The perplexing cosmic object known as "Boyajian's star" is once again exhibiting a mysterious pattern of dimming and brightening that scientists have tried to explain with hypotheses ranging from swarms of comets to alien megastructures.
Today (May 19), an urgent call went out to scientists around the world to turn as many telescopes as possible toward the star, to try and crack the mystery of its behavior.
"At about 4 a.m. this morning I got a phone call … that Fairborn [Observatory] in Arizona had confirmed that the star was 3 percent dimmer than it normally is," Jason Wright, an associate professor of astronomy at Pennsylvania State University, who is managing a study of Boyajian's star, said during a live webcast today at 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT). "That is enough that we are absolutely confident that this is no statistical fluke. We've now got it confirmed at multiple observatories, I think."