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    Tabby's Star

    'Tabby's Enigma': Study Denies Alien Theory, Says Cosmic Dust Veils Strange Star

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    The most mysterious star located in the constellation of Cygnus, approximately 1400 light-years from the Sun, has repeatedly spurred alien megastructure theories.

    The star, named KIC 8462852, and known as Tabby’s Star, has been brightening and dimming in an odd way, which has prompted alien life enthusiasts to suggest that it is circled by a massive construction built by an advanced alien civilization.

    A study revealed on Wednesday that the extraterrestrial theories were, however, irrelevant.

    "Dust is most likely the reason why the star's light appears to dim and brighten," said lead author Tabetha Boyajian, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Louisiana State University, after whom "Tabby's Star" is nicknamed.

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    "The new data shows that different colors of light are being blocked at different intensities. Therefore, whatever is passing between us and the star is not opaque, as would be expected from a planet or alien megastructure."

    The star was discovered using NASA’s planet-hunting telescope Kepler, which also contributed to the study of extraordinary dips in brightness in the star.

    Astronomers at the California-based Las Cumbres Observatory observed it closely from March 2016 to December 2017.

    "We were hoping that once we finally caught a dip happening in real time, we could see if the dips were the same depth at all wavelengths," said co-author Jason Wright, assistant professor at Pennsylvania State University's department of astronomy and astrophysics.

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    "If they were nearly the same, this would suggest that the cause was something opaque, like an orbiting disk, planet, or star, or even large structures in space."

    Even though the researchers have dismissed the idea of any alien megastructure as the reason for dimming, "it raises the plausibility of other phenomena being behind the dimming," Wright said.

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    "There are models involving circumstellar material — like exocomets, which were Boyajian's team's original hypothesis — which seem to be consistent with the data we have," he added.

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    alien megastructure, star, space
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