And here we thought that the mystery of the "alien megastructure" star was all sewn up. Researcher Bradley Schaefer has determined that the most plausible explanation for KIC 8462852's unusual dimming, a swarm of comets, doesn't really hold up. You see, historical data shows that the star's light has been fading for at least a century -- comets wouldn't produce that kind of behavior. That theory was never strong in the first place, but these latest findings effectively rule it out.
So what is causing the unusual behavior? Schaefer doesn't have any immediate answers, but he's quick to rule out aliens. Besides the doubt that any species would have the time and resources to build a star-sized structure, he notes that objects orbiting a star should radiate heat -- there's no sign of that here. Most likely, there's a natural explanation that requires further evidence.
[Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech]