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's ethnic minority cultures and various modern elements.

A pyrotechnic display of numbers for the countdown from 29 — to indicate the 29th Olympiad — ushered in the Closing Ceremony at p.m.

A touching moment during the evening celebration came when 12 representatives of Olympic received recognition for the work that they and over a million others like them had done to help athletes, officials, reporters, spectators and visitors during the Games in Beijing and the six co-host cities.

The volunteers were presented with flowers by the newest elected members of the IOC's Athletes' Commission.

Last week I mentioned that I wanted to get into Massimo Marengo’s new paper on KIC 8462852, the interesting star that, when studied by the Kepler instrument, revealed an intriguing light curve.

I’ve written this object up numerous times now, so if you’re coming into the discussion for the first time, plug KIC 8462852 into the archive search engine to get up to speed.

Marengo (Iowa State) is himself well represented in the archives.

In fact, I began writing about him back in 2005, when he was working on planetary companions to Epsilon Eridani.

In the new paper, Marengo moves the ball forward in our quest to understand why the star I’ll abbreviate as KIC 8462 poses such problems.

The F3-class star doesn’t give us the infrared signature we’d expect from a debris disk, yet the light curves we see suggest objects of various sizes (and shapes) transiting across its surface.

What we lacked from Tabetha Boyajian’s earlier paper (and it was Boyajian, working with the Planet Hunters group, that brought KIC 8462 to our attention) was data about infrared wavelengths after the WISE mission finished its work.

That was a significant omission, because the WISE data on the star were taken in 2010, while the first events Kepler flagged at KIC 8462 occurred in March of 2011, with a long series of events beginning in February of 2013 and lasting sixty days.

That gave us a small window in which something could have happened — the idea of a planetary catastrophe comes to mind, perhaps even a collision between two planets, or a planet and large asteroid. We learn that the Spitzer photometry from its Infrared Array Camera (IRAC) finds no strong infrared excess — no significant amount of circumstellar dust can be detected two years after the 2013 dimming event at KIC 8462.