Based on the observations provided by the Kepler telescope, the astronomers suggest that the planet has an orbital period of 12 years, which means this hypothesis can be tested in the early months of 2021. If they are correct, the preceding Trojan swarm should come into view then. But by using different techniques, it might possible to test this model already in 2020.
The researchers also have an explanation for the changes the Tabby Star has experienced recently, a dimming of about 3 percent.
"In our model, the recent dip is just the secondary eclipse, that is, the occultation of the planet by the star," Ballesteros added. "In fact, one of our predictions was the intensity and timing of the secondary eclipse. We expected it for the first half of this year, dimming about 3-4 percent of the starlight."
The dip from last week made the team decide to share their model, and they hope that this will spur more people into keeping a close eye on KIC 8462852, although they don't expect any big change for a few years.
"Possibly the most interesting feature of our model is that it makes simple predictions," Ballesteros stated. "We expect the recent dimming to be a single, small, isolated event – and then everything to be quiet until all hell breaks loose on Tabby´s Star again in the first half of 2021!"