Astronomy

In System KIC 9246715, How Far Does One Star Orbit the Other?

In System KIC 9246715, How Far Does One Star Orbit the Other?


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I was going to ask if it's physically possible for one red giant to orbit another, but fortunately, I have just found such a thing--a red giant binary system known only as KIC 9246715. In this article, all I could find of the distance between the stars is that one orbits the other in an orbit of 171 days.

The only problem with that statement is that it doesn't tell how far one star orbits the other in miles. In our solar system, a 171-day orbit would be midway between Mercury (orbital revolution: 88 days) and Venus (orbital revolution: 225 days). Obviously, this couldn't be the case for two stars that are each bigger than our own sun. But even binaries confer to Kepler's Third Law of Motion, that the farther one body is from its parent, the slower it'll complete one revolution.

So in this real system, have there been any estimations of how far one star orbits the others measured in miles or kilometers?


The AAS Nova article cites Rawls et al. 2016, who analyze light curves and spectra of the eclipsing binary KIC 9246715 to estimate its physical properties. Besides the stellar masses and radii in the article, their Table 2 lists orbital semimajor axis a = 211 R = 147 million km = 0.98 au, and orbital eccentricity e = 0.356. During the 171-day period, the distance between the two stars varies between 95 and 199 million km, or 0.63 and 1.33 au.


Title: INTERNAL ROTATION OF THE RED-GIANT STAR KIC 4448777 BY MEANS OF ASTEROSEISMIC INVERSION

We study the dynamics of the stellar interior of the early red-giant star KIC 4448777 by asteroseismic inversion of 14 splittings of the dipole mixed modes obtained from Kepler observations. In order to overcome the complexity of the oscillation pattern typical of red-giant stars, we present a procedure to extract the rotational splittings from the power spectrum. We find not only that the core rotates from a minimum of 8 to a maximum of 17 times faster than the surface, confirming previous inversion results generated for other red giants (Deheuvels et al.), but we also estimate the variation of the angular velocity within the helium core with a spatial resolution of 0.001R and verify the hypothesis of a sharp discontinuity in the inner stellar rotation. The results show that the entire core rotates rigidly and provide evidence for an angular velocity gradient around the base of the hydrogen-burning shell however, we do not succeed in characterizing the rotational slope, due to the intrinsic limits of the applied techniques. The angular velocity, from the edge of the core, appears to decrease with increasing distance from the center, reaching an average value in the convective envelope of 68 ± 22 nHz. We conclude that a setmore » of data that includes only dipolar modes is sufficient to infer quite accurately the rotation of a red giant not only in the dense core but also, with a lower level of confidence, in part of the radiative region and in the convective envelope. « less


Contents

Kepler-11 and its planets were discovered by NASA's Kepler Mission, a mission tasked with discovering planets in transit around their stars. The transit method that Kepler uses involves detecting dips in brightness in stars. These dips in brightness can be interpreted as planets whose orbits move in front of their stars from the perspective of Earth. Kepler-11 is the first discovered exoplanetary system with more than three transiting planets. [6]

Kepler-11 is named for the Kepler Mission: it is the 11th star with confirmed planets discovered in the Kepler field of view. The planets are named alphabetically, starting with the innermost: b, c, d, e, f, and g, distinguishers that are tagged onto the name of their home star.

Kepler-11 is a G-type star that is approximately 104% the mass of and 102% the radius of the Sun. It has a surface temperature of about 5836 K and is estimated to have an age of around 3.2 billion years. [3] In comparison, the Sun is about 4.6 billion years old [7] and has a surface temperature of 5778 K. [8]

With an apparent magnitude of 14.2, it is too faint to be seen with the naked eye. [2]

All known planets transit the star this means that all six planets' orbits appear to cross in front of their star as viewed from the Earth's perspective. Their inclinations relative to Earth's line of sight, or how far above or below the plane of sight they are, vary by a little more than a degree. This allows direct measurements of the planets' periods and relative diameters (compared to the host star) by monitoring each planet's transit of the star. Simulations suggest that the mean mutual inclinations of the planetary orbits are about 1°, meaning the system is probably more coplanar (flatter) than the Solar System, where the corresponding figure is 2.3°. [2]

The estimated masses of planets b - f fall in the range between those of Earth and Neptune. Their estimated densities, all lower than that of Earth, imply that none of them have an Earth-like composition [9] a significant hydrogen/helium atmosphere is predicted for planets c, d, e, f, and g, while planet b may be surrounded by a steam atmosphere or perhaps by a hydrogen atmosphere. [10] [11] The low densities likely result from high-volume extended atmospheres that surround cores of iron, rock, and possibly H2O. [11] [12] The inner constituents of the Kepler-11 system were, at the time of their discoveries, the most comprehensively understood extrasolar planets smaller than Neptune. [13] Currently, observations do not place a firm constraint on the mass of planet g (<25 ME). [10] However, formation and evolution studies indicate that the mass of planet g is not much greater than about 7 ME. [11]

Kepler-11 planets may have formed in situ (i.e., at their observed orbital locations) or ex situ, that is, they may have started their formation farther away from the star while migrating inward through gravitational interactions with a gaseous protoplanetary disk. This second scenario predicts that a substantial fraction of the planets' mass is in H2O. [11] Regardless of the formation scenario, the gaseous component of the planets accounts for less than about 20% of their masses but for ≈40 to ≈60% of their radii. In 2014, the dynamical simulation shown what the Kepler-11 planetary system have likely to undergone a substantial inward migration in the past, producing an observed pattern of lower-mass planets on tightest orbits. [14] Additional yet unobserved gas giant planets on wider orbit are likely necessary for migration of smaller planets to proceed that far inward. [15]

The system is among the most compact known the orbits of planets b - f would easily fit inside the orbit of Mercury, with g only slightly outside it. Despite this close packing of the orbits, dynamical integrations indicate the system has the potential to be stable on a time scale of billions of years. [2] However, the planetary system of Kepler-11 currently may be on the verge of instability. [16]

None of the planets are in low-ratio orbital resonances, in which multiple planets gravitationally tug on and stabilize each other's orbits, resulting in simple ratios of their orbital periods. [12] However, b and c are close to a 5:4 ratio. [2]

There could conceivably be other planets in the system that do not transit the star, but they would only be detectable by the effects of their gravity on the motion of the visible planets (much as how Neptune was discovered). The presence of additional gas giant planets is currently excluded up to orbital radius of 30 AU. [17] Planet g has a low chance of being a desert planet.


OneWeb, SpaceX satellites dodged a potential collision in orbit

Two satellites from the fast-growing constellations of OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink dodged a dangerously close approach with one another in orbit last weekend, representatives from the US Space Force and OneWeb said. It’s the first known collision avoidance event for the two rival companies as they race to expand their new broadband-beaming networks in space.

On March 30th, five days after OneWeb launched its latest batch of 36 satellites from Russia, the company received several “red alerts” from the US Space Force’s 18th Space Control Squadron warning of a possible collision with a Starlink satellite. Because OneWeb’s constellation operates in higher orbits around Earth, the company’s satellites must pass through SpaceX’s mesh of Starlink satellites, which orbit at an altitude of roughly 550 km.

One Space Force alert indicated a collision probability of 1.3 percent, with the two satellites coming as close as 190 feet — a dangerously close proximity for satellites in orbit. If satellites collide in orbit, it could cause a cascading disaster that could generate hundreds of pieces of debris and send them on crash courses with other satellites nearby.

Currently, there’s no national or global authority that would force satellite operators to take action on predicted collisions. Space Force’s urgent alerts sent OneWeb engineers scrambling to email SpaceX’s Starlink team to coordinate maneuvers that would put the two satellites at safer distances from one another.

