You sit there coarsely oscillating,
Calling to us through the ether
Beneath a blanket of stars.
You swim against the tide,
Pass a tent of clouds,
And come to rest.
This is a nonet inspired by recent research, which investigated the peculiar behaviour of the KIC 8462852 star in the Cygnus constellation. This star first came to prominence in 2015, when astronomers noticed that it underwent a series of dimming events that were both short in time and non-periodic in their occurrence. Suggestions for why these events occurred ranged from a large group of comets orbiting the star and blocking out the incoming starlight to a giant alien megastructure passing across the star’s surface!
Rather this solving this mystery, this new research has found another conundrum associated with KIC 8462852: it is getting dimmer. Over the three-year period that the researchers observed the star using NASA’s Kepler space telescope, they found that its brightness diminished by 3%, which given that the average lifetime of a star in our galaxy is approximately 50 billion years, is an incredibly large amount. The researchers are unsure as to what has caused this dimming event, as no currently known phenomena can explain such results.
This poem was also written in honour of National Poetry Day in the UK, whose theme for 2016 is Messages.
An audio version of the poem can be heard here.