A group of astronomers have announced that the light of EPIC 204376071, a star located some 440 light years away from Earth, dimmed by a considerable amount for a brief period of time, Science Alert reports.
According to the scientists’ findings published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, the star dimmed by up to 80 percent, with the phenomenon lasting for the duration of one day.
One hypothesis suggests that another celestial body, such as a large planet or a brown dwarf, may be orbiting the star, while another postulates that there is “a sheet of dust moving between us and the star, thicker at the leading edge and then tapering off in quasi-permanent orbit around the star.”
EPIC 204376071 isn’t the only star exhibiting such behaviour, as in 2015 a team of astronomers led by Yale’s Tabetha Boyajian reported unusual brightness fluctuations exhibited by KIC 8462852 (also known as Tabby’s Star or Boyajian’s Star).
This development led scientists to consider the possibility of a hypothetical alien megastructure known as Dyson sphere orbiting the star, though other astronomers believe the irregular dimming may be caused by a thin cloud of dust or another celestial body of natural origin.