Science 2 min read

Astronomers Discover "Peculiar" Dimming Star

Droneandy /

Droneandy /

A team of international astronomers recently discovered another dimming star some 440 light years away from our planet. Known as EPIC  204376071, the star reportedly dimmed by up to 80 percent for one whole day.

That’s way dimmer as compared to KIC 8462852, popularly known as Tabby’s star, which only dimmed by 20 percent.

In their paper, the astronomers wrote:

“In this work, we report the discovery of a deep depression in the flux (by 80 percent) of EPIC 204376071 that lasts for a full day. The lightcurve of EPIC 204376071 is otherwise quiet for a total of 160 days of observation during the K2 [Kepler 2] campaigns C2 and C15.”

However, what makes EPIC 204376071 even more interesting to astronomers was after hitting 80 percent dimness, it brightened again. But, it also brightened at a slower pace.

This process, called occultation, was also observed as asymmetrical. According to the researchers, the exit of the ‘object’ blocking the light was twice as long as its entry.

Dimming star's occultation
Dimming star’s occultation | Reddit

Dimming Star

Unlike Tabby’s star, the researchers believe that the mystery surrounding EPIC 204376071’s unusual dimming is easier to figure out. The team already proposed a few ideas. Unfortunately, none suggest a Dyson Sphere or alien megastructure as the cause of the phenomenon.

One of the team’s theories suggests that a celestial object like a giant planet could be blocking the star. Another proposes that a sheet of dust with a thicker leading edge could be in its orbit.

At the moment, no one really knows what’s causing the phenomenon. But, further investigation could hopefully reveal the answer soon.

EPIC 204376071 is classified as a red dwarf or a cold star, one of the most common types of stars in our galaxy. While its mass is only about 16 percent of the Sun’s mass, its size is around 63 percent of our own star.

Read More: Another Baffling Alien Megastructure Star Discovered

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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