While coordinating with OneWeb, SpaceX disabled its automated AI-powered collision avoidance system to allow OneWeb to steer its satellite out of the way, according to OneWeb’s government affairs chief Chris McLaughlin. It was unclear why exactly SpaceX disabled the system. SpaceX, which rarely responds to reporters, did not return multiple requests for comment for this story, nor did David Goldman, the company’s director of satellite policy.

SpaceX’s automated system for avoiding satellite collisions has sparked controversy, raising concerns from other satellite operators who say they have no way of knowing which way the system will move a Starlink satellite in the event of a close approach. “Coordination is the issue,” McLaughlin says. “It is not sufficient to say ‘I’ve got an automated system,’ because the other guy may not have, and won’t understand what yours is trying to do.”

OneWeb satellites (left) launch in batches of 36. SpaceX’s Starlink satellites (right) launch in batches of 60. Images: OneWeb / SpaceX

SpaceX has roughly 1,370 Starlink satellites in orbit and is on track to launch thousands more, with ambitions to build a 12,000-satellite network of global broadband coverage. OneWeb has launched 146 satellites so far, of the roughly 650 it plans to send into orbit for a similar global network, operating in higher orbits around Earth. And Jeff Bezos’ Amazon has pledged to join the same race, planning to launch over 3,000 satellites in low-Earth orbit. All companies want to beam broadband internet into Earth’s most rural regions to meet increasing demand from consumers and governments alike.

“This event was a good example of how satellite operators can be responsible given the constraints of global best practices,” says Diana McKissock, the head of the Space Force 18th Space Control Squadron’s data sharing and spaceflight safety wing. “They shared their data with each other, they got in contact with each other, and I think in absence of any global regulation, that’s. the art of the possible.”

Still, the sharp increase of satellites in orbit, mainly driven by SpaceX’s Starlink venture, has moved faster than any authority can regulate the industry for safety. McKissock says SpaceX has made efforts to increase its transparency in orbit the company currently provides location data of its satellites to other operators. But its automated system for avoiding collisions is a closed book where openness and coordination are needed the most, analysts and operators say.

“What is the point of having it if you have to turn it off when there’s going to be a potential collision?” Victoria Samson of the Secure World Foundation says, adding that the void of any clear international framework for managing active objects in space makes it largely unclear who would be held responsible if a collision actually occurred.

Satellite maneuvers in space are common, but worry in the industry is mounting as OneWeb, SpaceX, Amazon, and other companies race to toss more satellites into space. And this Starlink close call isn’t the first. In 2019, a European Space Agency satellite had to move out of the way of a Starlink satellite to avoid a potential collision. SpaceX didn’t move its satellite because of a computer bug that prevented proper communication with ESA, it said at the time.

With more OneWeb satellite launches planned on a monthly basis, and with planned constellations from Amazon and Telesat in higher orbits than Starlink, the need to establish clear rules of the road in orbit is becoming more urgent than ever. SpaceX looms especially large, not just because of the size of its constellation but because of where it’s sending them. “OneWeb and others will have to transit through Starlink to reach their destinations, so SpaceX needs to ensure now that other satellite operators can do that safely,” says Caleb Henry, a satellite industry analyst at Quilty Analytics.

McKissock says the 18th Space Control Squadron is fully aware of the industry concerns with SpaceX’s autonomous avoidance approach. “So it’s been interesting,” she says. “But like I said, I’m glad they talked to each other. The scary situation is when one of the operators is not communicative, and then it’s just crossing your fingers.”

Correction, April 9, 3:00PM ET:A source originally identified the company that maneuvered their satellite out of the way as SpaceX. After publication, they clarified that the satellite that made the maneuver belonged to OneWeb.


Reach for the Stars: Planethunters.org volunteer amateur astronomers help find new planet

An artist's illustration of PH1, a planet discovered by volunteers from the Planet Hunters citizen science project. PH1, shown in the foreground, is the first reported case of a planet orbiting a double-star that, in turn, is orbited by a second distant pair of stars. The phenomenon is called a circumbinary planet in a four-star system. A bit larger than Neptune and thought to be a gas giant, PH1 orbits its host stars every 137 days. Beyond the planet's orbit approximately 900 times the distance between the sun and Earth, a second pair of stars orbits the planetary system.

By AMANDA JERMYN

Far, far away, in a star system known as KIC 4862625, there exists a planet illuminated by four different suns.

This may seem like something out of “Star Wars,” where Luke Skywalker’s home planet Tatooine was graced with two setting suns, but the recently discovered planet with its four suns is real.

Welcome to the exotic world of exoplanets circling stars beyond our solar system.

What is even more remarkable is how this newfound planet was discovered – by two amateur astronomers, Dr. Robert Gagliano, an oncologist from Arizona, and Kian Jek, a semi-retired computer executive from California, collaborating over the Internet.

Amanda Jermyn, of Longmeadow, has been a member of the Springfield Stars Club since 2000 and currently serves on the club’s board of directors. For more information, go online to www.reflector.org or call (800) 336-9054.

Both are volunteers in an online project called Planet Hunters (www.planethunters.org), established in 2010, in which participants, using their home computers, search for exoplanets. They do this by analyzing data from NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, launched in 2009 to search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars.

The volunteers, who need have no expertise in astronomy, examine graphs of light from individual stars, looking for the dip in brightness that indicates a planet moving in front of, or transiting, a star.

While analyzing the binary, or two-star, system KIC 4862625, Gagliano noticed the signal of a possible transiting planet. He then noted that the planet appeared to transit twice, with an orbit of 137 days. Gagliano posted his observations on the Planet Hunters’ online forum where it was noticed by Kian Jek who, on further study, found a third transit that also corresponded with a 137-day orbit.

Led by Megan Schwamb, of Yale University, the team of professional astronomers that oversees Planet Hunters then investigated further, using various instruments, including the Keck telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. They concluded that what Gagliano and Jek had found was a gaseous planet 5,000 light years away, with a radius about 6.2 times larger than Earth’s, and with four, rather than two suns. The planet, about the size of Neptune, orbits one binary star system, a pair of stars that orbit each other, and this system is, in turn, orbited by a second pair of stars farther out.

What is not well understood is why the planet isn’t pulled apart by the gravity exerted on it by the four stars.

According to Dr. Chris Lintott, of Oxford University, the few planets known to orbit double stars are all orbiting close to their stars. It would therefore seem likely that the gravity exerted by the nearby stars is strong enough to allow the planet to maintain a stable orbit.

The newly-discovered planet, named PH1, is the first confirmed exoplanet discovered by the Planet Hunters collaboration. It is also the first planet known to have four suns. Binary star systems are quite common. However, only six exoplanets have been found to orbit such binaries, and none of these were known to have another pair of stars orbiting them – until now.

By virtue of thinking differently, humans can sometimes spot something a computer has missed, so given the large number of participants in the Planet Hunters project (over 170,000 volunteers so far), perhaps more planets with multiple suns or other strange features will soon be discovered.

Join the Springfield Stars Club on Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Springfield Science Museum for a presentation by Jack Megas and Tim Connolly on "Mysteries of the Aurora." Refreshments will be served, and the public is welcome free of charge.

Megas and Connolly will explain the night sky light display known as the northern lights or aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere and the aurora astralis in the southern hemisphere. Their talk will be accompanied by striking photos and video footage of auroras around the world.

Jack Megas is an astronomy educator at the Springfield Science Museum’s Seymour Planetarium, and a retired laboratory hematologist at Bay State Medical Center. He is a past president of both the Springfield Stars Club and the Naturalist Club. Tim Connolly, an amateur astronomer, is employed by Baystate Medical Center’s Pathology Department, performing diagnostic electron microscopy. He has a BS degree in biology, chemistry, physics and astronomy. Connolly is secretary of the Amherst Area Amateur Astronomers Association.

Note to readers: if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links we may earn a commission.


