Bizarre Dimming Star Stumps Scientists

Scientists studying data from the Kepler telescope have spotted a truly strange star that exhibits weird characteristics which have left them scratching their heads. According to a newly-published paper on the star, 'HD 139139,' now known colloquially as the 'Random Transiter,' proved to be particularly intriguing to researchers because its brightness dipped 28 times over the course of 87 days for no discernible reason. The fluctuations were equally bewildering because they seemed to follow no apparent pattern and "their arrival times could just as well have been produced by a random number generator."

In a testament to how confounding the find has proven to be, the paper detailing the discovery of the Random Transiter offered nine possible explanations for what is causing the fluctuations in the star's brightness. Among the suggestions were a bevy of planets orbiting the star, a "debris disk of dust-emitting asteroids," and short-lived star spots. Ultimately, however, none of these theories have proven to be a perfect fit just yet and the authors of the paper explained that their highlighting of the oddity was done "largely to bring this enigmatic object to the attention of the larger astrophysics community" in the hopes that additional observations could be made or new theories could be offered for the star's behavior.

More on this puzzling story, including why the authors of the paper did not mention aliens, at the Coast to Coast AM website.