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   The North Star is 30 percent closer to Earth than we thought it was in the 1990s, which either means our observations are getting more precise, or in about 45 years we're in big trouble

08 Dec 2012 10:27 AM   |   7570 clicks   |   National Geographic
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nekom    [TotalFark]  
This is sort of surprising. I thought we had a pretty good grasp on things like that many decades ago.

08 Dec 2012 08:14 AM
I_C_Weener    [TotalFark]  
I'm not saying it was aliens....

08 Dec 2012 08:27 AM
stratagos     
EVERYONE PANIC!

08 Dec 2012 09:52 AM
stratagos     
Or, thanks Obama! You and your socialist policies have doomed us all!

08 Dec 2012 09:53 AM
Dead for Tax Reasons     
It's headed right for us!

08 Dec 2012 09:55 AM
Baji     
We're already dead!

4.bp.blogspot.comView Full Size

08 Dec 2012 10:38 AM
sgnilward    [TotalFark]  
Cool.

I just thought something this relatively close, 300 ly, could be resolved just through simple means like parallax though.

08 Dec 2012 10:40 AM
YouSaidWhat     
i1171.photobucket.comView Full Size

08 Dec 2012 10:41 AM
Jon iz teh kewl     

Dead for Tax Reasons: It's headed right for us!


i'm fairly sure that it's actually red shifted

08 Dec 2012 10:42 AM
TheGreatGazoo     
It is hard to measure something coming towards us faster than the speed of light.

08 Dec 2012 10:44 AM
luthia     
"..an astronomer at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia."

I wouldn't put too much faith in this guys.

/Robie Street High

08 Dec 2012 10:45 AM
rocinante721     
Klytus, I'm bored ...

08 Dec 2012 10:46 AM
BitwiseShift     
In unrelated news, the Rolling Stones re-release 1400 Light Years From Home

08 Dec 2012 10:48 AM
talkertopc     

Dead for Tax Reasons: It's headed right for us!


Quick, get in the car.

08 Dec 2012 10:49 AM
snocone    [TotalFark]  
WTF, I thought we had a consensus.

/makes you wonder about any "scientific" concensus, eh?
//especially those declared by lay fools

08 Dec 2012 10:50 AM
Jon iz teh kewl     

TheGreatGazoo: It is hard to measure something coming towards us faster than the speed of light.


ITS COMIN RIGHT FOR US!!

08 Dec 2012 10:50 AM
PvtHike     
Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.

08 Dec 2012 10:51 AM
Nick Nostril     
img87.imageshack.usView Full Size

08 Dec 2012 10:53 AM
stuffy     
meganandtimmy.comView Full Size

08 Dec 2012 10:54 AM
ZAZ    [TotalFark]  
I just thought something this relatively close, 300 ly, could be resolved just through simple means like parallax though.

The Hipparcos satellite did that. The new result contradicts older parallax measurements.

08 Dec 2012 10:56 AM
enemy of the state     

nekom: This is sort of surprising. I thought we had a pretty good grasp on things like that many decades ago.


As an astronomer, I can say that the distance measurements from the Hipparchos satellite were significantly different from many thousands of others calculated by other, pretty solid, methods. My guess is that there was something fundamentally flawed with Hipparchos, exactly what, I have no idea, but it could be alot of things.

It wouldn't be the first time the European Space Agency put a piece of crap into orbit (the ISO observatory satellite was a good example of a billion dollar satellite that was a complete piece of junk. I wasted months trying to make even a tiny bit of sense from the data. It should have produced 30,000 publications, it produced less than a tenth of that).

I think all this article is saying is that the Hipparchos measurements of distances to stars are garbage.

08 Dec 2012 10:58 AM
enemy of the state     

enemy of the state: nekom: This is sort of surprising. I thought we had a pretty good grasp on things like that many decades ago.

As an astronomer, I can say that the distance measurements from the Hipparchos satellite were significantly different from many thousands of others calculated by other, pretty solid, methods. My guess is that there was something fundamentally flawed with Hipparchos, exactly what, I have no idea, but it could be alot of things.