Giant Planet 13 Times The Mass Of Jupiter Found Orbiting In An 'Exotic' Red Star/Dead Star System

Brazilian researchers have identified robust signs of the existence of a giant object in the Cygnus . [+] constellation orbiting a binary system of a live star and a white dwarf.

Astronomers in Brazil have just published in the Astronomical Journal evidence of a "giant Jupiter" planet in a distant and "exotic " star system in the Milky Way. As well as having 13 times the mass of Jupiter, the exoplanet is the first found that orbits an older or more evolved binary in which one of the two stars is dead.

What is a binary star?

Think our solar system is "normal?" Think again. The most common kind of star systems in our Milky Way galaxy are multiple stars systems, where two or more stars orbit each other, or rather, they orbit a common center of mass. Perhaps up to 85% of stars are in binary systems, including famous "stars" Sirius, Spica, Rigel, and Alpha Centauri. Binary stars are gravitationally bound to each other, so not to be confused with "double stars", which usually refer to stars that optically appear very close to each other line-of-sight in binoculars or a telescope, but may be in completely different star systems. There are plenty of triple and higher star systems, too. Polaris, the North Star, is a triple star system, while Kepler data has before been used to find "the impossible triple star" system KIC 2856960.

However, the KIC 10544976 star system is also unique.

Alpha and Beta Centauri from a beach in Miramar, Argentina. Alpha is the star system closest to our . [+] Sun. photo credit: Getty

What did the astronomers discover?

"We succeeded in obtaining pretty solid evidence of the existence of a giant exoplanet with a mass almost 13 times that of Jupiter in an evolved binary system," said lead author Leonardo Andrade de Almeida at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN). "This is the first confirmation of an exoplanet in a system of this kind." Almeida and co-author Augusto Damineli studied close binary star system KIC 10544976, using data from ground-based telescopes between 2005 and 2017, and from the Kepler Space Telescope between 2009 and 2013. The Kepler Space Telescope, which completed its mission in 2018, has been responsible for the majority of the 4,000+ exoplanet discoveries so far.

Artist's conception of the Kepler Space Telescope.

What is KIC 10544976?

KIC 10544976 contains a white dwarf star (a dead low-mass star with high surface temperature) and a red dwarf star (a live magnetically active star with a small mass compared to our Sun) that orbit each other in rapidly every 0.35 days. "The system is unique," said Almeida. "No similar system has enough data to let us calculate orbital period variation and magnetic cycle activity for the live star."

KIC 10544976 is in the constellation of Cygnus "the Swan" in the northern celestial hemisphere, a region studied closely by the Kepler Space Telescope.

This illustration depicts NASA's exoplanet hunter, the Kepler space telescope. The agency announced . [+] on Oct. 30, 2018, that Kepler has run out of fuel and is being retired within its current and safe orbit, away from Earth.

How was the "giant Jupiter" discovered?

The stars' orbits vary slightly, which the astronomers noticed from variations in the time taken for each of the two stars to eclipse each other. "Variations in the orbital period of a binary are due to gravitational attraction among the three objects, which orbit around a common center of mass," said Almeida. The key to the study was to research the magnetic activity cycle of the binary's "live" red dwarf star by monitoring the rate and energy of solar flares and the variability in its luminosity caused by sun-spots. "Variations in our Sun's magnetic activity eventually cause a change in its magnetic field," said Almeida."The same is true of all isolated stars. In binaries, these variations also cause a change in the orbital period due to what we call the Applegate mechanism."

The researchers measured magnetic cycles and found their results were what would be expected for single low-mass stars, and found only one long-term variation. "This completely refutes the hypothesis that orbital period variation is due to magnetic activity," said Almeida. "The most plausible explanation is the presence of a giant planet orbiting the binary, with a mass approximately 13 times that of Jupiter."

Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), in Chile's Atacama Desert, will help to obtain answers on the . [+] formation and evolution of these exotic environments, as well as the possibility of life there.

2019 GMTO Corporation/Mason Media Inc.

Why we need to get a closer look at "giant Jupiter

How did "giant Jupiter" form and evolve? Is it a "first-generation" planet that developed at the same time as the two stars billions of years ago? Or did it form out of the gas ejected during the death of the white dwarf, making it a second-generation planet? Is there life on "giant Jupiter?" These are questions that can only be answered by ground-based telescopes with primary mirrors exceeding 20 meters, which is why the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is investing US$40 million in the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), which is currently being constructed in Chile's Atacama Desert and expected to see first light in 2024.

"We're probing 20 systems in which external bodies could show gravitational effects, such as KIC 10544976, and most are only observable from the southern hemisphere," said Almeida. "The GMT will enable us to detect these objects directly and obtain important answers on the formation and evolution of these exotic environments, as well as the possibility of life there."

The future of exoplanet-hunting

With the launch of the Kepler Space Telescope in 2011, exoplanet-hunting became arguably the hottest genre in astronomy and planetary science. That mission ended in October 2018, but the launch in April 2018 of TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) is expected to bring many more exoplanet discoveries that can be confirmed by a new generation of giant ground-based telescopes.


How just one typo had us expecting a supernova in 2022

A TYPO can be embarrassing. But this one has interstellar implications. Two nearby stars were destined to die in 2022. But fumble-fingers intervened.

Scientists Find Most Powerful Supernova Ever Seen.

Scientists Find Most Powerful Supernova Ever Seen

The two stars of KIC 9832227 were expected to collide in 2022, producing a brilliant red supernova visible from Earth. Picture: Hubble Source:Supplied

ASTRONOMERS around the world have been gearing up for a spectacle. Two stars in the constellation of Cygnus are locked in a death-spiral, swirling ever closer to one another. In 2022, it was predicted we could watch their brilliant fiery-red collision in real-time.

As is the narky nature of science, fellow astronomers have been trying to poke holes in the prophetic calculations ever since they were first published in 2017.

The mud thrown failed to stick, consistently.

And it’s not the calculation’s fault.

Watch this space . novas happen all the time. But the opportunity to predict one is something new. Source:istock

The KIC 9832227 system is 1800 light years away.

There are two stars. And not much else.

That’s because the stars are so close to each other.

And their orbit is so fast, one year is the equivalent to just 11 of our days.

They’re so close, their atmospheres have begun to blend.

What makes this particular close binary star system so interesting to astronomers is they are neatly aligned with Earth. Every time they orbit, one star eclipses the other from our perspective.

The resulting variation in brightness allows stargazers to track how fast the stars are merging. Their orbits are accelerating. And that enables the prediction when the stars will finally become close enough to tear each other apart.

The data behind the equation used to calculate the collision date has been gathered since 1999. Ongoing observations between 2007 and 2016 demonstrated that a dramatic acceleration is indeed underway.

Plugging the numbers into the right equations produced the 2022 end-date.

But a team of researchers led by Quentin Socia, a graduate student at San Diego State University, has issued another challenge — this time published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Stellar explosions are most often associated with supernovae, the spectacular deaths of stars. But they can also be associated with star birth. Picture: ALMA Source:Supplied

The researcher who originally produced the prediction has conceded defeat.

“There have been a few other papers that have tried to poke at our project, and we’ve been able to poke back — criticisms that just don’t fly. But this one does fly, and I think they have a good point. This illustrates how science can be self-correcting.”

At the heart of the problem is a table of data relating to the 1999 observations of KIC 9832227.

One typo changed the time of an observed eclipse by 12 hours.

This error has since fed into every calculation made about the binary system’s orbits.

And that single 12-hour discrepancy, even when combined with the many other observations made since, was enough to throw the end result out.

KIC 9832227 won’t go boom in 2022.

Astronomers will have to do the math all over again.

And check all the data — again.

“While this is disappointing from a public anticipation point of view, it’s an important scientific step that was necessary,” Socia says. “This is arguably the most important part of the scientific process. Knowledge advances the most when bold predictions are made, and people question and test those predictions”.

