A team of more than 100 researchers is one step closer to solving the mystery behind the “most mysterious star in the Universe.” KIC 8462852, or “Tabby’s Star,” nicknamed after Boyajian, is otherwise an average star. It is about 50 percent bigger and 1,000 degrees hotter than the Sun. It is more than 1,000 light-years away. However, it has been inexplicably dimming and brightening sporadically like no other. Several theories abound to explain the star’s unusual light patterns including an alien megastructure orbiting the star.
After a series of upgrades, the twin detectors of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, have turned back on and resumed their search for ripples in the fabric of space and time known as gravitational waves. Now boasting a 25 percent improvement in sensitivity, LIGO recommenced science observations at 4pm GMT on 30 November.
Tabby’s star, otherwise known as KIC 8462852, has provoked so much excitement over the past year, with speculation that it hosts a highly advanced civilisation capable of building orbiting megastructures, that UC Berkeley’s Breakthrough Listen project is devoting hours of time on the Green Bank radio telescope to see if it can detect any extraterrestrial signals.
Researchers studying the geography and mineralogy of an area on Mars known as Thaumasia Planum, based on Gamma Ray Spectrometer data collected by the Mars Odyssey Orbiter launched in 2001, have found that the mountain ridge outlining Greater Thaumasia was most likely created by a chain of ancient volcanoes.
Media interest went viral last October when a group of astronomers from Pennsylvania State University cited that the “bizarre light curve” of KIC 8462852, popularly known as Tabby’s star, was “consistent with” a swarm of alien-constructed megastructures. Now, the results of a new study make it far less likely that KIC 8462852 is the home of industrious extraterrestrials.