By Daryll LaCourse

Tabby's Star is a main sequence F-class star (KIC 8462852) observed by the NASA Kepler spacecraft to undergo significant aperiodic dimming activity across a four year baseline. The light curve was noted as novel amongst a pool of ~150,000 targets through visual inspection performed by participants of the project. Boyajian, et al. (2015) reported an analysis which attempted to model the enigmatic behavior under various scenarios, with a swarm of exo-comets offered as a potential (but problematic) leading explanation. Subsequent follow-up studies failed to detect a significant IR excess or the presence of close stellar companions. Wright, et al. (2015) offered an alternative explanation invoking transits of alien-megastructures, which may not produce a detectable IR excess or radial velocity signal.

To date, a robust model to explain the behavior of Tabby's Star remains elusive.

The Kepler spacecraft is now observing a series of new ecliptic fields (K2) and has accumulated observations of ~165,000 additional targets. Continued visual inspection of these public data has failed to recover an analog to KIC 8462852. Lack of such a detection suggests that the aperiodic dimming indeed represents a rare astrophysical phenomenon, regardless of the true root cause mechanism involved. Future photometric surveys by K2 and TESS will offer additional opportunity to search for such analogs.

Attachment: 8462852_LC_img.png (142 KB)


Update: Still no candidate for an analog to KIC 8462852 after continued visual examination of all K2 data through Campaign Field 13.

Daryll LaCourse · 17 Oct, 2017
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Daryll LaCourse



Published: 4 Aug, 2016

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