Amateur and professional astronomers both alike are struggling to figure out why the celestial body is known as KIC 8462852, or Boyajian’s star is acting so mysterious.
First observed by the Kepler space telescope in 2015, KIC 8462852 has dimmed by as much as 22 percent since Friday morning, a dramatic behavior not previously observed in stars.
Scientists now have the opportunity to observe and photograph the star’s dimming behavior clearly, which astronomers hope will shed light on its mysterious appearance.
The star demonstrates perplexing behavior, appearing to dim and return to its original brightness, or flicker.
Theories abound as to what’s going on. Among the most popular are that comets are passing in front of the star, or that a nearby planet has broken apart, blocking our view from Earth with fragments of planetary matter.
Some scientists theorize that the dimming could be due to an “alien megastructure” that’s orbiting Boyajian’s star and harvesting its energy.
Whatever the object, observations of today’s dimming may help explain why it behaves the way it does.