Tabetha Boyajian

Astronomer
Tabetha Boyajian is best known for her research on KIC 8462852, a puzzling celestial body that has inspired otherwise sober scientists to brainstorm outlandish hypotheses.

Why you should listen

Planet hunter Tabetha Boyajian studies KIC 8462852 (dubbed "Tabby's star" after her team's research): a star exhibiting bizarre (and thus far unique) variations in brightness. These fluctuations have led scientists to postulate causes ranging from comet dust (Boyajian's most likely scenario) to alien megastructures. The latest studies of Tabby's star have proved even more baffling: KIC 8462852 has been gradually dimming over the last century, a strikingly short period of time on an astronomical scale.

Boyajian currently serves as a postdoc with the Yale Exoplanet group, whose research is assisted by the Planet Hunters -- a citizen science group that combs data from the NASA Kepler Space Mission for evidence of exoplanets and other unusual interstellar activity.

Tabetha Boyajian’s TED talk

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Science

Did we just discover aliens? Scientists aren’t ruling it out

April 7, 2016

Aliens are not a thing. We know this, right? Well, maybe. Turns out that, almost despite themselves, some of the world’s leading astronomers are taking seriously the question of whether or not we are alone on Earth. Among them, Yale’s Tabetha Boyajian, who has stumbled into what might just be one of the biggest mysteries in the galaxy.

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