Thrid Rock From The Sun – “Boyajian’s star” KIC 8462852 is currently undergoing a further decrease in brightness. Astronomers will therefore take the opportunity to study it again.
scientists have tried to explain with hypotheses ranging from swarms of comets to alien megastructures.
By 2015, a team of researchers has indeed detected significant and inexplicable fluctuations in brightness by observing the star.
KIC 8462852, the star of all fantasies
Logic would have caused them to be caused by one or more planets in its orbit, but scientists responsible for the discovery quickly realized that this was simply impossible. The variations were indeed too great to be produced by a simple planet.
In October of the same year, astronomers began to evoke the track of a possible extraterrestrial megastructure operating on the principle of the famous sphere of Dyson.
This sphere was invented by the physicist Freeman Dyson in the early 1960s and was first mentioned in an article published in the journal Science. It refers to a megastructure capable of capturing the energy emitted by a star.
The scientist had the idea of this structure after leafing through a science fiction novel written by Olaf Stapledon. For him, this sphere was the best way for a very advanced civilization to meet its energy needs and its population growth.
Following the formulation of this theory, KIC 8462852 became a true star and she soon found herself in the limelight.
Many studies have been carried out subsequently to try to prove or invalidate this thesis, but they have unfortunately not given anything. For a time, astronomers have indeed hypothesized that these variations were caused by the passage of a swarm of comets , but this theory was quickly dismantled by other scientists.
A new obscuration in view
Intrigued by these important variations, a team of researchers from the University of Illinois conducted a background study last year. For several months, scientists studied the obscurcations undergone by the star and analyzed them with several mathematical models developed by them.
By combining these models with the data collected by our instruments, they then noticed that these phenomena appeared to correspond to the model of avalanche statistics, models usually associated with phase transitions.
They therefore deduced that the variations in the brightness of KIC 8462852 were perhaps caused by powerful solar flares running at the surface of the star. However, they have not yet been able to prove it.
They may have the opportunity to do so in the near future, as the star entered a new phase last Friday. It actually began to collapse and lose its luminosity.
Strangely enough, the news was very well received by the scientific community, and several teams of researchers announced their intention to make further observations over the next few weeks in order to study the star. They have, moreover, good hopes of being able to pierce definitively this insoluble astronomical mystery.