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It’s Dimming! Astronomers Jump At Opportunity To Solve The Mystery Of Tabby’s Star

Of all the 150,000+ stars imaged by NASA's Kepler, the most bizarre has to be KIC 8462852: Tabby's Star.

While other stars show small, periodic dips in their brightness due to transiting planets, Tabby's star shows something unique.

Its dips are much larger in magnitude by up to a factor of 20, and show up irregularly in time.

The only known stars that show such flux dips are very young, with protoplanetary disks surrounding them.

Infrared and ultraviolet observations rule out a protoplanetary disk here; astronomers must consider other explanations.

Perhaps a series of collisions, dusty planets, or extraordinary ringed structures blocks the starlight, but those signals should be periodic.

Perhaps a massive set of disintegrating comets bombards the system, causing an irregular series of dimming events.

But other observations showed that Tabby's star has dimmed by 20% since 1900, something neither proposal explained.

Perhaps, as many suggested, this was evidence of an alien megastructure being constructed?

But another astrophysical scenario could explain it: a recently devoured planet.

Gases would dim the star overall, while outbursts and flares create irregular flux dips.

A quality light spectrum, taken during the ongoing dimming, could finally discern which model is correct.

Mostly Mute Monday tells the story of an astronomical object, image or phenomenon in visuals, pictures and no more than 200 words.

Astrophysicist and author Ethan Siegel is the founder and primary writer of Starts With A Bang! Check out his first book, Beyond The Galaxy, and look for his second, Treknology, this October!

VIA forbes.com

Transcendent Man
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Robotics

In Letter, At Least 12 States Will Sue to Block Any Rollback of Emissions Standards

While the White House and Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA, have indicated their plan to roll back vehicle emissions standards set by the Obama administration in 2011, the attorneys general of 12 states and Washington District of Columbia have pledged to sue the EPA if the roll back happens. The states — California, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Oregon, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland — made their intentions clear in a letter to Pruitt. Back in 2011, President Obama’s administration made the deal with automakers, who agreed to work on doubling their average fuel efficiency fleet-wide until it reaches 54.5 miles per gallon by the year 2025. The parties also agreed to undergo mid-term evaluations no later than April 2018 to ens...

Transcendent Man
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Uncategorized

Could Tiny Fusion Rockets Revolutionize Spaceflight?

A small NASA-funded company is slimming down nuclear fusion reactors for space scienceVIA scientificamerican.com

Transcendent Man
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Elon Musk’s Space X Falcon 9 Rocket Lands Sucessfully | True Hollywood Talk

The SpaceX Falcon 9 Rocket has landed successfully!  The Dragon, which is still on its way to orbit, is carrying around 6,000 pounds of supplies and science experiments for the crew of the ISS. That includes a group of fruit flies to test out how the cardiovascular system functions in microgravity, as well as a group of mice to study bone loss in the space environment. Some unique technologies are also riding up inside the Dragon’s trunk — the unpressurized structure attached to the spacecraft that provides support and houses the vehicle’s solar panels. The trunk contains an instrument called NICER, which will eventually be mounted to the outside of the space station to look for neutron stars, as well as a specialized solar panel called ROSA which can be unfurled a bit like a flag,...

Transcendent Man
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Robotics

The FDA Has Fast-Tracked A First-Of-Its Kind Cancer Treatment

The FDA has officially approved the first cancer drug that treats tumors based off of genetic information independent of the tumors' location in the body. In a clinical trial, the drug was active against cancer in over half of patients and completely wiped out the cancer in 21 percent of patients. One new drug has doctors and pharmaceutical companies in a tizzy. Pembrolizumab (branded Keytruda) has recently been approved, in a hurry, by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat multiple tumors that arise from cancer in individuals with the same genetic abnormality. During a clinical trail, the drug was tested in 86 patients. Of those who took part in the study, 66 patients had their tumors both significantly shrink and stabilize — meaning the tumors did n...

Transcendent Man
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