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KIC 8462852: The SETI Factor

I had no idea when the week began that I would be ending it with a third consecutive post on Dysonian SETI, but the recent paper on KIC 8462852 by Tabetha Boyajian and colleagues has forced the issue. My original plan for today was to focus in on Cassini’s work at Enceladus, not only because of the high quality of the imagery but the fact that we’re nearing the end of Cassini’s great run investigating Saturn’s icy moons. Then last night I received Jason Wright’s new paper (thanks Brian McConnell!) and there was more to say about KIC 8462852.

Actually, I’m going to look at Wright’s paper in stages. It was late enough last night that I began reading it that I don’t want to rush a paper that covers a broad discussion of megastructures around other stars and how their particular orbits and properties would make them stand out from exoplanets. But the material in the paper on KIC 8462852 certainly follows up our discussion of the last two days, so I’ll focus on that alone this morning. Next week there will be no Centauri Dreams posts as I take a much needed vacation, but when I return (on October 26), I plan to go through the rest of the Wright paper in closer detail.

A professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State, Wright heads up the Glimpsing Heat from Alien Technologies project that looks for the passive signs of an extraterrestrial civilization rather than direct communications, so the study of large objects around other stars is a natural fit (see Glimpsing Heat from Alien Technologies for background). Luc Arnold suggested in 2005 that large objects could be used as a kind of beacon, announcing a civilization’s presence, but it seems more likely that large collectors of light would be deployed first and foremost as energy collectors. We’ve also seen in these pages that a number of searches have been mounted for the infrared signatures of Dyson spheres and other anomalous objects (see, for example, An Archaeological Approach to SETI).

In the last two days we’ve seen why KIC 8462852 is causing so much interest among the SETI community. The possibility that we are looking at the breakup of a large comet or, indeed, an influx of comets caused by a nearby M-dwarf, is thoroughly discussed in the Boyajian paper. This would be a fascinating find in itself, for we’ve never seen anything quite like it. Indeed, among Kepler’s 156,000 stars, there are no other transiting events that mimic the changes in flux we see around this star. Boyajian and team were also able to confirm that the striking dips in the KIC 8462852 light curve were not the result of instrument-related flaws in the data.

So with an astrophysical origin established, it’s interesting to note that Boyajian’s search of the Kepler dataset produced over 1000 objects with a drop in flux of more than ten percent lasting 1.5 hours or more, with no requirement of periodicity. When the researchers studied them in depth, they found that in every case but one — KIC 8462852 — they were dealing with eclipsing binaries as well as stars with numerous starspots. The object remains unique.

Wright provides an excellent summary of the Boyajian et al. investigations. The Kepler instrument is designed to look for dips in the light curve of a star as it searches for planets. If the frequent dips we see at KIC 8462852 are indeed transits, then we must be looking at quite a few objects. Moreover, the very lack of repetition of the events indicates that we are dealing with objects on long-period orbits. One of the events shows a 22 percent reduction in flux, which Wright points out implies a size around half of the stellar radius (larger if the occulter is not completely opaque). The objects are, as far as we can tell, not spherically symmetric.

Let me quote Wright directly as we proceed:

The complexity of the light curves provide additional constraints: for a star with a uniformly illuminated disk and an occulter with constant shape, the shape of the occulter determines the magnitude of the slope during ingress or egress, but not its sign: a positive slope can only be accomplished by material during third and fourth contact, or by material changing direction multiple times mid-transit (as, for instance, a moon might). The light curves of KIC 8462 clearly show multiple reversals… indicating some material is undergoing egress prior to other material experiencing ingress during a single“event”. This implies either occulters with star-sized gaps, multiple, overlapping transit events, or complex non-Keplerian motion.

Screenshot from 2015-10-16 09:18:25

Image: Left: a deep, isolated, asymmetric event in the Kepler data for KIC 8462. The deepest portion of the event is a couple of days long, but the long “tails” extend for over 10 days. Right: a complex series of events. The deepest event extends below 0.8, off the bottom of the figure. After Figure 1 of Boyajian et al. (2015). Credit: Wright et al.

