Enlarge (credit: Credit: Ron Miller)
Tabby’s star, which undergoes a chaotic pattern of dimming, has attracted a lot of attention due to suggestions that it might host an orbiting megastructure constructed by aliens.
But it’s not the only star with an odd pattern of dimming.
Astronomers have now taken a close look at one called PDS 110 and come up with a possible explanation for its pattern: a giant planet with rings that orbits outside the plane of most of the other material in the system.
While it’s a pretty tenuous explanation, the good news is that we should be able to get more data soon.
The planet’s next passage is expected to be in September, and the dimming should be clear enough to be visible to amateur astronomers.
Deep dive into the archives
PDS 110 lies a bit over 1,100 light years from Earth.
It’s similar to our Sun in terms of mass, but it’s much, much younger; estimates are that it’s less than 10 million years old.
At that age, it’s still expected to have a large disk of dust and gas that may be forming planets.
But imaging of PDS 110 shows no sign of the dust, suggesting that the disk is at an angle where it doesn’t obscure any of the star from Earth’s perspective.
Read 12 remaining paragraphs