A previously unremarkable star in the constellation Cygnus has, in the past year, become known as the most mysterious object in our Galaxy. Boyajian’s star exhibits puzzling episodes of sporadic, deep dimming discovered in photometry with the Kepler Mission. Proposed explanations have focused on its obscuration by colliding exoplanets, exocomets, and even intervention of alien intelligence. These hypotheses have considered only phenomena external to the star because the radiative flux missing in the dimmings was believed to exceed the star’s storage capacity. We point out that modeling of variations in solar luminosity indicates that convective stars can store the required fluxes. It also suggests explanations for (a) a reported time-profile asymmetry of the short, deep dimmings and (b) a slower, decadal scale dimming reported from archival and Kepler photometry. Our findings suggest a broader range of explanations of Boyajian’s star that may produce new insights into stellar magneto-convection.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- June 2017
- stars: activity;
- Sun: activity;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- This is the final version published in the Ap.J. Letters on 6/5/17