A giant ring system? It’s a tempting thought, but the dips in light do not occur symmetrically in time, and as Wright points out, we don’t have an excess at infrared wavelengths that would be consistent with rings or debris disks. Comet fragments remain the most viable explanation, and that nearby M-dwarf (about 885 AU away from KIC 8462852) is certainly a candidate for the kind of system disrupter we are looking for. That leaves the comet explanation as the leading natural solution. A non-natural explanation may raise eyebrows, but as I said yesterday, there is nothing in physics that precludes the existence of other civilizations or of engineering on scales well beyond our own. No one is arguing for anything other than full and impartial analysis that incorporates SETI possibilities.

Jason Wright puts the case this way:

We have in KIC 8462 a system with all of the hallmarks of a Dyson swarm… : aperiodic events of almost arbitrary depth, duration, and complexity. Historically, targeted SETI has followed a reasonable strategy of spending its most intense efforts on the most promising targets. Given this object’s qualitative uniqueness, given that even contrived natural explanations appear inadequate, and given predictions that Kepler would be able to detect large alien megastructures via anomalies like these, we feel [it] is the most promising stellar SETI target discovered to date. We suggest that KIC 8462 warrants significant interest from SETI in addition to traditional astrophysical study, and that searches for similar, less obvious objects in the Kepler data set are a compelling exercise.

As I mentioned, the Wright paper discusses the broader question of how we can distinguish potential artificial megastructures from exoplanet signatures, and also looks at other anomalous objects, like KIC 12557548 and CoRoT-29, whose quirks have been well explained by natural models. I want to go through the rest of this paper when we return to it in about ten days.

The paper is Wright et al., “The Ĝ Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations with Large Energy Supplies. IV. The Signatures and Information Content of Transiting Megastructures,” submitted to The Astrophysical Journal (preprint).


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michael October 22, 2015, 12:40

    The 792 day event is also a multiple of ~25, anyone out there with a more accurate data set?

  • ljk October 22, 2015, 15:44

    The VLA may be waiting until January to scan WTF 001, but the ATA started on October 16:


    To quote:

    I’m a variable star observer, so naturally I thought of variables with irregular fluctuations in light when I first heard about this stellar mystery. Time to talk to an expert. According to Elizabeth Waagen, senior technical assistant for science operations at the AAVSO, KIC 8462852 is different.

    “Based on the information so far, it doesn’t seem to fit the criteria for an irregular variable,” said Waagen in a phone interview this morning. “It’s doesn’t add up.”

  • Hugh October 22, 2015, 17:43

    In the paper by Tabetha et Al. (wow,this Al is really prolific :-) ) the plot excerpts show minima at days 180. 200, 220, 360, 380, 1240, 1260, 1280, 1520, 1540 and 1560.
    This shows that not only is the 20 day frequency a strong feature, but the phase is constant throughout, as simpy dividing by 20 you get cycles 9, 10, 11, 18, 19, 62, 63, 64, 76, 77 and 78.
    Not bad… This massive thing is really orbiting around 20 million km.

  • Steven Ward October 22, 2015, 18:44

    I have read before about using powerful lasers to communicate vast cosmic distances and how they can easily be so bright that they can outshine their own star.
    Would it be possible that this is the case here in that the ETI are using a laser and varying the brightness to get attention? And we are mistaking the light to be from a star, or would we know immediately that it’s laser light?

  • Hiro October 22, 2015, 22:01

    It’s interesting to know the age of that M-class red dwarf around 885 AU from the main target.

    If KIC 8462852 were an innocent goat waiting for big bad lions, then the hunter should be close observing outsiders.

    Anyway, we’ll know more about this before the end of this year.

  • Rob October 22, 2015, 22:40

    Yea are we absolutely sure that the light is coming FROM the star? And not some very sophisticated alien light source as a beacon? Outlandish thought, but one worth some consideration I’d say. It’s long been speculated that if aliens did not communicate with radio waves or use visible beacons that this might be a route they’d take. Could this be a possibility here?

  • Michael October 22, 2015, 23:56

    It is a Planet with maybe moons in a tight orbit that is evaporating, no AI here, too hot! The moons are unlikely due to the orbit which is most likely eccentric.

