There may be an ordinary explanation for this mysterious star

This illustration depicts dust orbiting Tabby's Star. Illustration: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Several theories surround what is known as the "most mysterious star in the universe" — one in the Milky Way that is slightly bigger than our Sun and whose sporadic dimming and brightening puzzles scientists.

New data, published Wednesday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, suggests the flickering is likely caused by a cloud of small dust particles — and not an alien megastructure orbiting the star, as some researchers hypothesized.