A group of researchers led by Mario Sukerkia from the University of Colombia in Antioquia offered a new explanation for unusual cases of dimming the star K8462852 on the basis of recent observations and computer simulations. Specialists assume that the unusual behavior of the star can be explained by the “manifested signatures of the Saturn-like exoplanet.”
“We studied the dynamics of deviations and came to the conclusion that it would be possible to explain irregular and anomalous signals by means of transit transitions of the planet with rings,” the scientists reported.
The first unusual behavior of the star KIC 8462852 was noted in 2015 by a group of researchers at Yale University under the guidance of the astronomer Tabete Boyajyan. Usually, when observing the stars from the Earth, visible brightness decreases can be explained by the planets passing by this star. But in the case of star KIC 8462852, nicknamed the star Tabbi, this explanation did not dovetail with the observed anomalies. Each time, irregular levels of dimming were observed. As a result, various theories and assumptions sprang from the cornucopia, trying to explain the strange behavior of the star. As examples, comets, asteroids, and even some colossal “alien megastructure” were cited.
Sukerkia and his colleagues tested their idea using computer simulations, trying to figure out how the light can be distorted by the transit transition of a planet that has rings and is at a distance of about 1/10 of the distance between the Earth and the Sun. As expected, the light is blocked first by the rings of the planet, and then a more significant decrease in brightness occurs at a time when the planet closes part of the star. After that, the rings again block a part of the light, but in a smaller volume. Scientists say that such a transit transition each time will look different, since the rings at the time of observation can be at different angles.
Further simulations showed that when the planet is close to the rings, the star can act on them, giving a different degree of oscillation and tilt, which in turn also adds explanations to the abnormal changes in the luminosity of this star.
“We found out that tilt-shaped ring structures can undergo short-term changes in their shape and orientation, which in turn can manifest itself as significant changes in the depth and transit time, even within each successive darkening.”
For some, of course, such observations and conclusions will not be enough. For example, according to Cavan Stassoon, professor of astrophysics at the University of Texas at Vanderbilt, the nature of the quasiperiodic or periodic obscurations of the Tabby star is still unclear. And the presence of an exoplanet with rings is only an assumption, and not an established fact.
“The task of this study was to prove to the community the existence of a mechanism that is really capable of leading to such light anomalies,” Stassoon said in an interview with New Scientist.
“These changes can be created by the dynamics of the motion of the satellites of the planets or the rings of these planets. At the same time, they can occur in such systems so quickly that they can be detected only after a few years. ”
The scientist admits that this explanation can be written in one of the most probable, but at the same time informs that his team, like other researchers, will most likely continue to observe the star of Tabbi, compare the results and look for the truth, which will finally be able to confidently explain her unusual behavior.