  • Michael October 23, 2015, 2:05

    I get the ‘planet’ size at about 70000 km across, around ~50% larger in diameter than Neptune. Are we seeing a ice giant or its moons boiling off into space due to the closeness to the Star?

  • Hugh October 23, 2015, 3:37

    @Steven Ward: Highly unlikely, I believe, as detailed analysis has shown that it is an F type star. This is based on spectra that are characteristic of the 6750 K surface temperature. Also, the spectral lines show the rotational broadening and all the other features expected from a stellar atmosphere of this sort. AFAIK, lasers must be essentially monochromatic, though some may have a mix of 2 or more frequencies. But nothing like the continuous thermal signature of a chromosphere. N’est pas?

  • Daniel Högberg October 23, 2015, 4:41

    It sounds like in some of the comments almost as if an artificial structure is already confirmed..? It would be a dream come true, but Im still skeptic, I dont dare to believe :)
    The implications then.. But the question is how many people would really care, for 99.9% of the earths population, the latest fashion, the latest iphone and how many likes they get on instagram and facebook is so much more important and interesting.

  • Hugh October 23, 2015, 7:57

    Some articles on these mega-structures have compared them to the mysterious radio bursts whose frequency spread is always a multiple of 187.5.
    I only just heard of the latter via these references. In e.g. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22630153-600-is-this-et-mystery-of-strange-radio-bursts-from-space/
    it shows that there are multiples, starting at 375 and adding on 1, 2, 3 and 4 respectively multiples of 187.5. Now 375 is 2×187.5 and 375 is rather special as 375 = 3 x 5 x 5 x 5 = 3 x 5^3, where 3 and 5 are the first 2 odd prime numbers.

    All of this may be telling us that they know maths – i.e. primes, powers and multiplication and addition.

  • Hugh October 23, 2015, 8:04

    Oh and 2 x 375 = 750, which is 3/4 of 1000. All basic stuff. Thus 375 may have been sacred to this race of aliens who lived 3000 million years ago in a galaxy far far away. By comparison our megalomaniac architects are positively parochial at 1500 light years.

  • Paul Gilster October 23, 2015, 8:41

    On unusual radio bursts, see:

    Fast Radio Bursts: SETI Implications?


    and on how local solutions are often found, see:

    Puzzling Out the Perytons


    A good bit more is available in the archives.

  • ljk October 23, 2015, 9:03

    When SKA is ready by 2020 it could be another valuable tool for scanning WTF 001:


    But I also agree with those who have already said this here and elsewhere, we need to look in other ranges of the spectrum besides radio, especially when it comes to really advanced species.

  • Harry R Ray October 23, 2015, 10:17

    Citizen Science strikes again! Ameteuar astronomers around the world are being encouraged to moniter KIC8462852 24/7 for dips in brightness(periodic or aperiodic). If the MAJOR dips ARE periodic(but with major RECONFIGURATIONS if the swarm of “whatever”, observations of the MAJOR dips probably WON”T start until 2017(by the way, if they ARE periodic, that should put them in the star’s habitable zone! HMMMMM!). As for RIGHT NOW, a dedicated search for EVERY PHOTOGRAPHIC PLATE AND CHARGE COUPLE IMAGE of THAT REGION OF THE SKY should be happening right now! If any of you readers who may have DIRECT CONTACT with astronomers who may be conducting this search(i.e. Andrew LePage et al)can VERIFY that this IS being done, please post a comment on the details.

  • sangos October 23, 2015, 11:55

    I could be wrong but the SETI follow-up with the ATA or even the VLA seems to be inadequate to detect a radio signal @1500lyrs. The signal may not show up simply because both of these are inferometers. We should be throwing Ariciebo with the highest sensitivity at this star system.

    The Chinese will be watching this development closely, if unsuccessful with the FAST ginormous radtel coming online soon.

  • Jim Galasyn October 23, 2015, 13:24

    Did the Kepler space telescope discover alien megastructures? The mystery of Tabby’s star solved

  • Hugh October 23, 2015, 17:48

    @Paul Gilster
    Thanks for those links. Those mysterious radio bursts are also fascinating. Sorry that I made a mistke there. I.e. the Hz is an arbitrary unit, so
    if this pattern is real, it’s about ratios and not absolute values.