Meanwhile, Molnar has dusted off his calculator.

“The authors of the manuscript don’t question our fundamental premise, which is to say ‘this is something that you should be looking for, this is something that can be found’,” he said. “It’s actually because they agree with that fundamental premise that they dug deeper. And so the search for an impending stellar merger continues.”


163 thoughts on &ldquo KIC 8462852: Where’s the Flux? &rdquo

Good catch!
It’s an error in the labelling of the x-axis one of the labels is off by 1000 days. The fifth graph shows a zoom-in on the right-most section of the first graph. The colors correspond properly.

The fifth graph, of a section of the light curve, shows a dip of about 20% around day 520. This is not reflected in the first graph, of the entire 4 year light curve of the Kepler mission. Could there be some error in the labeling of the time of the fifth display, or was this dip perhaps inadvertently omitted from the first graph?

Earth causes a dim that measures at .01/.990 http://www.jsponsel.com/

On October 6th, 2013, the Catalina Sky Survey discovered a small asteroid which was later designated as 2013 TX68. As part Apollo group this 30 meter (100 ft) rock is one of many Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) that periodically crosses Earth’s orbit and passes close to our planet. A few years ago, it did just that, flying by our planet at a safe distance of about 2 million km (1.3 million miles).

Asteroid 2013 TX68 passed by the Earth in 2013. The same asteroid will pass by Earth again in 2017. Asteroid 2013 TX68 will not pass by again until 2046 and 2097.

Starting in 2013 the data shows that asteroid TX68 took four years in its first orbit of Earth but will take 29 years for the next orbit and then 51 years on its next orbit. Comets do not fluctuate in their orbits like we see the data of KIC 8462 fluctuating.

With this recent article I would have to say that a large planet like Jupiter with a network of rings around it is present in the KIC 8462 solar system. With the erratic dims of KIC 8462 and the erratic orbital patterns of asteroid 2013 TX68 a system wide swarm of large asteroids in KIC would be present in the solar system where their long period of orbits would suggest that the objects are moving out of the solar system.

Hopefully this is the cause of the dims of KIC 8462. Suggestively based off of the TX68 asteroid orbiting Earth there could be not only a Jupiter sized planet but also an Earth like planet in orbit around KIC 8462.

Okay, I may not be an astronomer or astrophysicist but I stumbled upon this article and it intrigued me. IMHO wouldnt the easiest answer be twin black holes obiting near the system causing the star to loose mass over time and as they passed between us and the stat cause large dips in brightness? Being twin black holes they would have variences in their orbital paths if they where able to pick up mass in thier orbits explaining the irregular time periods in dimming.

Hello,
it does fall within the analysis of this blog.

So, more drop this few years, an acceleration of the process ?

Or something really new came into existence and ‘sucking’ up the energy…

an exotic object (really) exotic… ***hole ?

Is there any way to determine if limestone is present around Tabby’s Star? If so then life might be present as many if not all forms of life use calcium to create shells of one time or another to protect vital organs as well as developing offspring in.

Would limestone in large amounts cause KIC 8462852 to dim? Could there be a limestone planet in orbit around KIC?

Dyson Sphere and Dyson Swarms

Has anyone ever actually built a scaled version of a Dyson Sphere or Dyson Swarm that would actually be able to siphon energy from a sun?

Having a working model of a Dyson Sphere or Dyson Sphere would help figure out the reason why KIC and other suns have a dim when compared to how a Dyson Sphere or Swarm affects a sun.

We spent a whole week discussing calibration techniques, scanners, and fungus (one of the reasons why digitization of these plates is so important!). These fungi are actually called “gold disease” owing to their look on the glass. We enjoyed long evening talks about the millions of plates that still await their scientific use, and after all of this, had the chance to discuss our own findings in a presentation and discussion.

If the dimming of KIC 8462 is a result of Gold Disease then the next mission that Kepler has taken on would see the same dimming take place because of the Gold Disease. If there are not any dims taking place on the next mission then changes in the instrumentation is not the problem.

What is the age of KIC 8462?

The dinosaurs first evolved about 230 million years ago, when the Sun was about 95 percent of its current age, and they died out when the Sun was about 98.5% of its current age.

If dinosaurs evolved at 95% of the Suns age then by calculating a targeted sun that is about 95% its age as well that is similar to our own Sun is then based on the evolution of Earth a planet orbiting a 95% aged sun might be more likely to have life evolving on it if the planet resides within the goldilocks zone.

If KIC is within a 95% to 99% age period then assuming intelligent life is present and affecting KIC 8462 is more academically presentable due to the fact that Earth has intelligent life capable of traveling to planets and orbits a sun that is within 99% of its age.

I have to revise my reasoning for why the KIC Network is special. Astrophysicists have been through the space time spectrum of speculation regarding KIC 8462 ranging from Dyson Sphere’s to comets.

This radical idea of what may be causing the dims is as elusive as a black hole itself is. I for one believe that a black hole is like the drain in a sink or bath tub that creates a vortex at its center while the mass of what is being taken in resides around the sides of the vortex. A sink or tub vortex has an ending that dumps the mass of the vortex into a much larger are. A black hole might function the same.

What could be taking place within the KIC Network of stars could be that exit point of matter from a black hole that would place pressure against a star causing the light of the star to dim much like blowing on a lit match. Similar to how a vortex moves around on land and is never in the same location but is rather eradict could lend some understanding to why the light curve of the stars in the KIC Network fluctuate.

To basically say this is true is baseless. But if the stars of the KIC Network orbit around a void in space then perhaps the turbulence of the matter being dumped into the KIC Network would cause the stars to orbit in the manner they do.

What would make the KIC Network so special?

I was reading how an observatory recently recorded Atomic Oxygen in the atmosphere of Mars. Oxygen Atoms have an impact of the atmosphere of Mars affecting how other other gases escape Mars. Looking at the curve of the atmosphere in the article the curve “dims” similar to how the light curve of KIC 8462 and other stars observed have a light curve that dims.

Could there be a reaction taking place in the atmosphere of KIC 8462 and other stars where a gas is causing the escape of gases to differ thus causing the dimming to take place?

Is there a Vape in production named KIC 8462 that can be used with E-Cigs? I think it would be interesting to taste the mystery of the elements surrounding Tabby’s Star. Maybe even a Vape of what a Dyson Star might taste like…up in smoke.

It’s a shame that your idea about the dimming of KIC 8462852 couldn’t have been taken at face value and prioritized appropriately by the media and the public, because it is an interesting idea and all ideas should be considered and ruled out with the due process of scientific method. IMHO, the only thing you did wrong was to state your idea in a way that would get out to the general public, where paranoia and trolls abound, and instinct overrides intuition, but I’m not sure what other choices you could have had No good science is conducted in a vacuum, and to require it to be so would lead to censorship of data. As a member of the general public (ie: not a member of the scientific community), I appreciate your candor and I greatly appreciate creative thinking in science. I sincerely hope that there is no possibility that the public dispute of KIC 8462852 will adversely affect the careers of you or any other scientist taking this idea with proper consideration.

Dryson:
Although I would be thrilled to see what is occurring at Tabby’s Star to be evidence of ETI, we gotta rule out “natural causes” first. When NO natural cause is left standing, what’s left is the inexplicable.

As I posted previously, Dirk Bontes has proposed that Tabby’s is acting the way it is because, as I understand it, it is about to exit the main sequence. The dimming mechanism is sort of similar to a Cephid variable star, a Helium double ionization layer that builds up (opaque) and then clears (transparent). This explains the absence of detectable IR excess and the ginormous dimming events. I can NOT see any fault in his hypothesis, although I would like to see this presented as a science paper. Supporting evidence would be to find similar stars acting the same way. I like his idea much better than the “comet swarm” hypothesis, which seems contrived.

