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Second 'alien megastructure' star discovered


Posted on Sunday, 25 November, 2018 | Comment icon 13 comments

What could be responsible for the dimming ? Image Credit: NASA / Rick Guidice
Astronomers have identified a second star that exhibits the same peculiar dimming behavior as Tabby's Star.
Discovered by astronomer Roberto Saito of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil and colleagues, the star has been named VVV-WIT-07 with 'WIT' standing for 'what is this?'

What makes the star particularly unusual is its unorthodox pattern of dimming which seems consistent with that of Tabby's Star, albeit with a greater level of dimming (80% as oppose to 20% for Tabby's).

The phenomenon gained prominence back in 2016 when astronomer Jason Wright suggested that one possible explanation for it was the presence of a giant extraterrestrial structure in space.

"We don't know what the object is," said Saito. "And that's interesting."

As things stand however, the most likely explanation is that there is a large cloud of dust particles orbiting the star as oppose to a single large object like a planet (or a giant alien structure).

"If this phenomenon is the same as what's happening with Tabby's star, then we can't invoke an elaborate explanation for what's happening in both systems," said astronomer Tabetha Boyajian.

"If you're starting to see stars similar to this all over the place, then it's got to be a really common thing that happens in nature. That's really cool."

Source: Sciencenews.org | Comments (13)

Tags: Alien Megastructure

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by sci-nerd on 25 November, 2018, 19:35
As far as I can tell from this article (about Tabby's) the dust particles are too small to avoid ejection from the solar system, and the star itself is just a bit younger than our sun, so it does not seem to be a protoplanetary disk. Would have been cool though.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Not A Rockstar on 25 November, 2018, 20:56
So only during the sun's formation can orbits arise? What if this stuff is from some other explosion and is forming later? What if a blast of "stuff" came into ours? It would sort out one way or another, right?  Or am I wrong and our own sun won't do this anymore because of its age? It would still be obscured though, for a while.
Comment icon #6 Posted by sci-nerd on 25 November, 2018, 21:59
No, but the type/size of matter (large grained dust and rocks) needed to form planets is only in abundance in a solar systems youth. Small dust particles (like they assume are causing the dimming at Tabby's and this new discovered one) get ejected by solar wind. The mystery is how the dust got there? How did it get into an old solar system? Or rather: What happened, that turned so much matter into dust?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Not A Rockstar on 25 November, 2018, 22:04
Thanks @sci-nerd I am wondering what is nearby that may have blown stuff there, perhaps a nova or major collision?  I find this interesting, though I did enjoy the few scientists allowing the speculation it might have been a built thing back early in the Tabby business. Gave me hope for more elasticity there than one might be led to expect. Yet, strangely, I didn't think so, for all I hope for ET. I figured it was floating debris or obstructions causing it.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Rolci on 25 November, 2018, 22:10
And only 2 stars in the universe with protoplanetary disks with us in the plane. Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
Comment icon #9 Posted by TripGun on 26 November, 2018, 16:07
I would go with a dust cloud theory but space dust tends to flatten out in orbit, so more likely it's gravitational lensing from something in between.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 26 November, 2018, 17:39
Gravitational lensing requires a massive object. How has such an object managed to go undetected? Gravitational lensing is not selective, it would distort the image of the star as well as that of the mysterious "structure", how is it not doing that?
Comment icon #11 Posted by InconceivableThoughts on 26 November, 2018, 19:35
It would seem more practical to engulf a star in some sort of nano technology that collects the energy then some giant object that would be more prone to impacts from asteroids and other bodies . I would also imagine less maintenance.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Nnicolette on 2 December, 2018, 19:14
I dont understand why the idea "alien megastructure" was used. It seems like a pretty huge leap in logic from a star partially dimming to " there may be an alien megastructure blocking it" maybe i just dont follow how that is even logical. Is there some other piece of evidence that led to this? My random first guess since we already ruled out a dust cloud early on is that the star is having combustion issues. By that i mean what if there are dead spots or crust has solidified for some reason or the stars own internal weather is causing the dim patches. Seems as possible to me as a giant constr... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by StarMountainKid on 2 December, 2018, 20:46
I like the idea of many small artificial structures gathering energy from the star for some purpose. It would seem more efficient to construct many small energy absorbing and transmitting structures than a few very large constructs. Easier to manufacture and place into orbit around the star. Just speculation.  


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