The Most Mysterious Star in the Milky Way Has a Companion

Since its discovery a few years ago, the Boyajian’s star has become an interesting mystery. The star experiences fading events that astronomers still cannot explain. An off-the-cuff comment about it being “caused by aliens” brings popular media stardom as the “Alien Megastructure” star. Sadly, aliens have not been found in the vicinity of this star, but astronomers have found evidence of something else. Dr. Tabetha  Boyajian discovered Boyajian’s star, a research paper adopted for publication in an astrophysical journal, appears to contain her colleague, KIC 8462852 B, as detailed.

This peer was known from the first observations but now researchers have gathered enough data to claim that it is a binary system, a system where two astronomical bodies kept their gravitational pulls so close that they orbited each other. The data collected by the researcher’s shows that the two are moving in the same direction and in the same amount. The chances that they’re just two random stars doing the job are extremely slim, although the team shows they have yet to prove they are gravitationally bound.

If they are, the companion is located 132 billion kilometers (82 billion miles) from the star of Boyajian’s. It is 880 times the distance between the earth and the sun. At this distance, researchers do not expect the star to have a direct effect on the mysterious fading, but it can confuse the orbit of intimate objects and contribute to unexplained phenomena.

The author wrote in the study, “While this is not thought to be a possible explanation for the light curve of the Boyajian’s Star A, it could be a potential source of instability in the long-term evolution of the system and could trigger unused orbits in the system.” “Efforts to explain KIC 8462852 A’s dimming events should be informed by the existence of a wide stellar binary companion to the system.”

Stars orbiting the planet can shed about 1 percent of their light. We have found many planets in this way, such as when a planet passes in front of a planet, the light of a star dips. But these only compare to the experience of the Boyajian’s star. The stars had two large light dips, one where its light was reduced by 15 percent and one where its brightness was reduced by 22 percent.

They’ve seen other light dives, some reaching 11 percent, many just a few percent, but there’s no one as deep as these two. On top of that, the total brightness of the star has been declining over the years, which is not entirely related to sinking. Similar dips were seen on completely different stars. Further observations will hopefully help us understand whether the second star is really a partner and what effect it may have on the Boyajian’s star and its mysterious fading.