You stated on May 9th, 2016 at 9:22, “…There are other stars in the KIC registry network that have a peculiar light curve similar to KIC 8462. It would seem that this enigma is centered around the KIC designated star network. What would make the KIC designated star network so special? ”

I asked Jason Wright about this, and he explained March 15 2016 at 9:43, it is an artifact of the Kepler scope. (Note: “KIC” is simply a Kepler star of interest designater.)

Jason: “…Kepler was designed to be a very stable photometer on *short* (hours) timescales. On long timescales it is a very poor photometer.” Thus, it varies per Kepler.

ericSect…so what it is that you think we are looking at regarding KIC 8462?

I have ran several calculations and for the light curve of KIC 8462 to have dimmed to 15% and 22% a massively size able object would had to have transited across KIC 8462. If the entire system was shrouded in cometary dust such a shroud would have been determined to have existed already. KIC 8462 is a normal star with no irregularities in its daily solar processes.

There are other stars in the KIC registry network that have a peculiar light curve similar to KIC 8462. It would seem that this enigma is centered around the KIC designated star network. What would make the KIC designated star network so special? What types of matter could be siphoned off of these stars to assist an alien species?

A new field of study. What happens when to a star when its various matter composition is siphoned off artificially? There has to be an equal and opposite reaction in the light that a sun radiates based on the sun’s matter composition. If significant percentage of that matter is removed from the sun then an equal and opposite reaction will take place thus possibly causing the sun to dim in an opposite and equal manner until the lost matter is replaced.

I was reading through LIGO’s vibration-isolation section and began thinking.
Vibration Isolation
For an instrument that needs to remain as still as possible, it is ironic that LIGO is so sensitive that it can feel the smallest vibrations from near and far. LIGO is essentially a giant seismometer capable of sensing vibrations from traffic on nearby roads, weather patterns on the other side of the continent, staff biking alongside detector arms, ocean waves crashing on shores hundreds of miles away, and of course nearly every significant earthquake on the planet.

If LIGO is so sensitive that it can detect weather patterns from the other side of the continent it should be able to determine what is orbiting KIC 8462 as well when directed towards KIC 8462. LIGO should be able to determine a rate of time passing between artificial objects and natural objects. For example Dyson Spheres orbiting KIC 8462 would transit across KIC 8462 in a very defined pattern compared to natural objects that would have more random transit spacing times between each object.

Since Gravitational Waves can be now be detected it should be rather easy for a LIGO based platform in space to detect the effect of a planet or artificial object generating or being effected by gravitational waves as each object would effect space-time itself differently.

Basically if a natural object is transiting across KIC 8462 the gravitational waves that would be detected would be varying and random due to the shape of the object not be uniform on all sides. Compared to an artificial object that would generate near perfect gravitational waves in space-time because of the uniformity of the artificial object and the surface area needed to harvest as much solar matter as possible during the transit.

There has to be a way to tune LIGO’s instruments to be able to light patterns from far off stars such as KIC 8462. Light moves through a vacuum at the speed of light and does in fact create a pressure against objects. A filter would need to be built into the system that would block out light from stars not being studied that would be designed to filter out the light based on the distance from the filter to the star. For example, the filter is set to 1,000 light years and is focused on a single star. Light from other sources will obviously come into contact with the filter. However any light from a star that has registered at lets say 100 light years from the filter would simply see the data as tagged not from the designated distance as the packet effected the laser beam.

I think LIGO and its components are going to open up Planet Hunting like we have never seen before.

This above hypothesis by Dirk Bontes puts forth that a similar mechanism which occurs in a Cephid variable star (the double ionization of Helium at elevated temperatures, which temporarily renders it opaque) can explain Tabby’s dimming events. His idea makes sense and I can’t shoot any holes in it. The only weakness is that although it explains what we see it does not make unique predictions to distinguish it from other theories. If we find a handful of other stars (of the same class?) that act similarly, that seems like that would be supporting evidence. I like the hypothesis much more than the (to me) contrived massive comet swarm(s), the only other still standing “natural” alternative.

Spectral Analysis of KIC 8462

Is there way to determine from a spectral analysis of the dims of KIC 8462 to determine what type of objects caused the dimming to take place? When light passes in front of other light the spectrum values change to a new color. An asteroid would yield one type of spectrum that would change while transiting across KIC, just the same as a swarm of comets would as well as a planet with life on it or habitable planet would cause a spectral change in the light emitted.

(CNN)NASA just discovered some special particles floating in our cosmic neighborhood.

The Cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting Saturn since 2004, has detected alien dust that came from outside our solar system.

Scientists suspect that this dust is interstellar in origin because it moves fast and in different directions, compared to the dust found on Saturn, according to a recently published report in the journal of Science. And although this alien dust was faint, it had a distinct signature.

Could the reason for the dimming of KIC 8462 and the other KIC designated planets have been caused by alien dust passing through the system that would be very faint and almost impossible to detect using Kepler but would have enough volume to cause the dims of KIC 8462 as the dust particle transited across KIC 8462?

Could the cannibilization taking place in the Fornax cluster somehow have caused the light curves of KIC 8462 to occur seeing as how the Fornax Cluster is only 65 light years away?

Cloaking a Star – KIC 8462852 mentioned

Another possible reason why KIC 8462 and other stars with the KIC designation have very odd dims. The light curve of each sun might be possibly being affected so that the planets orbiting KIC with sentient life on them would be obscured so as too keep the planets hidden.

If we can theorize or even develop. such an idea then an alien race of the same caliber of sentient thought as humans have would also be able to theorize and develop such a device

Hiya,
JWT is due in 2018 right ? so i, we need to open the betting house.

My money was on a dyson swarms but more a Niven’ ring under construction.

But it is definitely IMHO an ETI. I have read anything from eliptic path, dark matter, exotic planet, black holes merger. But as a layman, i would, there is a transit and there is a dimming.

The cheapest explanation is it is a structure being assembled either naturally or contra-naturally.

That post changed my percetion…

yes, i will bet my dosh on ETI on dyson swarms part of a Niven’s ring…

he reflected light could even be directed to a nearby solar system (such as towards a planet orbiting a very close, neighboring, colder red dwarf star). And perhaps as the human race will most likely do as our sun ages and gets hotter, we will resort to space-based reflectors to redirect the sun’s radiant energy away from earth and possibly towards frozen celestial bodies farther out to make them more habitable.

This green glow is thought to be created by atoms of diatomic carbon surrounding the comet and fluorescing in the sunlight,

If atoms of diatomic carbon are present around a comet and could cause a dim to occur as the comet transits the sun perhaps diatomic atoms around the KIC series of stars experiencing dims could be what is causing the dims to take place. With at least three to four different suns in the KIC series being affected in the same way maybe the entire region is flooded with diatomic atoms that cause large dims to occur.

There are three other stars that exhibit the same type of long term dimming with step changes that KIC 8462 does, KIC 8462852, KIC 7180968, KIC 10010623 and KIC 11498538 . With all of the chaos, confusion and grief caused by these stars I think they should be named the Devil’s Foundry. KIC 10010623 might be the same as KIC 7180. If so then the three stars should be termed The Devil’s Triangle.

Should we deploy warning beacons?

Fred Parker:
(Hiya, Fred, I also posted this same response over at CD).
This hypothesized occulting object would have to be approximately 20 times the area of Jupiter’s disk (and more if not 100% opaque) to cause the two largest dimmings of Tabby’s Star that we’ve observed. I don’t wish to presume any limitations at all for an advanced ETI but that just seems excessively large (for a simple star-shade). Further, since no reflective material can be 100% effective, some amount of waste heat from this gargantuan object as it warms should be re-radiated away as IR. But given : It is unknown if our current IR detection is sensitive enough to see this reflector waste IR from 1500 ly away. We can only constrain it.

