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.
ALERT:@tsboyajian's star is dipping— Jason Wright (@Astro_Wright) 19 мая 2017 г.
This is not a drill.
Astro tweeps on telescopes in the next 48 hours: spectra please!
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.
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.