Tabby’s star drama continues | Science News



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Tabby’s star drama continues

Slow fading as well as sharp drops in light baffle astronomers

3:39pm, August 15, 2016
KIC 8462852

IN FLUX  The star KIC 8462852 (aka Tabby’s star), which sits in the constellation Cygnus (illustrated), has been flickering and fading — and astronomers still don’t know why. 

A star that made headlines for its bizarre behavior has got one more mystery for astronomers to ponder.

Tabby’s star, also known as KIC 8462852, has been inexplicably flickering and fading. The Kepler Space Telescope caught two dramatic drops in light — by up to 22 percent — spaced nearly two years apart. Photographs from other telescopes dating back to 1890 show that the star also faded by roughly 20 percent over much of the last century. Possible explanations for the behavior range from mundane comet swarms to fantastical alien engineering projects (SN Online: 2/2/16).

A new analysis of data from Kepler, NASA’s premier planet hunter, shows that Tabby’s star steadily darkened throughout the telescope’s primary four-year mission. That’s in addition to the abrupt flickers already seen during the same time period. Over

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