Hauntings from Deep Space….
From the Tabby’s Star

I’ve a section in my webpage entitled My Hauntings, which contains dozens and dozens of essays about what haunts me. However, in response to my discomfort, they have driven me to understand something about which I hadn’t grasped. The discomfort will result, in time, in my understanding something until a new haunting emerges on the horizon of my life.

Interestingly, I am haunted about being haunted. In fact, there is no mention of hauntings in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association. Apparently, my being haunted isn’t a mental illness.

That being said, I was watching a presentation on TED by Dr. Tabetha Suzanne Boyajian, who is an exoplanetary astrophysicist and astronomer. To my relief, Dr. Boyajian shares my predilection to experience hauntings. It is amazing that we share the haunting sensation. This chart haunts her.

Dr. Boyajian’s haunting

Now, I’m haunted also by the chart. Apparently, something happened to KIC 8462852 in March. Therefore, I decided to address my haunting. The first person that I would have asked would have been Carl Sagan, but he is gone. My next alternative was Dr. Boyajian. She discussed NASA’s Kepler mission in 2009. Kepler was looking for planets outside of our solar system that might contain life.

Behold Kepler….


Kepler’s range of searching was limited to the 21-boxes in the center of this photograph.

Kepler checked the brightness of some 150,000 stars on its mission during a four year period. It constantly was noting the brightness of a star every 30-minutes and recording it. Kepler was looking for a transit. This video is an example of a transit, which determines whether that star has a planet.

NASA’s computers recorded these transits, but could a computer miss some details? The researchers decided to form the Planet Hunters made up of 300,000 ordinary citizens who would parallel what Kepler was doing by noting transits. Between Kepler and the Planet Hunters, they have found dozens of planets.

However, while looking for planets, they have found a most mysterious star, a very mysterious one. The name of the mystery star is KIC 8462852. However, something that has the area of 1,000 Earths was blocking the light from the star. The question was what caused the dip in the light of KIC 8462852.

Tabby’s Star and the mystery

KIC 8462852 is often called Tabby’s Star in honor of Dr. Tabetha Boyajian’s first name. However, Dr. Boyajian and all the other astronomers are attempting to determine precisely what is transiting the mysterious star. The various possibilities range from being a very young star developing to it being a star, which had two planets colliding with each together as it transited in front of Tabby’s Star. Others suggested that what had occurred was that a huge swarm of comets had transited in front of the star. However, none of those ideas are workable ideas, since they would have to contradict basic known science. In fact, some astrophysicists have toyed with the notion that aliens built a megastructure or what is called a Dyson sphere, which would be built around a star from which the aliens could use the star’s energy.

A Dyson sphere built by aliens

Sadly, scientists will be haunted for the meantime about what caused the irregular and huge dips in light coming from KIC 8462852. Therefore, they and I will return to our lives still haunted about things that we can’t explain.

This is TED’s video of Dr. Boyajian.

This video is about it still haunting astronomers.

This video is about NASA’s Kepler.