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 Post subject: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:09 pm 
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Hey gang, thought I'd start one of these since it's such an interesting story.

The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy
http://www.theatlantic.com/science/arch ... xy/410023/

Great summary of Ross Andersen's piece at The Daily Grail if you're too busy ATM.
http://dailygrail.com/Alien-Nation/2015 ... ild-and-SE

Quote:
“When [Boyajian] showed me the data, I was fascinated by how crazy it looked,” Wright told me. “Aliens should always be the very last hypothesis you consider, but this looked like something you would expect an alien civilization to build.”

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:12 pm 
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Another great site with solid, scientific coverage of the KIC 8462582 anomaly, there's Centauri Dreams.

Quote:
In Centauri Dreams, Paul Gilster looks at peer-reviewed research on deep space exploration, with an eye toward interstellar possibilities. For the last seven years, this site has coordinated its efforts with the Tau Zero Foundation, and now serves as the Foundation's news forum. In the logo above, the leftmost star is Alpha Centauri, a triple system closer than any other star, and a primary target for early interstellar probes.


KIC 8462852: Cometary Origin of an Unusual Light Curve?
http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=34260

Quote:
Coincidences happen, so we can’t rule that out. The paper also considers catastrophic collisions in this star’s analogue to our asteroid belt, as well as the possibility that we are seeing the passage of a disintegrating comet through the system. In this scenario, the comet would have passed well within one AU. Add in a few other factors and it might work:

Quote:
The temperatures of comets at such close proximity to the star (> 410 K) would render them susceptible to thermal stresses. The existence of multiple super-Earth planets orbiting < 1 AU from many main sequence stars also points to the possibility that the comet could have been tidally disrupted in a close encounter with one such planet. It is even possible that the comet came close enough to the star for tidal disruption in the absence of other considerations; e.g., a comet similar to Halley’s comet would fall apart by tidal forces on approach to within 3–7 stellar radii (0.02 – 0.05 AU).


And this:

Quote:
Also, since fragments of the comet family would all have very similar orbits, this mitigates the problem noted in Section 4.4.2 that the detection of multiple transits may require orders of magnitude more clumps to be present in the system. Instead a single orbit is the progenitor of the observed clumps, and that orbit happens to be preferentially aligned for its transit detection. That is, it is not excluded that we have observed all the clumps present in the system.


But can the comet scenario explain details in the light curves of KIC 8462852? The paper notes how much remains to be explored, but concludes that a cometary explanation is the most consistent with the data. Conceivably a field star might have made its way through this system, triggering instabilities in KIC 8462852’s analogue to the Oort Cloud. There is in fact a small nearby star that whether bound to the system or not could be implicated in cometary infall.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:14 pm 
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A bit further right on the aisle from Phil Plait.

Did Astronomers Find Evidence of an Alien Civilization? (Probably Not. But Still Cool.)
http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronom ... fling.html

Quote:
...it turns out there are lots of these dips in the star’s light. Hundreds. And they don’t seem to be periodic at all. They have odd shapes to them, too. A planet blocking a star’s light will have a generally symmetric dip; the light fades a little, remains steady at that level, then goes back up later. The dip at 800 days in the KIC 8462852 data doesn’t do that; it drops slowly, then rises more rapidly. Another one at 1,500 days has a series of blips up and down inside the main dips. There’s also an apparent change in brightness that seems to go up and down roughly every 20 days for weeks, then disappears completely. It’s likely just random transits, but still. It’s bizarre.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:15 pm 
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What’s Next for Unusual KIC 8462852?
http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=34269

Quote:
There has been a media flurry about the SETI possibilities, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t investigate KIC 8462852 in SETI as well as astrophysical terms. No serious scientist is jumping to conclusions here other than to say that there is nothing in the laws of physics that would preclude the existence of civilizations more advanced than our own, and nothing that we know of that would keep us from detecting large artifacts. How they could be detected around other stars will be the subject of a forthcoming paper from Jason Wright and colleagues in The Astrophysical Journal, one we’ll obviously discuss here.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:16 pm 
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KIC 8462852: The SETI Factor
http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=34284

Quote:
A giant ring system? It’s a tempting thought, but the dips in light do not occur symmetrically in time, and as Wright points out, we don’t have an excess at infrared wavelengths that would be consistent with rings or debris disks. Comet fragments remain the most viable explanation, and that nearby M-dwarf (about 885 AU away from KIC 8462852) is certainly a candidate for the kind of system disrupter we are looking for. That leaves the comet explanation as the leading natural solution. A non-natural explanation may raise eyebrows, but as I said yesterday, there is nothing in physics that precludes the existence of other civilizations or of engineering on scales well beyond our own. No one is arguing for anything other than full and impartial analysis that incorporates SETI possibilities.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:18 pm 
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The Ĝ Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Large Energy Supplies. IV. The Signatures and Information Content of Transiting Megastructures
http://arxiv.org/abs/1510.04606

