Astrophysicist Edward Schmidt from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has recently discovered stars that exhibit the same abnormal behaviour as KIC 8462852 – commonly known as Boyajian’s Star.
What is unusual about these stars is that they flicker and are dim. Moreover, this behaviour doesn’t follow any pattern. 15 of the 21 newly discovered stars dim and flicker at the rate as Boyajian’s Star, while six others are more rapid.
Scientists are still unable to explain these unusual fluctuations. Some suggested that clouds of dust and gas may be responsible for this behaviour. However, they can’t explain the sources of these clouds. Physicist Freeman Dyson proposed that the star may be encircled by an alien megastructure, known as a Dyson sphere. This megastructure works as solar panel powering alien civilizations similar to the way we try to get warm by placing our hands close to a campfire.
Schmidt says his discovery is not finished and that searching through the catalogues of stellar activity may result in the discovery of more counterparts to Boyajian’s Star. "I intend to try and follow up on the rapid dippers. It'd be interesting to find out what happened in its past, which may help give a better idea of what's going on with these stars”, he said.