Should we not also expect a glint of increased flux every now and then as this proposed reflector/star-shade passes behind Tabby’s (as seen from our line of sight) and some energy is spilled out and directed our way by chance?

A “Niven Ring” seems to me the best fit for the shape of the largest transits, see above link. The excess IR that we do not detect but which MUST exist may be direction-ally radiated (somehow!) and/or too low in temperature (<100K) …and/or we are CLOSE but do not quite have the required sensitivity to see it. Have to wait for JWST in 2018. Can anyone think of the HOW (by what means?) natural or not, that will cause this excess IR to be directionally radiated?

The reflector theory would explain both types of dimming -both the short term variations and the longer term attenuation trend. As an example of a short term variation that matches what was observed from the Kepler telescope, if a planet was being cooled by a swarm of reflectors (made perhaps from an ultra-thin mylar type of highly-reflective material), then as an observer on earth sees this planet orbit in front of it’s parent star, the observer would also observe the partial eclipse of the star from the swarm of reflectors. This would be highly directional and would create a sharp swing down and then back up in the amount of radiant energy reaching the observer. The opposite would happen for a planet being warmed up. As for the longer-term dimming of the star, the continued construction and deployment of numerous space-based reflectors over a century of time would produce an ever-increasing obscuration of the star.

One postulate to explain this occurrence is that this could be a swarm of large reflectors in orbit around this star. This would also explain the lack of an increased infrared signature emanating from the star. The reflectors could possibly be used to significantly expand the habitable zone of the star by partially eclipsing the star’s radiant energy from striking a planet that resides on the hotter side of the zone and directing the reflected light to a planet on the colder side of the zone. The reflected light could even be directed to a nearby solar system (such as towards a planet orbiting a very close, neighboring, colder red dwarf star). And perhaps as the human race will most likely do as our sun ages and gets hotter, we will resort to space-based reflectors to redirect the sun’s radiant energy away from earth and possibly towards frozen celestial bodies farther out to make them more habitable. In all of these scenarios, the reflectors would need to be able to pivot slowly to keep the angle of reflection directed towards or away from the desired planet(s) as it orbited its star. This would explain the recorded dips in light as the swarm of reflectors continually made dynamic adjustments.

Another question is have is based on the this video from Space.com involving the merger of two black holes.

I noticed that as the two black holes merged the stars closest to the black holes on the perimeter of the merger moved back and forth until the merger was complete. Would the light from such stars also jump back and forth causing irregularities in monitoring the light curve of the star as well?

Emphasis should be focused on proposals that are the least contrived yet must address these facts:

(1) This occulting object around Tabby’s has an area approximately 20 times that of Jupiter: more if not 100% opaque to explain the two deep transits. This is a truly gargantuan sized object! Much too large to be a planet (physically impossible).

(2) If there was data for only a SINGLE deep (20%) transit, I think it could reasonably be dismissed as “Oh well, things that go bump in the night, perhaps an interstellar cloud.” BUT, since there are two events, this is evidence that “something that we can NOT yet explain is going on here.” May or may not have a periodicity, can’t tell-need more data.

(3) There is a lack of excess IR that SHOULD be there from any repeating transiting object. We may NOT have the required IR sensitivity. IF its there, JWST should see it, 2018.

Personally, I think ETI is the least contrived explanation and further, the lack of IR supports ETI. IR is being radiated in a direction away from our view (somehow!) after a maximum amount of work is extracted, <100K emitted (just a bit below our current sensitivity). And I think the shape that best fits the shape of the two deep dimming events is a "Niven Ring" as shown below:

Dark Matter being of probable cause in the dim of KIC 8462 –

I am suggesting that based on the new article form Space.com regarding Dark Matter as being heavy particles that are similar to miniature black holes that perhaps when particles of Dark Matter collide they might form a Dark Matter Hole that would cause the light curve of a sun to dim and then return to normal once the swarm of Dark Matter particles transited across the sun or passed through the sun itself.

It could be possible that something interacted with the solar wind that caused the dims of KIC to occur.
Remember Tabby asked…”Where’s The Flux?”

Another thought could be that if KIC 8462 has the ability to collapse into a black hole then perhaps the light curve of KIC 8462 is indicative of the process of a sun at the beginning of a collapse into a black hole where the fuel is in the early stages of depletion.

Longwave Radiation Flux – Longwave flux is a product of both downwelling infrared energy as well as emission by the underlying surface. The cooling associated with the divergence of longwave radiation is necessary for creating and sustaining lasting inversion layers close to the surface during polar night. Longwave radiation flux divergence also plays a role in the formation of fog.

Could KIC 8462 actually be creating its own fog around itself thus causing the light emitted to curve drastically as we have seen?

The nest step would be to investigate which particles that when interacting with Longwave Radiation Flux would create a fog that would block out a certain percentage of the light from KIC 8462.

Thanks, Jason.
What really nails it for me, and I should have thought of this earlier, is if you plot flux vs time for some other star besides Tabby’s (KIC 7180968 or 10010623, 11498538: referred to as “calibration stars” -F3V and assumed steady-by Schafer/Hippke). They all show the same long term dimming with step changes.

Does Kepler data show a something with a period of around 21 days (periodogram) for Tabby’s? It sure looks like it to me:

If so, I am very surprised to hear it from a comments contributor at CD and not from a published or to be published paper.

Kepler was designed to be a very stable photometer on *short* (hours) timescales. On long timescales it is a very poor photometer.

So yes, there are long-term trends in the data that are instrumental. In particular, each quarter (that is, each different color on the plot you linked to, representing time between 90 degree spacecraft rolls to keep the solar panels facing the sun) is at a different normalization. Within each quarter there can be long timescale, secular changes in the instrumental response, although most of those have been removed in the data set you linked to, I think. Finally, I do not think the long-term trend across the entire Kepler mission is meaningful, either. I have asked some Kepler folks about the possibility of using the raw data to detect any long-term secular dimming and they are skeptical that anything real can be recovered from beneath these instrumental effects.

But I’m not an expert these data cleaning issues are complex.

Here’s a handy link to the Kepler data for those interested in Tabby’s Star. You can do all kinds of manipulation with it. Thank you Michael at Centauri Dreams!

Jason Wright:
If I may….. (1) (From the Kepler data in the link I provided above).
Tabby’s flux for the entire 1700 days of observation plot shows a steady downward trend. Is this a data artifact of Kepler? Due to electronics and/or CCD detectors aging? I am assuming that because Tabitha B., Bradley Schaefer, Hippke and others have not mentioned this, this raw data needs to be “normalized”?

(2) There are also step changes in Tabby’s flux, about 8 of them, first step between day 349 and day 353. Another data artifact? Something to do with Kepler’s orbit, and passing behind the Sun, stopping and starting observations?

Dryson stated: “…With the consistent dims taking place prior to the 15% a planetary infrastructure is most likely present with planets ranging in size from Super Giants causing the 22% dim to Near Earth Sized and smaller planets causing the smaller dims. Planets with possible gaseous clouds orbiting the planets or a large gas cloud present in the system of KIC that causes continual light curve fluctuations of KIC 8462…”

A “super giant” planet as the cause for Tabby’s dimming events seems implausible. About the biggest in diameter a planet can get is somewhere around Jupiter’s. An object Jupiter’s diameter will only block about 1% of the stellar flux. If you were building planets and start to add mass, what happens is that instead of increasing diameter the object just becomes more and more dense. The object transitions from being what we call a planet to a Brown Dwarf at about 8 Jupiter masses. At about 80 Jupiter masses, it ignites and becomes a Red Dwarf star (now the heat from H2 fusion changes the equation and will permit an increase in diameter as you continue to add mass).

