Scientists from the UK, Poland, and Chile observed the star with a telescope at the Chilean Observatory. They noticed that the star, which is 25 thousand light-years away and 100 times the size of the Sun, is losing its brightness.
It lost 97% of its brightness, almost disappeared from the sky, and then returned to its original brightness within 100 days. Scientists call such stars What is it, or WIT for short. The last object was named VVV-WIT-08.
Scientists say the star has probably lost its brightness because it was covered by dust near the orbit of a planet or a companion star. It is unclear when VVV-WIT-08 will fade again. Scientists believe that this will happen in the next 20-200 years.
This is not the first blinking star astronomers have found. Scientists have previously determined that the dust is causing the giant star Epsilon Aurigae to dim by 50% every 27 years. Another star, TYC 2505-672-1, loses brightness due to dust from a nearby star every 69 years.
Scientists say VVV-WIT-08 is different from other blinking stars in that it dims and returns to the original brightness over months, not years. The researchers hope that the discovery of new twinkling objects will allow them to determine the features of such stars.