20:09 GMT +325 September 2017
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    This illustration shows a star behind a shattered comet. Observations of the star KIC 8462852 by NASA's Kepler and Spitzer space telescopes suggest that its unusual light signals are likely from dusty comet fragments, which blocked the light of the star as they passed in front of it in 2011 and 2013

    Stellar Enigma: Mysterious 'Aliens Star' Suddenly Grows Dim

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    An enigmatic star in the Cygnus constellation that previously exhibited unusual light fluctuations hinting at the possible presence of alien life has is once again exhibiting some very strange behavior.

    The KIC 8462852 star which grabbed astronomers’ attention a few years ago due to its strange flickering has apparently started to grow dim all of a sudden.

    Astronomer Jason Wright, associate professor at the Pennsylvania State University, wrote on Twitter that the star started dimming and asked fellow astronomers to obtain its spectra as soon as possible.

    ​In 2015 a team of astronomers led by Yale’s Tabetha Boyajian reported unusual brightness fluctuations exhibited by KIC 8462852 (know also known as Tabby’s Star or Boyajian’s Star) which prompted speculation about the possible existence of a so called Dyson Sphere — a hypothetical megastructure that completely encompasses a star and captures most or all of its power output – constructed by a highly advanced alien civilization.

    While initially scientists thought that this ‘blinking’ was caused by a comet swarm which temporarily eclipsed the star from observers on Earth, in 2016 American astronomer Bradley Schaefer determined that that the star had dimmed by 0.16 magnitude over the last century, from 1890 to 1989.

    Unexplained Dimmings in KIC 8462852
    © NASA. JPL-Caltech
    Unexplained Dimmings in KIC 8462852

    Astronomers hope that the star spectra will help them discern the reason behind this latest dimming and either confirm or debunk the rumors concerning the possible presence of aliens there.

    It should be noted however that Tabby’s Star is currently eclipsed by the sun which makes observation rather problematic.

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    Tags:
    observation, astronomers, dimming, star, KIC 8462852
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