The mystery of the alien megastructures star KIC 8462852 has been puzzling astrophysicists and the public for well over a year now.
Known as “Tabby’s Star”, scientists were first interested in it when they noticed that it was dimming, inexplicably.
Theories ranged from the sensible (vast swarms or orbiting comets) to the highly theoretical (a giant alien megastructure).
Well now one astrophysicist believes he has the answer, and it’s because he thinks we’ve found another one just like it.
Ethan Spiegel wrote a column in Forbes explaining that the recent discovery of another star EPIC 204278916 could well be the answer to all our problems. With similar (but not identical) properties he believes the dimming is being cause by a huge orbiting disk of matter.
While these would normally be detectable, he believes that because the disk is inclined at such an angle that we can’t see it head on.
Spiegel concedes that because we’re simply facing the star head on we then can’t see any of the normal infrared radiation that would be visible.
What makes this theory really interesting though is that Tabby’s star is currently far too old to be eligible for a huge disk of orbiting dust. That means that if the two are related, then we’ll have discovered a new stage in the evolution of stars.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2016: