FAQs - Will the James Webb Telescope Unravel the Mystery of Tabby's star?

The image depicts a hypothetical irregular dust ring orbiting Tabby's Star, also known as Boyajian's Star or KIC 8462852  - Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is one of the most anticipated space observatories in history. With its advanced capabilities, it is expected to revolutionize our understanding of the universe, from the early stages of cosmic evolution to the detection of exoplanets and the study of their atmospheres. However, one of the most intriguing questions that scientists hope the JWST will be able to answer is the mystery surrounding Tabby's Star.
Tabby's Star, also known as KIC 8462852, is a star located about 1,470 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. It has puzzled scientists for years because of its strange and irregular light fluctuations, which are unlike anything observed in other stars. Some researchers have proposed various explanations for this behavior, including the presence of alien megastructures, a swarm of comets, or an uneven dust cloud.
So, the question arises, can the JWST finally provide answers to the Tabby Star enigma? The answer is not straightforward, but the new telescope's unique capabilities may offer some clues.
First and foremost, the JWST has a much larger mirror than its predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, which means it can capture images with greater detail and sensitivity. The telescope's ability to see through interstellar dust clouds and observe the infrared spectrum could enable it to study the dust and gas environment surrounding Tabby's Star in unprecedented detail.
Additionally, the JWST's spectroscopic instruments could provide insights into the star's composition and temperature. By analyzing the light spectrum emitted by Tabby's Star, scientists can determine which elements are present and how they are distributed, which could shed light on the star's peculiar behavior.
However, it's worth noting that the JWST's primary mission is not to solve the mystery of Tabby's Star specifically. Its mission is to study the universe's first galaxies, stars, and planetary systems, and investigate the properties of exoplanet atmospheres. Nonetheless, the telescope's unprecedented capabilities mean it may uncover new insights into the enigmatic behavior of Tabby's Star.
In conclusion, the JWST is a powerful scientific instrument that could help unravel the mystery of Tabby's Star. Although it may not be the telescope's primary focus, its advanced capabilities could provide valuable insights into this unusual star and further our understanding of the universe. As we eagerly await the launch of the JWST, scientists and enthusiasts alike look forward to the exciting discoveries it will make and the mysteries it will solve.