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Comet Swarms or Alien Megastructures-KIC 8462852, Jan 2017, virtual

The American Astronautical Society (AAS) will hold the next in its series of “hangouts” on January 12, 2017 at 3:00 pm ET.  Watch on YouTube/Facebook; chat on deepastronomy,com/live.

The topic is Comet Swarms or Alien Megastructures? What Causes the Strange Variations of the Kepler Mission Star KIC 8462852.   More details and weblinks are in the emailed announcement, which is reproduced below.


Comet Swarms or an Alien Megastructures? What Causes the Strange Variations of the Kepler Mission Star KIC 8462852?


3:00 pm ET, January 12, 2017


A star with unusual changes in brightness was discovered by the Kepler Mission Planet Hunters.  This star is called KIC 8462852 or “Tabby’s star” and has strange irregular dips in brightness and also seemed to be getting fainter over the last 4 years.  The object is slightly brighter than the Sun and is more than 1,400 light years away.  The variations and dimming are hard to explain.  One idea is that a swarm of comets has been disrupted near KIC 8462852 causing variable eclipses of the star.  Other explanations have been proposed including the presence of a massive astro engineering project or megastructure constructed by aliens.  Besides numerous follow up studies using a variety of telescopes, the scientists at the SETI Institute were very interested in investigating the latter idea and studied the star using the Allen Telescope Array for radio frequencies and several other facilities for optical observations. 


What is the cause of KIC 8462852’s strange behavior?  Tune into today’s Afternoon Astronomy Coffee Hangout to find out from Drs Jay Reynolds, Seth Shostak, Gerry Harp, and perhaps we might be lucky to have Jill Tarter, all from the SETI Institute.






Live Chat:


Past episodes:




January 12, 2017
12:00 am