Quote:
Arnold (2005), Forgan (2013), and Korpela et al. (2015) noted that planet-sized artificial structures could be discovered with Kepler as they transit their host star. We present a general discussion of transiting megastructures, and enumerate ten potential ways their anomalous silhouettes, orbits, and transmission properties would distinguish them from exoplanets. We also enumerate the natural sources of such signatures.
Several anomalous objects, such as KIC 12557548 and CoRoT-29, have variability in depth consistent with Arnold's prediction and/or an asymmetric shape consistent with Forgan's model. Since well motivated physical models have so far provided natural explanations for these signals, the ETI hypothesis is not warranted for these objects, but they still serve as useful examples of how nonstandard transit signatures might be identified and interpreted in a SETI context. Boyajian et al. 2015 recently announced KIC 8462852, an object with a bizarre light curve consistent with a "swarm" of megastructures. We suggest this is an outstanding SETI target.
We develop the normalized information content statistic M to quantify the information content in a signal embedded in a discrete series of bounded measurements, such as variable transit depths, and show that it can be used to distinguish among constant sources, interstellar beacons, and naturally stochastic or artificial, information-rich signals. We apply this formalism to KIC 12557548 and a specific form of beacon suggested by Arnold to illustrate its utility.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2015 5:21 pm 
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The paper that started it all!

Planet Hunters X. KIC 8462852 - Where's the Flux?
http://arxiv.org/abs/1509.03622

Wikipedia's take on the star.

KIC 8462852
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KIC_8462852

It takes very little googling to pick up on the pseudoskeptical media types using exclamation marks to shout "IT'S NOT ALIENS!" so they can get back to revering Neil Tyson.

I'm not saying anything about aliens, but the prospect is intriguing. Looking foward to see how this shapes up over the coming months and years.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:04 am 
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Computers Would Never Have Found 'Alien Superstructure' Star--It Required Citizen Science
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... n-science/

Quote:
Others, such as astronomer Jason Wright of The Pennsylvania State University, think the exocomet explanation is contrived. Based on the light signal from the star, Wright floated an incredibly unlikely alternative explanation: artificial constructs could be orbiting the star. “People have been thinking about the possibility of detecting artificial structures with Kepler,” says Andrew Siemion, director of the Berkeley SETI Research Center. (SETI is short for search for extraterrestrial intelligence.) “In this case the theory has come to the fore because now we have a very strange looking light curve and we’re struggling to find an explanation for it.”

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:05 pm 
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How Astronomers Will Determine If That 'Megastructure' Really Is Alien

http://motherboard.vice.com/read/lookin ... ic-8462852

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 1:01 pm 
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SETI to search for laser pulses near the Kepler ‘alien mega structure’ star

http://stgist.com/2015/10/seti-to-searc ... -star-4649

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 2:37 pm 
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SETI: No Signal Detected from KIC 8462852

http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=34363

Mind you, they've only been looking for two weeks.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 8:52 am 
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Interesting topic. Looking forward to future findings.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 5:40 pm 
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There's a new development with the mysterious star system around the no-flux, F3 "Tabby's Star"

Yes, I just realized I made a typo upon creating this thread. No typos in my article:

New Developments Around KIC 8462852
http://dailygrail.com/Alien-Nation/2016 ... IC-8462852

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:36 pm 
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Regarding the new developments around KIC 8462852, Michael Hippke posted a rebuttal on arXiv

http://arxiv.org/abs/1601.07314

He says the dimming wasn't that notable and there needs to be more work done with DASCH's astronomical plates.

Schaefer shoots back over at Centauri Dreams on the elementary mistakes evident in Hippke's paper.

http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=34933

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:50 pm 
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Comets May Not Explain 'Alien Megastructure' Star's Strange Flickering After All
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... after-all/

Quote:
The results also change the requirements for the alien megastructure hypothesis. Plait pointed out that the general fading is actually what you'd expect to see if aliens were building a massive sphere around their star. But before you get your hopes up, consider this: Plait calculated that aliens would need to build a minimum of 750 billion square kilometers (290 billion square miles) of solar panels to account for the 20 percent drop in their star's brightness. "That's 1,500 times the area of the entire Earth," Plait wrote. "Yikes."

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:49 pm 
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A cartoon primer on KIC 8462852 over at Wired

http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive ... ery/625396

Not much else, sadly.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2016 10:01 pm 
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Did We Just Discover Aliens?

http://ideas.ted.com/did-we-just-discover-aliens/

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2016 8:04 am 
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Read the whole post because it's interesting news!