  • tesh October 23, 2015, 18:02

    Alex Tolley October 22, 2015 at 10:03
    @Tesh. So explain why there is such a huge global tourist industry if we can experience distant places by watching them on tv?

    The vast, vast, VAST, majority of people in the world do not do the “global tourist” thang.

    Anyway the point you made was that of “rock climber types” Those types are vanishingly small in number. Even the global tourist thang is made up of those that may as well be in their living rooms sipping tea and dunking their mcvities while locals carry their suitcases and in some cases the tourists themselves up and down and across various obstacles.

  • TLDR October 23, 2015, 19:01

    @sango, I think it was mentioned here earlier or elsewhere that Arecibo can’t see KIC 846. :(

  • Rafik October 23, 2015, 23:42

    @Jim Galasyn

    Interesting concept of helping explain the light curves.

    However, the size of the dips in the light curves should rule out a planetary explanation, unless the planets have very large opaque ring systems.

    A Jupiter size planet would result in a dip of less than 1% and we are seeing dips up to 20%.

    Cometary origin appears the best “natural” explanation but other observations of this star, such as lack of IR excess, point to a very complex origin.
    We all can (and should) speculate on options/shapes/stellar properties etc but until we have further observations we probably will not be able to resolve this enigma.

  • Michael October 24, 2015, 1:00

    @Jim Galasyn October 23, 2015 at 13:24

    ‘Did the Kepler space telescope discover alien megastructures? The mystery of Tabby’s star solved

    It is most definitely a planet in a tight orbit going across the bright poles/dark equator and it is most likely in a precession orbit as well moving in sight and then out of much like Mercury.


    The out bursts are likely to be due to the highly inclined orbit crossing the uneven equator-pole gravity which would create tidal heating, perhaps a moon has got over heated and erupted. There is the possibility that another planet is bullying the planet as well that can’t be seen, the light curve is very noisy likely due to the gas features of the emissions. I am thinking a moon is been tidally stressed to eruption, only a moon has such a low gravity that such a huge cloud could form around it, the planets gravity is too strong. Not sure what the gas is and there is a lot of it as it can’t be dust as there is no infrared excess.

    Would have loved it to be Aliens but reality has to intervene at some point.

  • Michael October 24, 2015, 11:23

    Here is the NASA website with the data points,

    You can see the stars rotation but I get a ~2 day rotation period and a ~25 day min/max (planet?) at the ‘out bursts’ at the end. With the ‘planet?’ it does not have to cross the disc just the cloud, this is what may be we are seeing which would make it hard to determine the exact period, -if there is no out burst no dip- but we may see an increase in brightness due to reflectance from the ‘planet’.


    And home


  • Paul Gilster October 24, 2015, 11:34

    Michael, your thoughts (and links) on this have been outstanding. Jason Wright also discusses gravity darkening in the recent paper. More on this on Monday.

    • dryson February 2, 2016, 21:38

      Perhaps Coronal Holes can help explain the dims of light of KIC 8462852.

  • Michael October 24, 2015, 12:14

    ‘Michael, your thoughts (and links) on this have been outstanding. Jason Wright also discusses gravity darkening in the recent paper. More on this on Monday.’

    Thanks Paul

    Always a pleasure to help, I have learned much on this site from your good self and the many other readers. As someone put it ‘the sublime beauty of it’.

    Now I will just need to correct my statement earlier about the rotation period, it is less than a day, when I zoomed in I held the other scale in my head.


  • Jim Galasyn October 24, 2015, 13:14

    Just found this paper: “Revisiting a gravity-darkened and precessing planetary system PTFO 8-8695: spin-orbit non-synchronous case” (http://arxiv.org/abs/1506.04829)

    The interpolations in Figure 4 look almost exactly like the light curves from KIC 8462852.

  • Alex Tolley October 24, 2015, 13:37


    The vast, vast, VAST, majority of people in the world do not do the “global tourist” thang.

