matt Muterspaugh told The Verge recently. “We would really hate to go to that, because that’s a pretty major thing. It’d be awesome of course, but as scientists we’re hoping there’s a natural explanation.”
What Do The Alien Conspiracy Theorists Think
Youtube channel secureteam10 give their thoughts on the Tabby's Star phenomenon.
Lets not discount that this phenomenon could be aliens and Tabby's Star is home to a giant megastructure being built around it. Who knows, if you dig a bit deeper into the internet there are lot of people who subscribe to this idea. Until we know for sure what's happening they are having a field day.
Website The Atlantic seems keen on this idea, they report on their site " The irregular light patterns could suggest a collection of megastructures are orbiting the star, technological artifacts built by an advanced, spacefaring civilization. This time around, astronomers will be able to take “spectra” from the dimming star, which will tell them what kind of material the orbiting objects are made of. It’s possible the data could indicate material of a technological origin."
As agent Mulder would say, "They're out there Scully!"