back to article Tantalising Tabby's Star teases watchers with big dimming event

In January, boffins decided they'd settled the mystery of “Tabby's Star”, the far-off star that dimmed so rapidly it almost looked like something, or someone, was responsible. Scientists have since shrugged off the idea the dimming is caused by an "alien megastructure". Instead, they suggest there's just a lot of dust …

  1. Notas Badoff

    I love Science best when there's one person saying ...

    "Hey, have you guys seen anything like this before?", and more and more people get roped in saying ???!?!?!!! The simple question "how do you explain this?" is actually the nicest gift you can give to your colleagues.

    Like Hanny's Voorwerp. "Hey, guys, what's that green cloud thingy just hanging out in space, 700 million light years away?" (tee hee)

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: I love Science best when there's one person saying ...

      I think it was Faraday who said "all this is a dream, still examine it with a few experiments"

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    The flying spaghetti monster

    Dims in mysterious waves

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: The flying spaghetti monster

      That's the logical answer... who or what else could it be? This has to be the home star of FSM.

      1. hplasm

        Re: The flying spaghetti monster

        That's no's a meatball!

  3. Scott Broukell

    Perhaps . . . .

    They are very, very slowly sending out a message, in morse code?

    1. smartermind

      Re: Perhaps . . . .

      Not morse code, but alien-Apache smoke signals! They are out to get us, and so the alien invasion begins.


  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An advanced civilisation could be making an entire sun flash to attract somebody's attention and your planet says 'meh' probably randomly orbiting dust. Where is this human curiosity my species have heard so much about?

    1. Justicesays

      They already decoded the message and it says

      "Buy alien cola"

      They concluded it wasn't sent by intelligent life after all.

  5. lglethal Silver badge

    Science = Awesome!

    So i guess the dust cloud is not evenly distributed around the star and is orbiting the star? Hence the periodical dimming.

    Still how cool is the science involved that we can even see this! Beers all round for everyone involved!

    1. David 164

      Re: Science = Awesome!

      Well that the theory, surely there should be some sort of pattern that should eventually emerge with enough observation of the star, until that pattern emerge this is nothing more than a guess.

  6. Jonathan Richards 1

    Periodic, at all?

    With that many data points, a Fourier transform or something might reveal some one or more periodicities. Has anyone attempted that? No time to look for myself at the moment.

  7. VinceH

    We may have found Alderaan.

  8. Axman

    If It Was A Dust Cloud...

    ...surely the absorption lines in a spectrographic analysis would tell us if the dimming is being caused by dust or not, wouldn't it?

  9. 0laf

    So the FSM is making shadow animals on the Earth using Tabby's Star as a bulb and his noodly appendages.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a dust cloud

    Move along, nothing to see here, its just a dust cloud .... hang on a minute, didn't Fred Hoyle write a SciFi story(*) about a superinteligent dust cloud.

    (*) The Black Cloud - must have read it 30-40 years ago and even then it was delightfully dated with references to one of the characters going into the computer room and feeling the comfortable warmth and hum of all the vacuum tubes!

  11. Empire of the Pussycat

    tabbies have stripes

    clearly that will cause the fluctuations

  12. Triumphantape


    It dims when the pupil swings this way.

  13. Blofeld's Cat

    Twinkle, twinkle little star ...

    Probably just a bit of dust in one of the fuel injectors making it splutter a bit. Nothing a good blast through with an air line wouldn't fix.

  14. Scroticus Canis

    I do like how it got it's nick name

    Let's hope the lady gets us some answers soon.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's hoping

    That its a failed Dyson Sphere or something fairly innocuous, not an entire *system* filled with Star Destroyers all on their way here via hyperspace, arriving on 01/04/18 at 04.00 am

    Not sure what Trump will do when faced with an entire alien invasion fleet but it would be a very short battle. I suppose he could always offer to surrender.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here's hoping

      My money's on a severe attack of bone spurs.

    2. onefang

      Re: Here's hoping

      "Not sure what Trump will do when faced with an entire alien invasion fleet but it would be a very short battle. I suppose he could always offer to surrender."

      After offering them a cup of covfefe.

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