Universe Guide

Tabby's Star

Tabby's Star Facts

  • Tabby's Star is a main sequence star that can be located in the constellation of Cygnus. The description is based on the spectral class.
  • Tabby's Star is not part of the constellation outline but is within the borders of the constellation.
  • Based on the spectral type (F3V) of the star, the star's colour is yellow to white .
  • The star can not be seen by the naked eye, you need a telescope to see it.
  • The star is calculated at being about 1276.57 light years away from us. Distance

Information on Tabby's Star

Being called Tabby's star is a lot easier to say and pronounce than its other more official name, KIC 8462852. It gets its name from the lead author of the initial study of the star, Tabetha S. Boyajian, a American female astronomer. It was a star that was picked up as part of kepler space telescope mission.

Its variability and periods of darkness has interested astronomers from around the world. The variability is irregular which has only been noticed in a very small number of other stars. It has led some people to speculate about extra-terrestrial/alien motives about the stars irregularity. Some have speculated it might be a Dyson Sphere such is the irregularity of the light. Its not the only one of its type but it is definitely the easiest to say. Another star of its type is EPIC 204278916 which is not on this site.

A Super-Earth or indeed a Jupiter would not be able to explain the dip in brightness that occurs infrequently. A Jupiter would only be able to hide approximately 1% nothing on the scale that has been seen. Other possible reasons for the dip is large asteroid fields or even a brown dwarf on a highly elliptical orbit. A brown dwarf would surely be picked up by its radiation heat signature?

W.T.F. Star isn't offensive term to many you might assume, its a play on the term. The F stands for Flux not ..... Flux being the amount of power that is radiated through a given area in the form of photons or other elementary particles, typically measured in W/m2. It is most useful when trying to determine the magnitude and spectral type of a star in astronomy.Ref: Wiki

Dyson Sphere Theory

Named after Freeman Dyson, a British astronomer, the theory is that an advanced alien race or humans in the far future have become so advanced that they have technology that has fully encompassed a star to gain power from it. Freeman wasn't the first person to come up with an idea but he popularised the theory. The theory was created by Olaf Stapledon in a story called Star Maker in 1937. Ref: Wiki

Tabby's Star's Alternative Names

Tabby's Star has alternative name(s) :- KIC 8462852, WTF Star.

More details on objects' alternative names can be found at Star Names .

Location of Tabby's Star

The location of the main sequence star in the night sky is determined by the Right Ascension (R.A.) and Declination (Dec.), these are equivalent to the Longitude and Latitude on the Earth. The Right Ascension is how far expressed in time (hh:mm:ss) the star is along the celestial equator. If the R.A. is positive then its eastwards. The Declination is how far north or south the object is compared to the celestial equator and is expressed in degrees. For Tabby's Star, the location is 20h 06m 15.457 and +44° 27` 24.61 .

Proper Motion of Tabby's Star

All stars like planets orbit round a central spot, in the case of planets, its the central star such as the Sun. In the case of a star, its the galactic centre. The constellations that we see today will be different than they were 50,000 years ago or 50,000 years from now. Proper Motion details the movements of these stars and are measured in milliarcseconds. The star is moving -10.50 ± 2.40 milliarcseconds/year towards the north and -9.90 ± 2.60 milliarcseconds/year east if we saw them in the horizon. . When the value is negative then the star and the Sun are getting closer to one another, likewise, a positive number means that two stars are moving away. Its nothing to fear as the stars are so far apart, they won't collide in our life-time, if ever.

Physical Properties of Tabby's Star

Tabby's Star Colour and Temperature

Based on the star's spectral type of F3V , Tabby's Star's colour and type is yellow to white main sequence star. The star has a B-V Colour Index of 0.577 which means the star's temperature is about 5,979 Kelvin. The temperature was calculated using information from Morgans @ Uni.edu.

