The Most Mysterious Star in the Galaxy

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Profile Gordon Lowe
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Message 1807851 - Posted: 7 Aug 2016, 22:53:58 UTC

I definitely don't buy into the alien superstructure thing, but it is a mysterious star.
The mind is a weird and mysterious place
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Message 1807859 - Posted: 8 Aug 2016, 1:07:03 UTC - in response to Message 1807716.  

article on Tabby's Star.

Scientists Are Now Even More Confused By Potential "Alien Superstructure"

Within our own galaxy, some astronomers believe there may be a massive piece of alien technology, built to harvest energy from a distant star. The star, KIC 8462852, also known as Tabby's Star, exhibits strange behavior, flickering and dimming, that can't be explained by any known astronomical phenomena. A new, unpublished study posted to arXiv, reports the results of studying images of the star from the Kepler Telescope over the past four years. The paper shows shocking results: the star's luminosity varied, sometimes dipping by 20% over the course of the study period. Even more perplexingly, its total luminosity, or flux, diminished by 4% overall over that time.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/space/deep-space/a22220/alien-superstructure-tabbys-star/


The way in which the star faded in brightness over the entire time the Kepler Space Telescope observed it is remarkable, in itself. The brightness declined slowly, than rapidly, then slowly again. If we were to graph the implied rate at which light-obscuring material may have been accumulating around this star, we'd have a sigmoid curve.

I'm wondering what astrophysical phenomenon could produce a curve of this sort.

Sigmoid curves are typically seen in the population growth of living things, and in artificial systems, like economic enterprises, organizations, and cellular automata.[/i]
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Profile William Rothamel
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Message 1807928 - Posted: 8 Aug 2016, 11:45:16 UTC - in response to Message 1807859.  
Last modified: 8 Aug 2016, 11:45:37 UTC

A sigmoid curve , like the normal distribution, indicates the results of a natural, random event in the world.
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Michael Watson

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Message 1807956 - Posted: 8 Aug 2016, 15:34:16 UTC

William; Could you please give an example of a natural and random phenomenon the develops along the lines of a sigmoid curve? Life itself is a natural phenomenon, but far from random, either in its growth, or activities. Thank you.
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Message 1808026 - Posted: 8 Aug 2016, 21:24:20 UTC - in response to Message 1807956.  
Last modified: 8 Aug 2016, 22:08:45 UTC

Posting another article, because SETI is mentioned.

Alien hunters are fixated on a mysterious star, which refuses to reveal its secrets

A mysterious star has attracted global attention since its strange properties came to light in October last year. The star showed an odd pattern of dimming that could not be explained by any known natural phenomenon. Among the hypotheses that has yet to be disproved: the star is surrounded by an alien megastructure.

http://qz.com/752783/alien-hunters-are-fixated-on-a-mysterious-star-which-refuses-to-reveal-its-secrets/

edited
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_natural_phenomena
List of natural phenomena
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Profile William Rothamel
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Message 1808061 - Posted: 9 Aug 2016, 1:29:04 UTC - in response to Message 1807956.  

The sigmoid curve is the integral of the normal curve. The normal curve also describes the shape of the mean of samples taken at random from a population.

For instance simulate the throwing of two dice say 10,000 times then plot a histogram of the results you will see the normal curve in the discrete values of the sum of the two dice.

Here is a natural example from the internet--I suggest that nature is random but exhibits well known probability distributions--all of which tend to approximate the bell shaped curve in the case of large sample sizes.

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Message 1808062 - Posted: 9 Aug 2016, 1:32:06 UTC
Last modified: 9 Aug 2016, 1:49:01 UTC

Also: among the hypotheses that have yet to be proven is that there is a mass of pink elephants that somehow got stuck in orbit around the "Mysterious" star.

What is the scheme for determining whether the observations are valid and what is most likely to be causing them. What experiment or observation will falsify the Dyson Sphere theory ?
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Message 1808127 - Posted: 9 Aug 2016, 12:22:00 UTC - in response to Message 1807859.  
Last modified: 9 Aug 2016, 12:46:58 UTC

but far from random, either in its growth, or activities. Thank you.


Good discussion here but we are vectoring off topic.

Life is in fact nothing but random. Einstein " God does not play dice" well in this case Einstein was entirely wrong. the base of the natural logarithms "e" is a pure growth process. Arrival rates of new outcomes follow a Poisson distribution which for larger samples is well approximated by the Gaussian Curve. Service times at any facility actually follow an exponential distribution. So you see that life in all of its transactions tends to be random in outcomes.

Paraphrasing from an internet article;

The simplest way to understand this is to consider a pure growth process where the RATE of new members of the population arriving is some constant number. In this case the population will experience an exponential growth rate. However, the population itself thereby increases; ergo, the fraction of those members reproducing at any time is constant:: but as just said, the population is increasing. This is a pure growth process that exibits behavior like compound interest which in it's limit generates the constant "e" which is the base of the NATURAL logarithms. So we have a random process that occurs in NATURE that can be described in the large by Mathematics.
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Message 1808151 - Posted: 9 Aug 2016, 20:45:28 UTC
Last modified: 9 Aug 2016, 21:04:20 UTC

i looked up variable star and didn't know there were so many kinds. would anyone liken tabby's star to any known patterns? the articles i've read seem to cite extrinsic reasons instead of intrinsic reasons, like dust and comets, so maybe the experts they interviewed didn't think they were internal?

there's a lot of examples of sigmoid curves in biology, especially enzymatic or similar activity. another specific example would be oxygen being carried or released by hemoglobin in the blood. a lot of it has to do with feedback loops and competition for the active sites of the proteins, where the extremes of some parameter causes activity to slow down, while the middle area experiences rapid change.
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Message 1808329 - Posted: 10 Aug 2016, 15:14:28 UTC
Last modified: 10 Aug 2016, 15:17:22 UTC

Most scientists appear to have taken the position that KIC 8462852 is not a variable star, in any conventional sense. That's the reason behind the search for an external cause of its dimming.