Also, if you look at the link I provided above, you can root around in the tab marked “Periodogram/phase curve” (takes a while to load) and it will provide evidence (at least in the first quarter of observations) of (1) A 0.9 Earth day period (taken to be Tabby’s rotation) and (2) A cluster of periods around 22-ish days (a planet?), which I was surprised to hear FIRST from a fellow contributor at Centauri Dreams and NOT in a scientific paper. Here’s the periodogram link:

Any proposed planetary ring system(s) as the cause of the dimming events must obscure up to about 20 times the area of Jupiter (assuming 100% opaque). Would require a huge planet with enormous rings, close to Tabby, seems we would see it in radial velocity.

Another thought about KIC 8462

A relative calm state of KIC 8462 starts at day 450 and ends at day 1175. During these 725 days there is little activity on the surface of KIC compared to days 0 to 450 and days 1175 to 1600 where there is much more activity taking place. The only major activity is the dim of 15% at day 780 with slight activity taking place approximately 200 days prior to the 15% dim that lasted for 200 days. Looking at the dims prior to the 15% dim and the dims that came after the 15% that a large swarm of comets could not be responsible for the dims otherwise the swarm of comets would have created a consistent dim across KIC for the entirety of the 1600 days. With the consistent dims taking place prior to the 15% a planetary infrastructure is most likely present with planets ranging in size from Super Giants causing the 22% dim to Near Earth Sized and smaller planets causing the smaller dims. Planets with possible gaseous clouds orbiting the planets or a large gas cloud present in the system of KIC that causes continual light curve fluctuations of KIC 8462.

What would cause the calm state of KIC before during and after the 15% when the rest of the time line of KIC 8462 is fraught with chaos?

Artificial or naturally created?

Gravitational Waves and Planet Hunting

A question about Gravitational Waves. When two black holes collide and create a gravitational wave would the gravitational wave be absorbed by planets and stars reveling their locations by causing a “dim” in the gravitational wave? How can gravitational waves be used to locate planets in space?

This question was asked by a member of Trek BBS, could two gas giants have collided in system KIC 8462?

Wouldn’t two gas giants colliding cause enough friction to be present to cause the gas to ignite?

The theory is interesting to say the least.

If two gas giants did collide and had planetary rings then the result could have been that fragments of the cores of both planets shattered yet still retaining some of the gas in orbit around the core orbited KIC 8462. Perhaps the 15% dim was caused by a smaller fragment of a gas core with gas causing the dim. The 22% dim could have been caused by a much larger fragment of the gas giant core with gas orbiting KIC 8462.

The smaller dims could suggest smaller pieces of the cores or ring networks maintaining their own orbit around the larger fragments or even possibly maintaining their own orbit around KIC 8462. Some of the data suggests that dual orbits of more than one object are present orbiting KIC 8462.

With a planetary collision between two gas giants the debris would be everywhere in the KIC system. But in order for two gas giants to collide and outside force such as a larger sun than KIC 8462 would need to be present to cause the two planets to collide. The only other force in space would be a powerful gravitational wave that might be able to knock the planets out of a regular orbit and into an irregular orbit causing the planets to collide.

This article discusses another Star KIC 4110611 that like KIC 8462852 also had an unusual light curve. The light curve of KIC 411 later turned out to be a five star system. Something truly rare but completely natural.

To confirm if a large swarm of comets is present in the KIC solar system have any of the stars situated behind the KIC solar system experienced any dims in light that would suggest the same large swarm of comets that caused the 15% and 22% of KIC 8462 have passed in front of those stars as well? If the swarm of comets is large enough to cause a 15% to 22% dim of KIC 8462 then the swarm of comets should be large enough to cause a much greater dim of a star further away from Earth as the swarm passed between the star and Kepler.

The attached link below is a luminosity vs days plot of Tabby’s Star for the last several months by amateur observers around the world who are keen on variable stars. From what I have read, the plan is that if they see a significant change in brightness, they will alert professionals at bigger scopes so that more powerful instruments can take data. Real time spectroscopy data (and hopefully IR) during a dimming event should give us more to chew on: does anyone know if this happened?

My take on the attached plot: Not sure I see a trend, but seems a lot of scatter.

Is there any way to determine what is taking place on the opposite or backside of a sun when a large dim such as the dims of KIC 8462 take place? If a 15% and 22% dim occurred then based on Newton’s Third Law that an event on the backside of KIC 8462 might have taken place. Could the dims of KIC 8462 therefore have been a result of something taking place on the backside of KIC 8462 that was not observable by Kepler but registered as a possible large swarm of comets?

This is an excellent summary of the current state of where we are and how we got there, re: Tabby’s Star by Paul Carr.

On October 6th, 2013, the Catalina Sky Survey discovered a small asteroid which was later designated as 2013 TX68. As part Apollo group this 30 meter (100 ft) rock is one of many Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) that periodically crosses Earth’s orbit and passes close to our planet. A few years ago, it did just that, flying by our planet at a safe distance of about 2 million km (1.3 million miles).

Asteroid 2013 TX68 passed by the Earth in 2013. The same asteroid will pass by Earth again in 2017. Asteroid 2013 TX68 will not pass by again until 2046 and 2097.

Starting in 2013 the data shows that asteroid TX68 took four years in its first orbit of Earth but will take 29 years for the next orbit and then 51 years on its next orbit. Comets do not fluctuate in their orbits like we see the data of KIC 8462 fluctuating.

With this recent article I would have to say that a large planet like Jupiter with a network of rings around it is present in the KIC 8462 solar system. With the erratic dims of KIC 8462 and the erratic orbital patterns of asteroid 2013 TX68 a system wide swarm of large asteroids in KIC would be present in the solar system where their long period of orbits would suggest that the objects are moving out of the solar system.

Hopefully this is the cause of the dims of KIC 8462. Suggestively based off of the TX68 asteroid orbiting Earth there could be not only a Jupiter sized planet but also an Earth like planet in orbit around KIC 8462.

One area that had not been discussed as being possible is that a large planet the size of Jupiter or Planet Nine with a ring system comprised of ice chunks orbiting the planet could be orbiting KIC where every so often a rogue ice chunk comes close enough to be sublimated causing a cometary tail to form that could result in the dim of KIC 8462.

With KIC 8462 being 1.5 times larger than our own Sun the sublimation range would be increased.

The question is could ice chunks in orbit around Jupiter actually be possible or would the ice chunks sublimate into a large cometary tail?

This is the image that I am seeing at KIC 8462 using the Ice Chunk Roadrunner Theory.
The Jupiter sized planet has billions of various sized ice chunks orbiting it. As the planet comes close enough to KIC 8462 the ice chunks closest to KIC 8462 sublimate causing a large cometary cloud to form that would follow the orbit of the Jupiter like planet until the planet orbited far enough away from KIC 8462 for the sublimation to stop

If all of the dims and increase in light have vertical lines drawn from the dim or increase to the timeline of transit and are converted into Bar Code based on their transit times creating either thick or thin lines what does the Bar Code data translate into?

I think we are an advanced society, if many of our best minds think it’s not a good idea to contact a highly advanced society don’t you think they might think the same and disguise what they have?

If so how can we think we can rule out anything with our relatively new technologies compared to such a society? We have discovered stealth many years ago, what do you think they’ve discovered.

My second thought is what about materials, a good way to crush asteroids, get material they need to build the super structure and let the debris help confuse others on the structure, I could also vision having some sort of cloaking device or a sort of stealth coating as mentioned above on the hypothesized structure.

Anyway I think hiding it would be a priority and rather short sighted to dismiss such notions on the limits of our science at this time, although the advances made in the last 100 years are astounding, we are still taking baby steps. Such a civilization would be working on scientific advances for thousands if not millions of years longer than we have. In fact they probably aren’t even there anymore with the age of their sun.