Tabby's Star Radius

Tabby's Star estimated radius has been calculated as being 1.55 times bigger than the Sun. The Sun's radius is 695,800km, therefore the star's radius is an estimated 1,081,668.06.km. If you need the diameter of the star, you just need to multiple the radius by 2. The figure is derived at by using the formula from SDSS rather than peer reviewed papers. It has been known to produce widely incorrect figures.

Tabby's Star Mass

The Tabby's Star's solar mass is 1.43 times that of our star, the Sun. The Sun's Mass is 1,989,100,000,000,000,000,000 billion kg. which to calculate using this website is too large. To give idea of size, the Sun is 99.86% the mass of the solar system.

Tabby's Star Metalicity

The star's metallicity is 0.000000, this value is the fractional amount of the star that is not Hydrogen (X) or Helium (Y). An older star would have a high metallicity whereas a new star would have a lower one.

Tabby's Star Apparent and Absolute Magnitudes

Tabby's Star has an apparent magnitude of 11.71 which is how bright we see the star from Earth. Apparent Magnitude is also known as Visual Magnitude. Using the supplied Parallax value, you would get an absolute magnitude of 3.74 Magnitude, whether it be apparent/visual or absolute magnitude is measured by a number, the smaller the number, the brighter the Star is. Our own Sun is the brightest star and therefore has the lowest of all magnitudes, -26.74. A faint star will have a high number.

Distance to Tabby's Star

The Parallax of the star is given as 2.55500 which gives a calculated distance to Tabby's Star of 1276.57 light years from the Earth or 391.39 parsecs. It is about 7,504,476,792,645,001 miles from Earth.

The star is roughly 80,729,419.99 Astronomical Units from the Earth/Sun give or take a few. An Astronomical Unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun. The number of A.U. is the number of times that the star is from the Earth compared to the Sun.

Travel Time to Tabby's Star

The time it will take to travel to this star is dependent on how fast you are going. U.G. has done some calculations as to how long it will take going at differing speeds. A note about the calculations, when I'm talking about years, I'm talking non-leap years only (365 days).

The New Horizons space probe is the fastest probe that we've sent into space at the time of writing. Its primary mission was to visit Pluto which at the time of launch (2006), Pluto was still a planet.

DescriptionSpeed (m.p.h.)Time (years)
Airbus A3807361,163,164,497.39
Speed of Sound (Mach 1)767.2691,115,761,317.19
Concorde (Mach 2)1,534.54557,879,931.50
New Horizons Probe33,00025,942,093.03
Speed of Light670,616,629.001,276.57

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Additional Tabby's Star Facts and Figures

Visual Facts

Primary / Proper / Traditional NameTabby's Star
Alternative NamesKIC 8462852, WTF Star
Spectral TypeF3V
Constellation's Main StarNo
Multiple Star SystemNo / Unknown
Star Type Main Sequence Dwarf Star
ColourYellow - White
GalaxyMilky Way
Absolute Magnitude 3.74
Visual / Apparent Magnitude11.71
Naked Eye VisibleRequires a 4.5 - 6 Inch Telescope - Magnitudes
Right Ascension (R.A.) 20h 06m 15.457
Declination (Dec.)+44° 27` 24.61
Distance from Earth2.55500 Parallax (milliarcseconds)
 1276.57 Light Years
 391.39 Parsecs
 80,729,419.99 Astronomical Units
Proper Motion Dec.-10.50000 ± 2.40000 milliarcseconds/year
Proper Motion RA.-9.90000 ± 2.60000 milliarcseconds/year
B-V Index0.577

Companions (Multi-Star and Exoplanets) Facts

Exoplanet CountNone/Unaware

Estimated Calculated Facts

Radius (x the Sun)1.55
Effective Temperature6,750 Kelvin
Mass Compared to the Sun1.43

Location of Tabby's Star in Cygnus

Tabby's Star Location in Cygnus

The map was generated using Night Vision, an awesome free application by Brian Simpson.

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Comments and Questions

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