It wouldn't be the first time the European Space Agency put a piece of crap into orbit (the ISO observatory satellite was a good example of a billion dollar satellite that was a complete piece of junk. I wasted months trying to make even a tiny bit of sense from the data. It should have produced 30,000 publications, it produced less than a tenth of that).

I think all this article is saying is that the Hipparchos measurements of distances to stars are garbage.


I should add that to say the measurements of Hipparchos being "generally accepted" is bullshiat.

08 Dec 2012 11:00 AM
BigSnatch    [TotalFark]  

08 Dec 2012 11:01 AM
HairBolus     
The easy way to measure the distance to somewhat nearby stars is with parallax - how the apparent position of a star in the sky changes at different positions in the Earth's orbit. This type of measurement gives the distance unit parsec (sometimes said to stand for "parallel arc second") ≈ 3.26 light years. Modern telescopes can measure the distance to some objects up to 1000 parsecs (3260 light years) away.

The problem with Polaris is that it is near directly above the plane of the Earth's orbit which means it's apparent position changes very little.

08 Dec 2012 11:03 AM
p the boiler     
Does this mean God is getting closer to us?

08 Dec 2012 11:04 AM
Jon iz teh kewl     

ZAZ: I just thought something this relatively close, 300 ly, could be resolved just through simple means like parallax though.

The Hipparcos satellite did that. The new result contradicts older parallax measurements.


upload.wikimedia.orgView Full Size
 


it's a parallax you dig?

08 Dec 2012 11:05 AM
abhorrent1     
api.ning.comView Full Size

08 Dec 2012 11:06 AM
TheOther     
This is polarizing.

08 Dec 2012 11:08 AM
Jon iz teh kewl     

abhorrent1: [api.ning.com image 483x555]


God = Newton's second law?
how gay

so god is your word for everything that's always there
so you'll always be right with the lawd

gayeth be teh lord

08 Dec 2012 11:08 AM
oryx     
111 light years in about 20 years. That's movin'.

08 Dec 2012 11:11 AM
TheOther     
oryx: 111 light years in about 20 years. That's movin'.

Somebody just found the 'Zoom' button on their camera.

08 Dec 2012 11:14 AM
abhorrent1     

Jon iz teh kewl: abhorrent1: [api.ning.com image 483x555]

God = Newton's second law?
how gay

so god is your word for everything that's always there
so you'll always be right with the lawd

gayeth be teh lord


I don't know. I just think it's funny.

/i guess
//whatever

08 Dec 2012 11:15 AM
ElLoco     

oryx: 111 light years in about 20 years. That's movin'.


Since time and space are relative. Like humidity.

08 Dec 2012 11:16 AM
thisiszombocom     
img.phombo.comView Full Size

08 Dec 2012 11:20 AM
Jon iz teh kewl     

abhorrent1: Jon iz teh kewl: abhorrent1: [api.ning.com image 483x555]

God = Newton's second law?
how gay

so god is your word for everything that's always there
so you'll always be right with the lawd

gayeth be teh lord

I don't know. I just think it's funny.

/i guess
//whatever


praise Jebus he know what he coin

www.vizzed.comView Full Size

08 Dec 2012 11:22 AM
BumpInTheNight     
media.tumblr.comView Full Size

Peter North, Star.

08 Dec 2012 11:27 AM
Nakito     
And here I was thinking that "pole star" meant something else entirely. My bad.

08 Dec 2012 11:30 AM
Marcintosh     

abhorrent1: [api.ning.com image 483x555]


beautiful, just beautiful Brought a tear to my eye.

08 Dec 2012 11:30 AM
Mixolydian Master     

sgnilward: Cool.

I just thought something this relatively close, 300 ly, could be resolved just through simple means like parallax though.


I'm no astronomer or mathematician, but considering the North Star is pretty fixed in the sky, parallax would be difficult to do. I could be dead wrong on this, but that is my dime store logic on it.