We can only assume to understand things at our level, but if we assume an advanced society could possibly be 1,500 light years away, we can’t begin to think of what they could do, doubt they’d come all this way to take our planet there are issues that may make our planet not as much of a prize that we all think. It’s getting to the older stage, the sun is getting bigger every year and we are getting close to it.

At day 140 the first major dim takes place. 119 days later at day 259 another dim takes place that is relatively the same as the dim at day 140. Mercury orbits our Sun every 88 days. The orbit of object 140 took 119 days which means a planet the size of Mercury or Venus could be orbiting KIC 8462 somewhere between the orbit of Mercury and Venus with the orbit being closer to Venus.

I think there might also be some planets smaller than Earth that caused some of the transits.

At days 140, 208, 1209 and 1490 there are dims that occur with a value of .0038 – .0050 / .9962 – .9950. Earth causes a dim that measures at .01/.9900. The values listed are half or slightly lower than Earth’s and could suggest planets ranging in size from a smaller Earth but larger than Mars and Mars sized planets orbiting KIC 8462.


Searching for distant and wandering worlds

This artist’s conception illustrates a Jupiter-like planet alone in the dark of space, floating freely without a parent star. Astronomers recently uncovered evidence for 10 such lone worlds, thought to have been ejected from developing solar systems. Some studies suggest that free-floating worlds are more common than stars in our Milky Way galaxy, and perhaps other galaxies too. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. Astronomers have made great strides in discovering planets outside of our solar system, termed “exoplanets.” In fact, over the past 20 years more than 5,000 exoplanets have been detected beyond the eight planets that call our solar system home.

The majority of these exoplanets have been found snuggled up to their host star completing an orbit (or year) in hours, days or weeks, while some have been found orbiting as far as Earth is to the Sun, taking one Earth year to circle. But, what about those worlds that orbit much farther out, such as Jupiter and Saturn, or, in some cases, free-floating exoplanets that are on their own and have no star to call home? In fact, some studies suggest that there may be more free-floating exoplanets than stars in our galaxy.

This week, NASA’s K2 mission, the repurposed mission of the Kepler space telescope, and other ground-based observatories, have teamed up to kick-off a global experiment in exoplanet observation. Their mission: survey millions of stars toward the centre of our Milky Way galaxy in search of distant stars’ planetary outposts and exoplanets wandering between the stars.

While today’s planet-hunting techniques have favoured finding exoplanets near their sun, the outer regions of a planetary system have gone largely unexplored. In the exoplanet detection toolkit, scientists have a technique well suited to search these farthest outreaches and the space in between the stars. This technique is called gravitational microlensing.

Gravitational microlensing
For this experiment, astronomers rely on the effect of a familiar fundamental force of nature to help detect the presence of these far out worlds &mdash gravity. The gravity of massive objects such as stars and planets produces a noticeable effect on other nearby objects.

But gravity also influences light, deflecting or warping the direction of light that passes close to massive objects. This bending effect can make gravity act as a lens, concentrating light from a distant object, just as a magnifying glass can focus the light from the Sun. Scientists can take advantage of the warping effect by measuring the light of distant stars, looking for a brightening that might be caused by a massive object, such as a planet, that passes between a telescope and a distant background star. Such a detection could reveal an otherwise hidden exoplanet.

“The chance for the K2 mission to use gravity to help us explore exoplanets is one of the most fantastic astronomical experiments of the decade,” said Steve Howell, project scientist for NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “I am happy to be a part of this K2 campaign and look forward to the many discoveries that will be made.”

This phenomenon of gravitational microlensing &mdash “micro” because the angle by which the light is deflected is small &mdash is the effect for which scientists will be looking during the next three months. As an exoplanet passes in front of a more distant star, its gravity causes the trajectory of the starlight to bend, and in some cases results in a brief brightening of the background star as seen by the observatory.

The lensing events caused by a free-floating exoplanet last on the order of a day or two, making the continuous gaze of the Kepler spacecraft an invaluable asset for this technique.

“We are seizing the opportunity to use Kepler’s uniquely sensitive camera to sniff for planets in a different way,” said Geert Barentsen, research scientist at Ames.

The ground-based observatories will record simultaneous measurements of these brief events. From their different vantage points, space and Earth, the measurements can determine the location of the lensing foreground object through a technique called parallax. In a global experiment in exoplanet observation, the K2 mission and Earth-based observatories on six continents will survey millions of stars toward the centre of our Milky Way galaxy. Using a technique called gravitational microlensing, scientists will hunt for exoplanets that orbit far from their host star, such as Jupiter is to our Sun, and for free-floating exoplanets that wander between the stars. The method allow exoplanets to be found that are up to 10 times more distant than those found by the original Kepler mission, which used the transit technique. The artistic concept illustrates the relative locations of the search areas for NASA’s K2 and Kepler missions. Illustration credits: NASA Ames/W. Stenzel and JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt. “This is a unique opportunity for the K2 mission and ground-based observatories to conduct a dedicated wide-field microlensing survey near the centre of our galaxy,” said Paul Hertz, director of the astrophysics division in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This first-of-its-kind survey serves as a proof of concept for NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), which will launch in the 2020s to conduct a larger and deeper microlensing survey. In addition, because the Kepler spacecraft is about 100 million miles from Earth, simultaneous space- and ground-based measurements will use the parallax technique to better characterise the systems producing these light amplifications.”

To understand parallax, extend your arm and hold up your thumb. Close one eye and focus on your thumb and then do the same with the other eye. Your thumb appears to move depending on the vantage point. For humans to determine distance and gain depth perception, the vantage points, our eyes, use parallax.

Flipping the spacecraft
The Kepler spacecraft trails Earth as it orbits the Sun and is normally pointed away from Earth during the K2 mission. But this orientation means that the part of the sky being observed by the spacecraft cannot generally be observed from Earth at the same time, since it is mostly in the daytime sky. This artistic concept shows NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft, sporting a 95-cm (37-inch) Schmidt telescope, operating in a new mission profile called K2. Image credit: NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech/T Pyle. To allow simultaneous ground-based observations, flight operations engineers at Ball Aerospace and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder will perform a manoeuvre turning the spacecraft around to point the telescope in the forward velocity vector. So, instead of looking toward where it’s been, the spacecraft will look in the direction of where it’s going.

This alignment will also yield a viewing opportunity of Earth and the Moon as they cross the spacecraft’s field of view. On 14 April 14 at 7:50pm BST (18:50 UT), Kepler will record a full frame image. The result of that image will be released to the public archive in June once the data has been downloaded and processed. Kepler measures the change in brightness of objects and does not resolve color or physical characteristics of an observed object.

Observing from Earth
To achieve the objectives of this important path-finding research and community exercise in anticipation of WFIRST, approximately two-dozen ground-based observatories on six continents will observe in concert with K2. Each will contribute to various aspects of the experiment and will help explore the distribution of exoplanets across a range of stellar systems and distances.

These results will aid in our understanding of planetary system architectures, as well as the frequency of exoplanets throughout our galaxy.

For a complete list of participating observatories, reference the paper that defines the experiment: Campaign 9 of the K2 Mission.

During the roughly 80-day observing period or campaign, astronomers hope to discover more than 100 lensing events, ten or more of which may have signatures of exoplanets occupying relatively unexplored regimes of parameter space.


Why does NASA care about years on other planets?

NASA needs to know how other planets orbit the Sun because it helps us travel to those planets! For example, if we want a spacecraft to safely travel to another planet, we have to make sure we know where that planet is in its orbit. And we also have to make sure we don’t run into any other orbiting objects — like planets or asteroids — along the way.

Scientists who study Mars also need to keep a Martian calendar to schedule what rovers and landers will be doing and when.

Mars and Earth are always moving. So, if we want to land a robotic explorer on Mars, we have to understand how Earth and Mars orbit the Sun. Watch this video to learn more about the Martian year. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

*Length of year on other planets calculated from data on the NASA Solar System Dynamics website.