KIC 8462852 (Tabby's Star) Faded Throughout the Kepler Mission

boogabooga

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Could it not be some sort of dust or debris cloud in the interstellar space between us and the star? Might explain why it is not glowing in IR.
 

Urwumpe

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Aliens could be hippies, smelling flowers and bathing in the Sun. Could be intelligent, but not technological.

All true aliens? ;)

Don't you think that this is also a bit arrogant to assume, that in the universe, no aliens are around, that don't have the same principal problems to solve like we do?

Even more - don't you think that it is more likely, that we will detect aliens easier, that are more likely to fulfill our assumptions about them? After all, even if 99.9% of all aliens are like you describe completely exotic to our technological assumptions, the 0.1% that is not would have a much higher probability to get detected by us. For all others, we might assume a natural explanation first, because we might have no idea that such a phenomena could be caused by intelligent design (in this case, the term really makes sense)

---------- Post added at 04:47 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:26 PM ----------

Could it not be some sort of dust or debris cloud in the interstellar space between us and the star? Might explain why it is not glowing in IR.

Of course, but still, it would be glowing in IR - different maybe, but visible. Also, it would not sharply end at the size needed to cover the star, other observations would also be influenced. And it would not explain the smaller variations well.
 

BruceJohnJennerLawso

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Placing my bets on some sort of instrument error, but this is quite odd.

How long is it expected to take until the next possible independent confirmation of this? I would assume that Kepler is pretty much the only device available that can accurately measure light intensity fluctuations with the sensitivity that is needed for this? (it was designed for tracking light variations due to transits of extrasolar planets, so I would think that nothing available beforehand was capable of doing that)
 
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Urwumpe

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Placing my bets on some sort of instrument error, but this is quite odd.

How long is it expected to take until the next possible independent confirmation of this? I would assume that Kepler is pretty much the only device available that can accurately measure light intensity fluctuations with the sensitivity that is needed for this? (it was designed for tracking light variations due to transits of extrasolar planets, so I would think that nothing available beforehand was capable of doing that)

The JWST could likely do that for the needed long periods of time. But a ground based telescope could also do such observations for a number of days, 1500 LY is not that far away that an especially large telescope is needed. Maybe you might miss some sudden events that way, but the big picture could be seen.
 

Kyle

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Placing my bets on some sort of instrument error, but this is quite odd.

How long is it expected to take until the next possible independent confirmation of this? I would assume that Kepler is pretty much the only device available that can accurately measure light intensity fluctuations with the sensitivity that is needed for this? (it was designed for tracking light variations due to transits of extrasolar planets, so I would think that nothing available beforehand was capable of doing that)

FWIW, an instrumentation error with Kepler has been ruled out per the research paper.

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.03622v1.pdf


Page 8

This analysis concludes that instrumental effects or artifacts in
the data reduction are not the cause of the observed dipping events,
and thus the nature of KIC 8462852’s light curve is astrophysical
in origin.
 

BruceJohnJennerLawso

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FWIW, an instrumentation error with Kepler has been ruled out per the research paper.

http://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.03622v1.pdf


Page 8

We inspected light curves of neighboring sources and find that
they do not show similar variability patterns in their light curves.
...
We verified with the Kepler team mission scientists that the data were of good quality.

I guess they have been able to image stars that kepler has imaged before in the meantime to do a sort of "baseline check" for how bright they were before, and how bright they are now. That sounds fairly conclusive that the data isnt just Kepler suffering from some sort of technical problem.

---------- Post added at 21:46 ---------- Previous post was at 21:43 ----------

But a ground based telescope could also do such observations for a number of days, 1500 LY is not that far away that an especially large telescope is needed. Maybe you might miss some sudden events that way, but the big picture could be seen.

I originally thought atmospheric noise would be a problem, but 22% brightness variation is still a pretty distinct change regardless.
 
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Cairan

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Well we couldn't check on the 750 days major events in April 2015 because Kepler's wheel had died out, but you can be sure than in early Spring 2017, everything we have capable of monitoring this star will be used round the clock if we are serious about searching for an explanation.
 
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Kyle

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Well we couldn't check on the 750 days major events in April 2015 because Kepler's wheel had died out, but you can be sure than in early Spring 2017, everything we have capable of monitoring this star will be used round the clock if we are serious about searching for an explanation.

Sad there's no chance of getting TESS up in time for something like that. August 2017 and hitching a ride with a F9, so I'd wager a launch sometime in 2018. :shrug:
 

Cairan

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Using 2 online calculators, I got an orbital distance of 1.8 AU from the star with a period of 750 days. Using the star's luminosity and temperature, I get a planetary equilibrium temperature of 279 K... If anyone wants to crush the numbers, please do... i find these values... fascinating. :hmm:
 

Quick_Nick

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Using 2 online calculators, I got an orbital distance of 1.8 AU from the star with a period of 750 days. Using the star's luminosity and temperature, I get a planetary equilibrium temperature of 279 K... If anyone wants to crush the numbers, please do... i find these values... fascinating. :hmm:

That would be the right orbital distance.
For equilibrium temperature, I got something much lower but did get around 279 W/m^2 (probably coincidence?). I don't know how/why you used temperature of the star though, rather than just luminosity.
At 20% of the Earth's solar irradiance, I could see why the aliens might have need for a Dyson structure. :p
 
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Cairan

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One calculator used luminosity, the other the star's radius and temperature... will updatewith links when I'm on my computer. :cheers:
 

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What light dip is this for ? The 22% one? Since they're not exactly cyclical....
 

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A lot of technology is dictated by the laws of physics.
The shapes and brands might be different, but basic ideas would very likely be similar.

And pretty much all technology is dictated by energy. The more tech, the more energy you need so, one of the best places to get energy from is the star which is why solar collectors and dyson spheres are popular ideas.

Anyway, for this star could it not be a mass of objects in an orbit similar to the oort cloud but perhaps bigger?

Could it not be a destroyed planet? There are so many potential explanations that to go "aliens!" is a bit silly
 

Cairan

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What light dip is this for ? The 22% one? Since they're not exactly cyclical....

The 22% one is, per the article, on an approximately 750 day cycle. The whole bunch of random dips are not cyclical.
 

fsci123

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And pretty much all technology is dictated by energy. The more tech, the more energy you need so, one of the best places to get energy from is the star which is why solar collectors and dyson spheres are popular ideas.

Anyway, for this star could it not be a mass of objects in an orbit similar to the oort cloud but perhaps bigger?

Could it not be a destroyed planet? There are so many potential explanations that to go "aliens!" is a bit silly

Wouldnt a destroyed planet show a constant dip in light rather than several intense peaks. Unless it fractured into chunks and that seems to be impossible from my knowledge.
 

Cairan

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Wouldnt a destroyed planet show a constant dip in light rather than several intense peaks. Unless it fractured into chunks and that seems to be impossible from my knowledge.

Not only that, but the paper underlines that they don't think it's that, because of the lack of a planetary christmas tree lit up in infrared in the system one would expect from a massive collision.
 

steph

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I was reading a topic on this on the AboveTopSecret forum (tinfoil crowd, I know, but I was curious about how they react) and someone mentioned how nice it would have been if Carl Sagan were still alive now to witness this.

Then again, just wait until the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michio Kaku or Stephen Hawking get a hold of this news.
 

boogabooga

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I was also wondering what would Carl Sagan say.

I suspect it would be a perfect balance of rational skepticism and excitement at the possibility.

Probably no one wanted to fill in the first entry of Encyclopedia Galactica more than him.
 
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