08 Dec 2012 11:38 AM
jack21221     

Mixolydian Master: I'm no astronomer or mathematician, but considering the North Star is pretty fixed in the sky, parallax would be difficult to do. I could be dead wrong on this, but that is my dime store logic on it.


This is incorrect. It would still undergo parallax, and I do not see how you figure it wouldn't. You're looking at a close object against very distant objects, it really doesn't matter which direction from Earth you're looking. I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what parallax is.

08 Dec 2012 11:48 AM
The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves     
I read in the article that the North Star is celestial bacon.

08 Dec 2012 12:03 PM
Lutwidge     
cdn.static.ovimg.comView Full Size


On the case

08 Dec 2012 12:05 PM
tuckeg     

enemy of the state: nekom: This is sort of surprising. I thought we had a pretty good grasp on things like that many decades ago.

As an astronomer, I can say that the distance measurements from the Hipparchos satellite were significantly different from many thousands of others calculated by other, pretty solid, methods. My guess is that there was something fundamentally flawed with Hipparchos, exactly what, I have no idea, but it could be alot of things.

It wouldn't be the first time the European Space Agency put a piece of crap into orbit (the ISO observatory satellite was a good example of a billion dollar satellite that was a complete piece of junk. I wasted months trying to make even a tiny bit of sense from the data. It should have produced 30,000 publications, it produced less than a tenth of that).

I think all this article is saying is that the Hipparchos measurements of distances to stars are garbage.


My sentiments exactly. When I discussed the Hipparchos measurements in my astronomy courses, I warned the students to be very suspicious of them.

08 Dec 2012 12:09 PM
Zoidfarb     
imgs.xkcd.comView Full Size

08 Dec 2012 12:16 PM
WelldeadLink     

Mixolydian Master: I'm no astronomer or mathematician, but considering the North Star is pretty fixed in the sky, parallax would be difficult to do. I could be dead wrong on this, but that is my dime store logic on it.


The Earth still moves side to side in its orbit. The movement being used are wiggles of 98 million miles times two, not the 12-hour half-rotation of the Earth around its axis. Actually, the distances are more complex due to the Solar System's overall movement, but if Polaris has a similar movement then that is not as important.

08 Dec 2012 12:19 PM
Morgellons     

jack21221: Mixolydian Master: I'm no astronomer or mathematician, but considering the North Star is pretty fixed in the sky, parallax would be difficult to do. I could be dead wrong on this, but that is my dime store logic on it.

This is incorrect. It would still undergo parallax, and I do not see how you figure it wouldn't. You're looking at a close object against very distant objects, it really doesn't matter which direction from Earth you're looking. I think you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what parallax is.


He did say he was neither astronomer nor mathematician. Judging by his handle, I'd say it was music that's his...

[puts on sunglasses]... Forte

08 Dec 2012 12:42 PM
DECMATH     

Mixolydian Master: considering the North Star is pretty fixed in the sky, parallax would be difficult to do. I could be dead wrong on this


The North Star is only "fixed" for naked-eye rough navigation purposes. It actually moves quite a bit in the sky, only less than other visible stars. Like all stars, it has further-away background stars and galaxies behind it that are therefore more "fixed", and that show up in telescope photographs, so a parallax measurement can be made.

08 Dec 2012 12:52 PM
Mole Man     
moarpowah.comView Full Size


Hello.

/link hotter than a suit exploding in issue 12.

08 Dec 2012 01:09 PM
The Sybarite     
I think the first video ad is the real story. Someone slipped one past an editor. "Nut busting Monkeys". Yeah, monkeys busting a nut...

08 Dec 2012 02:15 PM
rico567     

nekom: This is sort of surprising. I thought we had a pretty good grasp on things like that many decades ago.


Yes- and it ought to provide a cautionary tale for many of those who tout current scientific theory as some sort of Scripture.

08 Dec 2012 02:17 PM
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