    That is irrelevant. The fact is that for that “minority” there exists a huge infrastructure to support that activity, including airports, civil airliners, ports, cruise ships and developed resorts. Whether it is tourism, hiking, rock climbing or any number of sport-like activities or just wandering around or lazing on a beach, humans still seem to prefer the real thing when they have time and money to afford it. I think that invalidates your argument that aliens will just use VR worlds and not try to interact with reality. Essentially you are also arguing that all ETI species will take the VR route, a very dubious proposition, IMO, given we know nothing about ETI at all.

    Just like tourism, this is not a binary either/or outcome. People can travel as well as watch travel shows on TV, or play immersive video games and re-enact battles on weekends, even sign up and do real war in the military or as mercenaries. Our world offers an ever richer array of experiences and I see no reason why some aliens shouldn’t be just as interested to do something similar.

  • Michael October 25, 2015, 10:27

    Thanks Jim, great find.

    I have this ‘Planet’ with a crazy eccentricity ‘practically’ skimming the surface of its Star, no wonder it is boiling away! I have the Aphelion as towards us and a blistering Perihelion velocity of ~5-600km/s. I see two periods one at ~22 and the other near ~25 days, maybe another planets is keeping it stable, but not for long me thinks, it is a goner at this rate.

  • Alex Tolley October 25, 2015, 16:45

    How relevant is the paper on gravity darkening (thanks Jim Galasyn) for this system. The model is based on a pre-main sequence star with a hot Jupiter in a very tight orbit. This seems somewhat different from the case here. However it does offer another candidate for a natural explanation rather than fanciful ETI structures.

    Has anyone come up with a model that fits all the known facts of this system?

  • Rob October 25, 2015, 18:28

    Maybe it’s some kind of sophisticated visual beacon set up by aliens because they’d assume any semi-intelligent species would be able to see it. Is there any kind of pattern in the dimmings that Kepler measured of the star? Maybe the answer isn’t so much in WHAT is blocking the star’s light, but in the action itself? Maybe it’s a hidden signal.

  • tesh October 26, 2015, 4:54

    @Alex Tolley

    “Whether it is tourism, hiking, rock climbing or any number of sport-like activities or just wandering around or lazing on a beach, humans still seem to prefer the real thing when they have time and money to afford it. I think that invalidates your argument that aliens will just use VR worlds and not try to interact with reality.”

    I disagree that this invalidates my argument. The evidence we have from the only data available (us), is that more and more kids growing up in the silicon age are spending more and more time in the virtual world (computer games, social media, work (trading, designing, responding to emails and blogs, etc) and so on and so on) than in the real world. I for one hope this trend is not irreversible but it is undeniable that those that can afford to spend more and more time in the virtual world, and less in the real world, do so.

    Anyway, hope the trend is not irreversible and we, humans1.0, actually go on to explore a good chunk of our galactic neighbourhood!

  • Hugh October 26, 2015, 5:00

    @Jim, Michael.
    A few comments on the gravitational darkening hypothesis. I believe that this is an interesting idea, but still just a hypothesis. A few hurdles it must take to be considered viable:

    1. Tabby spoke with about 100 astronomers on this before publishing. Don’t you think one of them at least would have also thought of gravitational darkening if it was in any way plausible? Also Jason Wright considered it and still sees the Seti possibilities as worthy of investigation.

    2. To prove it applicable to an F type star tilted at 68 deg, radiative transfer simulations would have to be done for the stellar envelope. That would then need to have these rogue planets added. Even then it’s still not clear that 1 or 2 planets can do the job.

    Let’s hear what Paul has to say on it.

  • Hugh October 26, 2015, 6:02

    One objection to the Gravity Darkening hypothesis: The large amplitude features have a period of weeks, and the 0.88 day rotational flux variation is superposed on these longer term curves.
    From figure 4 we see that this 0.88 variation is constant in amplitude and of the order of 0.0005 in relative flux. But the features in question stretch over weeks, and have amplitude and of the order of 0.20 in relative flux. I.e. they are 400 times stronger than any intrinsic stellar variation. If grav-dark was the mechanism, you’ve expect it to get huge as the planets approach. However, the ‘planet’ orbits have to be of 20 days and so the objects is at about 20 million km. And again the mean of the huge peaks are of order of 5 days approx.

