Following the discovery of Tabby’s star, astronomers have reportedly found another similar alien megastructure star.
The flickering star was first spotted by researchers in 2012 using the VISTA Telescope in Chile. Then in 2015, scientists postulated that the star, now known as VVV-WIT-07, was an alien megastructure star.
According to researchers, the odd behavior of VVV-WIT-07 is reminiscent of two other celestial objects discovered in recent years. One is the J1407 which has a ring system reportedly 200 times larger than those of Saturn. The other is the famous Tabby’s star which exhibits unusual dips in its brightness.
In 2012, Roberto Saito of the Federal University of Santa Catarina and his team reviewed all the data gathered by the Vista Variables in the Via Lactea (VVV) survey which began in 2010. Researchers launched the survey to create a 3D map of the Milky Way showing all variable stars within its vicinity.
While searching the telescope data for eruptive outbursts from nearby stars, Saito and his team instead noticed a star that grew dim for some days in 2012.
The Alien Megastructure Star
A further study of the star by Saito’s team suggests that its amplitude dimmed slowly for around 11 days. It then rapidly faded as if nothing happened over the next 48 days. According to the team, the eclipse blocked out 80 percent of the star’s light.
“It’s got to be over a million kilometers wide, and very dense to be able to block that much starlight,” Eric Mamajek, an astrophysicist at the University of Rochester who is not involved in the study, commented. Mamajek, whose team discovered the J1407, cited that such a degree of dimming could be possible if a group of objects or one massive object blocks the light
“Our object is similar in the sense that we are also trying to explain the behavior in the light curve based on material surrounding the star,” Saito added. He explained that the team considers VVV-WIT-07 to be an intermediate case similar to the Tabby’s star.
Saito and his team speculate that the VVV-WIT-07 may continue with its flickering behavior until next year. This could potentially show four more dimming events as the mysterious megastructure continues to orbit the star.