New study supports natural causes, not alien activity, explain mystery star’s behavior

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2016/05/new- ... -behavior/

Lund, et al., call Schaefer's methodology and some of his data into quesiton. Why Vanderbilt University chose such a clickbaity headline is beyond me. The paper's conclusion doesn't even make such a declaration.

Don't despair, Vic I'm looking at you, as Sarah Fecht notes 'Alien Megastructure' Star Only Gets More Mysterious

Quote:
Schaefer, though, is not confident in the Vanderbilt team's data. "They have included stars and measures that no experienced person would use," he told us in an email. He said he is also having a hard time verifying their data.

But the good news, according to Tabetha Boyajian, one of the star's discoverers and its nickname-sake, says that "even if the Harvard plates aren't able to measure this robustly, there are a few other data sets to check out before [the long-term dimming hypothesis] is totally canned."

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2016 9:11 am 
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Here's Your Chance to Help Astronomers Discover an Alien Megastructure

http://gizmodo.com/heres-your-chance-to ... 1777371790

Actually they're begging for money on Kickstarter which is the story. The rest just rehashes the story behind Tabby's Star.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:50 pm 
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The Most Mysterious Star in the Galaxy

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/gue ... he-galaxy/

Quote:
Astronomers understand big flaming balls of gases very well, and there is very high confidence that lone F3 main-sequence stars cannot have variations of more than 0.01 percent on any time scale shorter than millions of years. (Well, except for superflares, which these are not.) Further, the light curve dips are not modulated by the known stellar rotation. So the dips aren't from the underlying star.


And paraphrasing to cite here:

Quote:
The trouble is that if the light's being blocked by a planet, star, or gas cloud, this requires that all of these things should be emitting large amounts of infrared light. It should be bright enough to be readily seen above the normal expected infrared light from the primary star. In astro-jargon, Tabby's Star does not have any excess of infrared light.


Which brings us to:

Quote:
We can imagine accretion disks with flaring edges, or complex multiple star systems with improbable orbits, or vast streams of super-giant comets, or dusty asteroid-asteroid collisions. But all of these require an infrared excess. This includes the suggestion that the dips in brightness might be caused by some partially-constructed artificial “Dyson Sphere” built by a very advanced civilization around the star. But any hypothetical large-scale structures around the star must also emit a lot of light in the infrared, since they must radiate away the huge influx of energy that they intercept from the primary star.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 4:24 pm 
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This piece from New Scientist is in the vein of the news regarding KIC 8462852

Impossible vanishing stars could be signs of advanced alien life

https://www.newscientist.com/article/20 ... lien-life/

Quote:
Unlike Tabby’s Star, a baffling star that dips in brightness and made headlines last year when astronomers suggested that “alien megastructures” could be the culprit, these objects would have no physical culprit behind their sudden disappearance – it’s just not possible for something to suddenly vanish from the universe without a trace. Instead, Villarroel and her colleagues invoke Arthur C. Clarke’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2016 4:40 pm 
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Jerry Lodriguss just posted a "standard" astrophoto of the field with Tabby's Star at:

http://www.astropix.com/KIC_8462852.html

Being that it's around magnitude 12, just half a degree from NGC 6866 in Cygnus, and about 3° from 31 and 32 Cygni (an easy naked-eye double in the northern quadrant of the Cygnus stick figure), it should be relatively easy to find in a scope -- especially with the photo as a guide (print a negative of it). Jerry also lists other catalog numbers that would be useful for looking it up in a planetarium program.

For me, it would be a lot more interesting if I actually saw it with my own eyes.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:00 pm 
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The Culture Next Door: Tabby's Star Remains Strange... And Unique
http://dailygrail.com/Alien-Nation/2016 ... And-Unique

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:28 am 
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KIC 8462852 Faded Throughout the Kepler Mission

https://arxiv.org/abs/1608.01316

Quote:
We examine whether the rapid decline could be caused by a cloud of transiting circumstellar material, finding while such a cloud could evade detection in sub-mm observations, the transit ingress and duration cannot be explained by a simple cloud model. Moreover, this model cannot account for the observed longer-term dimming. No known or proposed stellar phenomena can fully explain all aspects of the observed light curve.

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 Post subject: Re: KIC 8472852 thread
PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2016 10:23 am 
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Tabby's Star: Is it Beginning to Look a lot like Aliens?

http://dailygrail.com/Alien-Nation/2016 ... Lot-Aliens

Something I wrote to play around with Montet and Simon's graphs, and what Boyajian and pals will be looking for with their survey with the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network.

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