    I think this is where Jason considers limb darkening:
    2.2.3 Non-spherical Stars and Gravity Darkening
    Both gravity darkening and orbital precession can be in play at once… etc.

  • Hugh October 26, 2015, 7:56

    Looking at Kamiaka et al on PFTO 8-8695: though it produces light curves of a similar ilk to those of Kic 8462852, note that the curves are all symmetric (the well defined, actual-data curves in fig. 4), as this is a planet system. I.e. this again is what makes Kic 8462 unique – the size AND asymmetry of the peaks.

  • ericSECT October 26, 2015, 8:31

    The gravity darkening hypothesis does not fully explain the very long duration and significant depth of the transits. WTF 001 event at at 1520 days: Duration 15 days, dimmed Tabby’s star by 20%. Event at 1570 days: Duration 5 days, dimmed by 7%. Event at 790 days, lasted 10 days and dimmed by 15%. Super imposed on these transits is some other transiting object at a period of about 20 days that dims about a percent. Now, compare this data to 2 planets in our system as seen from another star: Jupiter transit will last 30 hours and dim Sol by 1%, a Neptune transit lasts 72 hours and dims Sol by 0.1%. The “somethings” transiting Tabby’s star are MANY times larger than our Jupiter and (if in orbit) billions of miles away from the star. One last thing about gravity darkening: If this star had a wobble as well as it’s pole pointed at us with transiting objects over the pole….. it’s light-curve would look like…. owww my brain hurts. Anyone else give it a go?

  • Michael October 26, 2015, 10:39

    If you look at the symmetrical feature and look either side we can see a period of approx. 22- 25 days, if we take 25 days as the period we get a semi-major axis of about 27.2 million km for this star. Now if you look at the symmetrical feature again it spans around 20 day of transit, so the velocity of transit across the disc implies an average perpendicular velocity of around ~1.5 km/s. If we plug this in as our Aphelion distance (furthest from the star) we get an eccentricity of around 0.95, it gets close to the star indeed. It is as if this planets Aphelion is almost directly at us crossing a bright pole causing the long deep dip, add this to the fact that it or its moons are evaporating we would get a long lingering transit of a changing shape. We don’t see many of these in the Kepler studying because the chance of alignment is so rare!

  • Jim Galasyn October 26, 2015, 12:02

    For comparison, I placed the light curves for KIC 8462852 beside the interpolated curves for PTFO 8-8695: http://1drv.ms/1N2wyTN (Kamiaka, et al, 2015). The Kamiaka paper estimates the mass of the transiting planet to be 3-4 times Jupiter’s mass.

    The case is strong enough to conclude that any time we observe asymmetrical light curves like those from KIC 8462852, we can safely infer that the star is a rapid rotator with gravity darkening.

  • Jim Galasyn October 26, 2015, 16:16

    The plot thickens. A commenter on my blog cites a new paper, “Tests of the planetary hypothesis for PTFO 8-8695b” (http://arxiv.org/pdf/1509.02176v2.pdf) that disconfirms the Barnes paper: “All these observations cast doubt on the planetary hypothesis, and suggest instead that the fading events represent starspots, eclipses by circumstellar dust, or occultations of an accretion hotspot.”

  • Michael October 26, 2015, 23:48

    Although sun spots can cover large areas the light curves is not consistent with the evidence and theory. They can accumulate around polar regions and persist for years.


    I am not sure how this stars stellar wind would react to an ionised cloud around a planet, it could smear it out as the wind has a perpendicular component that is quite high as the star is a rapid rotator ~84km/s making it look much larger. Anyway when the radio telescope looks at the star it may find the hint of planet/star magnetic field interactions.

  • Michael October 27, 2015, 13:33

    I suppose we will have to wait for more telescopes to view it but if it is a planet it approaches around 400 000 km from the surface at perihelion (e=0.95). That would flash fry it at about 6500K or higher but only for a few hours, certainly enough to remove part of an upper atmosphere on a lower massed world.

