Astronomers conclude bizzare star KIC 8462852 swarmed by comets

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope suggest that the unusual light signals coming from a star called KIC 8462852 are likely coming from dusty comet fragments swarming around it.

By Shruti Saxena | Last Updated: Nov 27, 2015, 10:52 AM IST
Astronomers conclude bizzare star KIC 8462852 swarmed by comets
Image courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Zee Media Bureau/Shruti Saxena

New Delhi: According to the recent findings by the US space agency NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, the unusual light signals coming from a star called KIC 8462852 are most likely coming from dusty comet fragments swarming around it.

The bizzare star, KIC 8462852, first caught attention in the years 2011 and 2014, when the light coming from the star was regularly dipping, pointing towards a possibility that something might be blocking it.

Also read: NASA's Kepler Space Telescope spots 'bizarre' star

The strange star lies just above the Milky Way between the constellations Cygnus and Lyra.

The study, led by Massimo Marengo of Iowa State University, Ames, finds more evidence that a lot of smaller objects swarm around the strange star KIC 8462852.

The scientists studied infrared light using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and concluded that there was no excess infrared emissions from warm dust.

Michael Werner, the Spitzer project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the lead investigator of that particular Spitzer/Kepler observing programme, was quoted as saying, “Spitzer has observed all of the hundreds of thousands of stars where Kepler hunted for planets, in the hope of finding infrared emission from circumstellar dust”.

According to Marengo, more observations are needed to help settle the case of KIC 8462852.

Kepler is likely to observe KIC 8462852 in May 2017, when the mass is expected to transit the star again.

Also read: NASA's Kepler identifies new 'circumbinary' planet orbiting two stars