Tabby’s Star is currently one of the oddest objects observed in our galaxy. Citizen scientists working in the Planet Hunters program were the first to notice that the light output of the star, which is 1300 light years from earth, was fluctuating downward in an irregular manner never seen before with similar type stars. (See posts here and here.) Subsequent research looking back at telescopic images of the star indicated that the brightness may have been falling over the past 100 years.
The star (also known as Boyajian’s Star) is named after LSU assistant professor Tabetha Boyajian and on Friday she posted on Twitter: “#TabbysStar IS DIPPING! OBSERVE!!” This led observatories around the world to aim their telescopes and radio dishes at the star to observe it in as many wavelengths as possible. She also posted a graph showing the drop in brightness:
— Tabetha Boyajian (@tsboyajian) May 19, 2017
Currently, we are organizing and cataloging dozens of observations from multiple observers worldwide. Planned responses include photometric observations in multiple bands, spectrometry, and more exotic observations such as polarimetry. We are also continuing the monitoring with the Las Cumbres telescopes at an increased cadence (probably three or four sequences every hour),
Stay tuned for more news about this exciting event!
More about Tabby’s Star: