Tabby's Star has a brightness that can’t be easily explained by natural phenomena.
US – An astronomer at Yale University has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds that allow in depth exploration of a star whose brightness could be explained by changing a concept of science fiction applicable to advanced extraterrestrial civilizations.
Of the 150 billion stars analyzed by the Kepler space telescope, only one so far has been left without explanation by the astronomers: the KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby’s Star, in honor of the scientist from Yale Tabetha Boyajian, who began investigating this distant star in the Milky Way.
The Kepler telescope, which stored data of stars with possible planets in 2009-2013, has allowed us to analyze the brightness of a star cluster in the constellation Cygnus to determine whether these stars are orbited by celestial bodies, which has shown that most of stars forming planetary systems.
In the fall of 2015, a group of scientists and citizens discovered a star with a brightness that can’t be easily explained by natural phenomena and could be the first test of a theory developed decades ago to detect advanced civilizations in space.
Boyajian explained that from a dozen natural explanations that have been analyzed the theory of a Dyson sphere is something that could explain the erratic brightness of this star, but it is very general.
The Dyson sphere is a hypothetical megastructure panels around a star that would be used by a very advanced civilization that has consumed the resources of their planet and needs huge amounts of energy.
This theory, developed by physicist Freeman Dyson in the sixties, could explain why the brightness of the star Tabby does not have a periodic change and sometimes almost completely obscured, something that has never been detected before.
But Kepler can no longer gather more information about this star due to a failure in 2013, and Boyajian and astronomers around the world who have been captivated by this strange star need more data to decipher the enigma.
To do this, they have launched a crowdfunding campaign (kck.st/1PaKfxB) that aims to raise more than $ 100,000 before the end of the month.
Boyajian said that they want to lead a network of private telescopes around the world to enable constant monitoring and detection of the star when it begins to fade their shine and take measurements whenever it does not behave regularly.
Although it is difficult to reach the detection capability of a space telescope, Boyajian is confident that powerful ground-based observatories can observe other wavelengths from the star, which is not visible from the earth three months a year.
Another explanation for the unusual behavior of this star would that be orbited by a massive amalgamation of comets and asteroid dust, which Bradley Schaefer, a scientist at the University of Louisiana, assumes impossible after making calculations.
Boyajian wants to keep this fundraising campaign spirit of global collaboration that allowed find the star that bears his name and that if new data permit, could indicate the existence of a civilization much more advanced than ours thousand five hundred years us light.