Star’s unusual dimming due to dust cloud not aliens

The reason behind star KIC 8462852's mysterious dimming, which had been attributed to an extraterrestrial civilization at one point, appears to have been identified.

According to a NASA press release a new study using NASA's Spitzer and Swift missions as well as the Belgian astro-lab Iris Observatory suggests that the cause of the dimming over long periods is likely an uneven dust cloud moving around the star.

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The paper's lead author, Huan Meng, said: "This pretty much rules out the alien megastructure theory..."

The star became a point of interest after scientists noticed it exhibiting an unusual long term dimming trend including a short period where its light appeared to fall by as much as 20%.

The team began observing the entity using multiple instruments and eventually determined that the blocking particles are likely fairly small in diameter but bigger than interstellar dust.

Based on these facts a dust cloud was considered the most likely cause behind the dimming.

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Images from space by astronaut Andre Kuipers
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Images from space by astronaut Andre Kuipers

The Aurora Borealis over Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Northern Germany.

In shot is the Soyuz TMA-03M module.

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