  • dryson December 27, 2015, 0:52

    The idea of a large swarm of comets blocking out 22% of KIC’s light is not feasible because of the two year time difference between each data recording that Kepler took.

    Tabby’s Star is about 1 1/2 times our Sun. Our Sun’s diameter is 1.392 million km. That would make Tabby’s Star roughly 2.088 million km in diameter.

    The distance from the Sun to Mars is 227,900,000 km. Subtract 2.088 million km from the Sun to Mars to compensate for Tabby’s Star size and the new distance is 225,812,000 million km.

    Not much of distance increase but if data consisted of a four year recording where in that time the two major recordings were two years apart and a body was in orbit around KIC then the orbit would have been a little bit further than Mars at 1.88 years. Given the size of KIC and its increased amount of heat released comets orbiting KIC would have vaporized being that close to KIC where cometary debris would have been present and very noticeable coming from an object large enough to block out 15% and 22% of KIC’s light.

    During the four years of data gathering there were six decrease in KIC’s light of around 2%. Which are the very small dips on the graph. Given the size of KIC and that Jupiter would causes a 1% dip in light when it passes across KIC’s surface the six 2% dips could be attributed to planets 1x larger than Jupiter passing across the surface of KIC.

    The 15% mark on the graph is the first dip of KIC that is recorded. The smaller transits however do remain constant right up and till the 22% dip in light is experienced. Then a 3% and finally a 7% dip in KIC’s light with numerous smaller dips occurring more frequently around the 22% dip.

    To block out 15% of KIC’s light the planet or object have to be 313,200 km in diameter. 15% of 2.088 million km is 313,200 km. Jupiter is 139,822 km in diameter. The object would therefore be 173,378 km in diameter larger than Jupiter.

    To block out 22% of KIC’s light the planet or object have to be 459,360 km in diameter. 22% of 2.088 million km is 459,360 km. Jupiter is 139,822 km in diameter. The object would therefore be 319,538 km in diameter larger than Jupiter.

    The math doesn’t seem correct for some reason. How can an object just slighter larger than Jupiter or Object 15 cause a 15% dip in light when Jupiter only causes a 1% dip in light as well as Object 22 nearly triple the size of Jupiter being able to cause a 22% dip in light?

    I think I did the math correctly. I did a Reduced Diameter check where the reduced diameter is subtracted from the original diameter and the result divided by the original diameter.

    2.088 mil km – 139,822 km and then divided by the original 2.088 returns a result of .933304% or 93.33304% of the sun light of KIC visible with .066696% or 6.6696% of KIC’s light blocked by Jupiter.

    2.088 mil km – 313,200 km and then divided by the original 2.088 returns a result of .85 or 85% of the sun light of KIC visible with .15 or 15% of KIC’s light blocked out by Object 15.

    2.088 mil km – 459,360 km and then divided by the original 2.088 returns a result of .78 or 78% of the sun light of KIC visible with .22 or 22% of KIC’s light blocked out by Object 22.

    A comet or swarm of comets larger than Jupiter does not seem feasible.

    • dryson February 2, 2016, 21:37

      Let’s see how many Earth’s and Jupiter’s transited across KIC based on the 80 day dim. It takes Earth 13 hours to transit across our Sun. We all know that a full day on Earth is 24 hours. So by the time that Earth made 2 transits across KIC equaling a day Object 80 would have made a one day transit. So within the 80 day transit Earth would have transited nearly 160 times. I think Earth transiting 160 times within the 80 day transit would make Object 80 rather slow moving to say the least.

      • dryson February 26, 2016, 18:27

        I have a Facebook Page with the data from the light charts measured out if anyone is interested in taking a look and helping to expand further on any ideas.

        I have asked Super Planet Crash to try and model planets orbiting KIC 8462 based off of the data from the charts which would suggest that before the first dim of 15% it appears that a planet possibly the size of Mars transited KIC 8462 accompanied by a smaller planet possibly the size of Mercury.


  • dryson February 26, 2016, 18:22

    Based on the dims of light from KIC 8462 the possibility of a planet the size of HD 106906 b, being nearly 11 times larger than Jupiter could explain the 15% and 22% dims of KIC 8462.