Yes, sigmoid curves are common in biological systems, and also in human affairs. I found it interesting that a pattern of growth with such connections should occur in a star that has been considered a possible seat of intelligent life.

If Tabby's Star does not brighten again over a period of about four years, and in the absence of any astrophysical instance of a sigmoid curve, I will have to consider the possibility that its dimming is connected to life and intelligence, rather than the completion of a 'normal curve' or bell curve based on the natural accumulation and dispersal of light obscuring debris.
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Message 1808333 - Posted: 10 Aug 2016, 15:21:12 UTC

Is it possible that it ate one of its planets or maybe a rogue planet?
Bob DeWoody

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Message 1808549 - Posted: 11 Aug 2016, 18:16:32 UTC

If Tabby's Star absorbed a planet-sized mass, it might dim a bit, for a brief time. There were ten substantial dimming events observed by the Kepler Space Telescope, in a period of four years.

It seems unlikely enough that even one very rare event like a planet plunging into a star would happen just when we happened to be looking. Four years is the briefest of instants compared with the astronomical time scale involving billions of years.

That 10 planets should do so seems next door to impossible.
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Message 1808552 - Posted: 11 Aug 2016, 18:19:39 UTC

Just a passing thought:
How many of you have watched the dying embers of a log fire? One moment it burns up brightly, the next it sits there smouldering, then flairs up again. Are we seeing something like this, but on a stellar scale?
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Message 1808557 - Posted: 11 Aug 2016, 18:28:16 UTC - in response to Message 1808552.  

Just a passing thought:
How many of you have watched the dying embers of a log fire? One moment it burns up brightly, the next it sits there smouldering, then flairs up again. Are we seeing something like this, but on a stellar scale?

I had the same thought, but I don't think stars work like that. They expand as hydrogen turns to helium, and collapse/explode when the fuel is gone. There are no other known examples of this happening.

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Message 1808641 - Posted: 12 Aug 2016, 4:29:40 UTC - in response to Message 1808557.  

Just a passing thought:
How many of you have watched the dying embers of a log fire? One moment it burns up brightly, the next it sits there smouldering, then flairs up again. Are we seeing something like this, but on a stellar scale?

I had the same thought, but I don't think stars work like that. They expand as hydrogen turns to helium, and collapse/explode when the fuel is gone. There are no other known examples of this happening.

Steve

Have we really observed enough to draw absolute conclusions about the behavior of stars?
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Message 1808675 - Posted: 12 Aug 2016, 7:18:39 UTC - in response to Message 1808557.  

Just a passing thought:
How many of you have watched the dying embers of a log fire? One moment it burns up brightly, the next it sits there smouldering, then flairs up again. Are we seeing something like this, but on a stellar scale?

I had the same thought, but I don't think stars work like that. They expand as hydrogen turns to helium, and collapse/explode when the fuel is gone. There are no other known examples of this happening.
Steve

A log fire cannot be compared to a sun.
For instance, if sitting next to log fire and moving from it, it will colder.
That's not the case when it comes to suns.
The coronal heating problem in solar physics relates to the question of why the temperature of the Sun's corona is millions of kelvin higher than that of the surface.

Explain that and you are a Nobel Prize winner:)

Then we have the stellar evolution.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stellar_evolution
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Message 1812213 - Posted: 24 Aug 2016, 16:19:27 UTC - in response to Message 1808641.  

Just a passing thought:
How many of you have watched the dying embers of a log fire? One moment it burns up brightly, the next it sits there smouldering, then flairs up again. Are we seeing something like this, but on a stellar scale?

I had the same thought, but I don't think stars work like that. They expand as hydrogen turns to helium, and collapse/explode when the fuel is gone. There are no other known examples of this happening.

Steve

Have we really observed enough to draw absolute conclusions about the behavior of stars?


Well, we've observed quite a bit. Maybe more important, we have enough theoretical models of fusion processes to understand how stars burn quite well...after all, our theoretical knowledge was good enough almost a lifetime ago to allow us to successfully design the H-Bomb. Since then we have only gotten better. The last big problem was the missing neutrino problem, which has been cleared up. So it is fairly safe to say it is something outside the star that is causing the dimming.
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Message 1812471 - Posted: 25 Aug 2016, 13:38:39 UTC
Last modified: 25 Aug 2016, 13:39:55 UTC

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Message 1816636 - Posted: 12 Sep 2016, 13:02:05 UTC - in response to Message 1812471.  

I don't know if aliens are causing this anomaly or not. But i think we all aggree that this star is very interesting.

Another interesting thing about this star is that this anomaly has been observed by human eye and not from a computer, the exoplanet hunters, as Tabetha said.

My question is , is there a team that hunts seti signals like exoplanet hunters did? Or we rely only on computers?
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Message 1819962 - Posted: 26 Sep 2016, 19:53:13 UTC

Another ETI model for Tabby's Star:
https://disownedsky.blogspot.com/2016/09/almost-certainly-wrong-alien.html#more
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