Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Astronomers say behaviour of ‘most mysterious star in the universe’ is not caused by an alien megastructure

Discovery of Mysterious Star In Universe

Results of an investigation directed in the discovery of an alien mega structure revolving a distant star has been released by a group of 200 researchers. Attention of the astronomers had been drawn by a star known as KIC 8462852 or Tabby’s star due to a strange phenomenon that saw the light it creates ‘inexplicably dimming and brightening sporadically like no other.

This gave rise to a stargazer to recommend that the blinking was due to the presence of a Dyson Sphere which is a theoretical Death Star-style power station surrounding the sun and collecting all its energy. A data has been revealed about the `most mysterious star in the universe’, by the scientist making this recommendation, from an investigation fund utilising $100,000 raised in a campaign of Kickstarter.

An astrophysics assistant professor at Pen State Department of Astronomy, Jason Wright, stated that they had been anticipating that once they eventually caught a dip happening in real time, they could see if the dips had the same depth at all wavelengths.

He further commented that if they were almost the same, it would indicate that the cause was something opaque, such as an orbiting disk, planet or star or also large structures in space and the latest research rules out alien megastructue though it tends to raise the plausibility of other phenomena being behind the dimming’.

Las Cumbres Observatory

It had been suggested earlier that the dimming had been due to a planet or a swarm of comets. Tabetha Boyajian of Louisiana State University commented that the dust is most likely the cause why the light of the star seems to dim and brighten.

 The latest data portrays that the different colours of light have been blocks at various intensities and hence whatever tends to pass between us and the star is not opaque as it would be expected from a planet or alien megastructure.

The star had been carefully observed by the scientists through the Las Cumbres Observatory from March 2016 to December 2017. There had been four distinct episodes starting in May 2017 when the light of the star had dipped. Crowdfunding campaign supporters had nominated and voted to name these episodes where the first two dips had been named Elsie and Celeste.

The last two had been named after the ancient lost cities- Scotland’s Scara Brae and Cambodia’ Angkor.The authors have mentioned that in several ways what tends to occur with the star is like these lost cities. They had written that `they are ancient; we are watching things that happened more than 1,000 years ago. They are almost certainly caused by something ordinary, at least on a cosmic scale and yet that makes them more interesting, not less. But most of all, they are mysterious’.

New Era of Astronomy

The technique, by which the star is being researched, is done by collecting and analysing abundance of data from an individual target brings in a new era of astronomy. Tyler Ellis an LSU doctoral candidate studying the star had commented that they are gathering much data on an individual target and this project is reflective of changes in astronomy with the access of this abundance of data.

Scientists going through huge amount of data from NASA Kepler mission had been the ones to identify the unusual behaviour of the star in the initial stage. The main purpose of the Kepler mission was to locate planet which is done by detecting the periodic dimming that takes place from a planet moving in front of a star and so blocking out a small bit of starlight.

Planet Hunters, an online citizen science group had been established in order that volunteers could assist in classifying light curves from the Kepler mission as well as to search for such planets. Boyajian had stated that if it was not for people with unbiased look on our universe, this unusual star would have not been noticed and again without the support of the public, for this dedicated observing run, they would not have this huge amount of data.

Models - Circumstellar Material

Wright has mentioned that there are models involving circumstellar material such as exocomets which had been the original hypothesis of Boyajian’s team that seem to be consistent with the data they had. Moreover Wright also pointed out that some astronomers preferred the idea that nothing seems to be blocking the star and that it just seemed to get dimmer on its own, this also is consistent with the data of summer.According to Boyajian it seems to be quite exhilarating and is grateful to all those who had made their contributions to this in the past year, namely the citizen scientists together with their professional astronomers. He stated that it was quite humbling to have all of them contributing in numerous ways of helping in figuring out the same.

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