CNN Selects “Tabby’s Star” as One of the Top Space Stories of 2018

Tabetha Boyajian

“Tabby’s Star,” or KIC 8462852, is named for LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Assistant Professor Tabetha Boyajian.

Photo: LSU Strategic Communivations

BATON ROUGE – CNN has selected its list of the “Top Space Stories of 2018,” and included is “Tabby’s Star,” which is named for LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy Assistant Professor Tabetha Boyajian.

Boyajian is the only woman to have a star named after her. “Tabby’s Star,” or KIC 8462852, is a star that has unique variations in brightness. With help from the citizen scientist group Planet Hunters, she and her colleagues are conducting research on this perplexing star.

In the CNN article Boyajian said, “Dust is most likely the reason why the star’s light appears to dim and brighten. The new data shows that different colors of light are being blocked at different intensities. Therefore, whatever is passing between us and the star is not opaque, as would be expected from a planet or alien megastructure.”

While there was some speculation that the star could be flickering because it is an alien megastructure, that theory was debunked in the data released earlier this year.

“This is definitely something new and exciting. Even if it is dust, what kind of dust does this?” Boyajian said.

Boyajian’s research interests includes fundamental properties of stars: diameters, temperatures, exoplanet detection and characterization, Optical/IR interferometry, stellar spectroscopy (radial velocities, abundances, activity), absolute spectrophotometry, binary stars, astrometry, stellar ages and evolution, stellar activity and rotation, and asteroseismology.

For more information on the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy, visit



LSU Featured Tiger, Tabetha Boyajian discusses “Tabby’s Star”  




Contact Mimi LaValle
LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy




Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations