Where Random Happens

Starring KIC8462852

DR. FRISBEE: “Uh… distinguished assembly, alumni, and press. Oh, and my team, uh… hey gang.”

Murmuring silence.

DR. FRISBEE: “Ahem, this press announcement is in regards to star KIC8462852.

A few months ago it came to our attention that we at Harvard, being the only ones with the most thorough observations of Star KICK 84, as WE call it, and so the only ones who could best track the anomaly.”

Errant Voice: “…Tabby’s Star, stupid…”

DR. FRISBEE: “A-hem! Uh… *Sigh* Oh hell, I’m not going to beat around the bush here.

It’s an error.”

Pin drop silence.

DR. FRISBEE: “Beginning with uh… both of the independent Johnson B light curves… the uh. From the old 24 inch Bruce Doublet to various refractors and reflectors  through the years… the sterling high quality lenses we use between the light captured and our cameras this entire time have been Cooke Lenses.”

Forbidding silence.

DR. FRISBEE: “Outstanding glass, over a century of visionary conceptual continuity, as they say.”



DR. FRISBEE: (nervous drink of water) “… but Cooke lenses do have this… have a very slight coating … only them. Proprietary, patented technology. Makes them special, among the best  but ah…”

NASA REP.: “No! No! No! There’s no error you idiot! Both the by-eye and DASCH confirmed – ”

DR. FRISBEE: “Please! DASCH is just Digital Access to a Sky Century @ Harvard. So the flaw is back on us.”

NASA REP.: “Our Kepler space telescope tracked the dimming and dips!”

DR. FRISBEE: “That’s a separate matter. I’m here to talk about Harvard’s contribution, which, I’m deeply sorry to say, is worthless.

HARVARD PROVOST: “That’s not possible!”

DR. FRISBEE: “Strictly on this specific matter, of course!”

MSNBC: “But the alien megastructures!”

BOB’s BLOG: “Please shut up. Grown-ups are speaking.”

Arguments break out! Dr. Frisbee waves his hands in the air to disrupt the outbreak of pedesis collisions in the room.

DR. FRISBEE: “Please!”

Chaos Sierpinskis into a semblance of order.

Errant Voice: “…Tabby’s team…”

DR. FRISBEE: “Ahem! PLEASE!  It’s ah… whew!  It’s always the little things, you know? Cooke’s ever-so-slight, yet unique coating, combined with our own proprietary, specially manufactured film stock and silver grain formulation, we at Harvard used until 1998, combined again with the unusual but certainly not altogether singular properties of an F-type main sequence star like KIC8462852… well it all dovetailed to give us the error.”

NASA REP.: “But the irregular dips! A century of fading! A Century!”

DR. FRISBEE: “Cooke kept improving their lens and coatings and we kept improving the quality of our – cough!  – film. Again, dovetailed.”

NASA REP.: “No! The irregular dips!-”

DR. FRISBEE: “Atmospheric conditions.”

NASA REP.: “We ruled those out!”

DR. FRISBEE: “And we were wrong.”

NASA REP.: “But other observatories!”

DR. FRISBEE: “Built on our foundation.”

NASA REP.: “No! No! Our Keplar! And… and other F-type main sequence stars don’t – ”

DR. FRISBEE: ( Hand raised to stop the Rep. ) “We’ve checked, re-checked, re-re-checked, and verified independently. It’s a false reading.”

NASA REP.: “But we’ve already spent tens of billions on the de Dondi telescope! The entire project! The thing does nothing *but* track KICK 84! It’s halfway to Mars orbit, already!”

Errant Voice: “…Tabby’s Star, damn it…”

DR. FRISBEE: “It’s uh… heh. It’s kinda funny when you think about it? Kinda like a modern day Martian canals or Parkes Observatory and their microwave oven?”

Riotous Uproar!

DR. FRISBEE: “Uh! Uh! I think it’s vitally important, in spirited moments like this, to remember that my team and I just started work here last year, you know.”


Copyright 2016, E.C. McMullen Jr.

UPDATE: January, 2018
No Alien Megastructure: Star’s Weird Dimming Likely Caused by Dust

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