We are astronomers Dr. Tabetha Boyajian and Professor Jason Wright. What is so mysterious about the "most mysterious star in our Galaxy"? Could it be a massive swarm of comets, an "alien megastructure", or something completely new? Ask us anything
This is somewhat of a sequel to this earlier AMA by us.
Last year, we submitted two open-access articles about what The Atlantic dubbed "The Most Mysterious Star in Our Galaxy", which created the media frenzy about the potential so-called "alien megastructure". The star KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby’s star or the WTF star (for "Where’s The Flux?" *wink*) was observed to have strange fluctuations in its light output. We ruled out a long list of possibilities on what could be causing these strange observations. The two remaining theories, a giant swarm of comets or an alien megastructure, haven’t yet been ruled out as possible explanations, but they aren’t so great either. There has since also been a controversy about whether or not the WTF star has been dimming over the last century.
What are astronomers doing to solve this mystery? Astronomers around the world are working on multiple fronts by developing theoretical models, creating computer simulations, and observing the star for more hints or maybe even new strange fluctuations. We ourselves are trying to observe the star with a Kickstarter to buy time on a world-wide network of telescopes to keep the star under constant surveillance.
What do we think is happening? What other theories could explain the data? When will we have an answer? Ask us anything!
We might take a small break in the middle, but we'll be around for several hours.