KIC 8462852: Will the Trojans return in 2021?
Ballesteros et al
KIC 8462852 stood out among more than 100,000 stars in the Kepler catalogue because of the strange features of its light curve: a wide and asymmetric dimming taking up to 15 per cent of the total light, together with a period of multiple, narrow dimmings happening approximately 700 days later. Several models have been proposed to account for this abnormal behaviour, most of which require either unlikely causes or a finely-tuned timing. We aim at offering a relatively natural solution, invoking only phenomena that have been previously observed, although perhaps in larger or more massive versions. We model the system using a large, ringed body whose transit produces the first dimming and a swarm of Trojan objects sharing its orbit that causes the second period of multiple dimmings. The resulting orbital period is T≈12 years, with a semi-major axis a≈6 au. Our model allows us to make two straightforward predictions: we expect the passage of a new swarm of Trojans in front of the star starting during the early months of 2021, and a new transit of the main object during the first half of 2023.