More than once the mysterious star KIC 8462852 in the constellation Cygnus, also known as the Tabbi star, again “winked” at the scientists. Tabeet Boyadjian, a planetologist from Yale University, who first discovered this star, reports that last week the object was sharply dull by 10 percent. This was the biggest decrease in the luminosity of the star since the moment noted in the data of the Kepler telescope in 2011, when it briefly dimmed at once by 22 percent.
“Today we have great news – in the last week we experienced two sharp drops in the brightness of KIC 8462852. In sum, they lowered its luminosity by about 10%, which is a record value from the time when Kepler watched this luminary. Our conclusions were confirmed by astronomers from the AAVSO project, “Boyjian says.
In his blog Boyadzhian reports that the first changes in luminosity began to be observed on March 16. Then the star faded by 4 percent, then returned to its usual luminosity state. On March 26, the star dimmed again.
Scientists can not yet give an unambiguous answer to the question of what exactly makes a star located about 1280 light years away from us behave so unusually, but new observational data will bring its own benefit in drawing up a full picture of what is happening and ultimately help to understand, in what, actually, the matter.
Initially, scientists assumed that the transit of some very large planet circling around the star Tabbi could be responsible for everything. However, the irregular interval between the decrease in luminosity and, in fact, the level of luminosity reduction itself, cast doubt on this assumption.
Later came the hypothesis of a swarm of comets closing its light from observers on Earth. However, in January 2016, American astronomer Bradley Schaefer discovered that in the last century the brightness of KIC 8462852 inexplicably fell by 0.16 magnitude, which cast doubt on this theory.
Over the past year, the brightness of KIC 8462852 inexplicably decreased in May, June, August, September, October, November and December. During observations of these stellar eclipses, scientists were able to uncover some of the features of the light and confirm that in its orbit there really is a large object that obscures the light. But the option that he is a sphere of Dyson, astronomers are excluded.
According to the most convincing assumption today, there is an unevenly distributed cloud of dust around the star of Tabbi – this can be explained by the fact that the light of the star is blocked in the ultraviolet range more strongly than in the infrared. This cloud of dust must be really very large to be able to block as much as 22 percent of the luminosity of the star. Nevertheless, the option is considered one of the possible.
The new tarnishing of the star Tabbi, as Boyyadzhian and her adherents hope, will make it possible to understand how the spectrum of the luminary changes during such episodes. His analysis will help scientists to verify whether the light of KIC 8462852 is obstructing a giant cloud of dust or it is about something more exotic.