Odd star’s short flickers are due to dust, not aliens | Science News


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Aliens ruled out for why Tabby’s star flickers

Puzzle over where light-dimming dust comes from still remains

3:58pm, January 3, 2018
Tabby's star

DUST IN THE WIND  Dust surrounding KIC 8462852 (known as Tabby’s star), shown in this artist’s illustration, could explain the star’s odd dips in light. But scientists don’t know where the dust came from.

The first observations of Tabby’s star flickering in real time have put the last nails in the “it’s-an-alien-megastructure” coffin.

The star’s most recent winks show that the dimming is from small dust particles surrounding it, a team of more than 200 scientists and amateur astronomers reports in a paper posted at arXiv.org January 3.

The oddball star, officially named KIC 8462852, is best known for its sudden drops in brightness (SN Online: 2/2/16). Astronomers have invoked everything from evaporating comets to an enormous edifice built by intelligent aliens to explain the sporadic winks.

In March 2016, astronomer Tabetha Boyajian of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge (for whom the star was nicknamed) and her colleagues began trying to catch

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