Thanks to spectroscopy, the science of studying wavelengths, we now have a much better idea about what’s causing the weird dips in Tabby’s Star. Signs point to space dust! Now, how that dust was generated is a whole ‘nother mystery:
Some sort of large-scale catastrophe could be back on the table as an explanation for all this. It’s possible that two planet-sized objects orbiting Tabby’s Star collided! If that happened then you’d get a huge cloud of dust. It could be clumpy, and could very well orbit the star on an ellipse. As these clumps of material pass in front of the star, we see dips.
Another possibility is large numbers of comets, giant snowballs peppered with grains of solid material, that got kicked in closer to the star somehow and are now evaporating or aggressively outgassing. Whatever it is, it may be in process of creating a ring or rings, like the ones around Saturn, only much much larger, and it may have happened in the relatively recent past. Meaning within the last thousand years or so.
- That’s right folks, if you’re reading this in the northeast, you already know about snow-apocalypse. It’s quite a sight from space. If it makes you feel any better, it got into the teens here in Texas this week.
- That being said, and despite the snow and ice theme above, last year, 2017 ranks as one of the hottest years in the modern climate record. Based on some data, only 2016 and 2012 were hotter, and that may end up being revised. So clearly, if you’re a science denier, this means global cooling is in progress. Here’s a primer on the global cooling spiel: we tend to need it anytime a hot year follows an all-time record year.