It started as a sensational, attention-grabbing headline in the fall of 2015. Little did I know I had just jumped on a child’s teeter totter that is almost impossible to disembark from.
Tabby’s Star, known in scientific circles as KIC 8462852, is considered by many to be the most mysterious star in the universe.
Because, so far, no one can agree on what’s causing unusual fluctuations in the light coming from the star.
First it was “consistent with” a swarm of alien-constructed megastructures.
Then it was suggested that it was comets, not aliens, that were responsible for the star’s odd behavior.
Although the chances of an alien civilization were virtually zero, it was a fun idea to chew on, and many were still convinced it could be aliens.
So once again, it came full circle back to giant alien megastructures that could be absorbing ever-increasing amounts of energy from the star for more than a century.
Cut to today and researchers say they can now almost conclusively say there is no credible evidence that the star is home to industrious aliens. Instead, their newest study supports the idea that natural causes, not alien activity, are behind the mysterious star’s behavior.
I suppose in a few months’ time it will be aliens again. Either way, I’m still on the playground.