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How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years?

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the late-night-slide-show dept.

Space 69

astroengine writes "The stars are not static points in the sky; they move over time. That means the constellations are shifting too. With the help of NASA astronomer Robert Hurt, five famous constellations are visualized 50,000 years in the future."

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Anonymous Coward (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768814)

FIRST POST!!

That's pretty cool (5, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768824)

In 50,000 years, humans will probably not even be on Earth anymore. Either we will have annihilated ourselves, or we will have migrated to other worlds. In 6,000 years we have gone from the dawn of history to a worldwide information network and space travel. In 9 times that time, we should be much further along!

What would those constellations look like from our new homes near other star systems?

Re:That's pretty cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768866)

You'll never know, since you're probably against life extension research. Strange how people who want unlimited space are happy with 20 years of useful life span.

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768910)

You'll never know, since you're probably against life extension research.

Why do you think that?

Re:That's pretty cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33769794)

You'd be surprised. There are people who have no problem thinking the entire universe is a giant resource waiting to be gobbled up and colonized by us; but mention life extension and they flip out about how selfish that is. Read that again to savor it.

Re:That's pretty cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768990)

20 years? I think most of the world would argue the useful life span is a bit more than that.

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769064)

I'm dissapointed, the anology with 6k years looks not bad enough for a lot of people to agree (well, we all want to think that way...)

Though OTOH "since the daughter of my buddy has made tremendous progress in language during the first few short years of her life, in a few decaddes she should be able to communicate in any semi-popular language" (for example) is a bit too obvious giveaway.

Re:That's pretty cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33769184)

I'm dissapointed, the anology with 6k years looks not bad enough for a lot of people to agree (well, we all want to think that way...)

Though OTOH "since the daughter of my buddy has made tremendous progress in language during the first few short years of her life, in a few decaddes she should be able to communicate in any semi-popular language" (for example) is a bit too obvious giveaway.

How could you possibly be disappointed at BadAnalogyGuy's analogy?

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769212)

Duh - it isn't obviously bad enough at the first glance.

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769298)

Though OTOH "since the daughter of my buddy has made tremendous progress in language during the first few short years of her life, in a few decaddes she should be able to communicate in any semi-popular language" (for example) is a bit too obvious giveaway.

Try this: since my daughter has made tremendous progress in learning during the first few short years of her life, in a few decades she should be able to work in a profession.

Perhaps she will become a linguist, so she will be able to communicate in many languages, perhaps she will study some other profession. Adding up all the children on earth, in the next twenty years all professions will be performed among them.

To compare the progress of all humanity in 6000 years with the expected progress over the next 50000 years is OK, at least it's much better than to compare the progress of one person with the progress of all humanity.

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769368)

But that wasn't the premise, it was about "we probably won't even be here anymore" - and while, sure, the progress is nice...some fundamental things stay strangely similar (which might not be the case anymore quite soon, sure; or we might be nearing some another long-lasting equlibrium state, similar to the one of our civilisation from 50k years ago; whatever). We should spread to few other areas, among them possibly Oort cloud - which should also present some people with opportunities of hitching a ride on a gravitionally disturbed comet captured by some passing star; we might even send directly some embryo colonisation ships to nearby systems (just the ways in which I imagine it). We might have few helluva big cataclysms here on Earth, too; almost ending the civilisation as we know it.

However...remember you are a member of a specie which survived population bottlenecks of mere thousands of individuals. And despite spreading to large part of the planet, our cradle is still heavily populated. However I sometimes like to laugh at the possibility of us destabilising the system which we are part of to the point of realising the Medea Hypothesis - it is quite exceedingly unlikely; we aren't dissapearing anywhere.

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

jesset77 (759149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33772906)

But that wasn't the premise, it was about "we probably won't even be here anymore"

OP might have meant "we probably won't even be here exclusively anymore". The sentiment that a 2 dimensional constellation of three dimensional stars is colloquial to a fixed star system is not heavily influenced by whether or not we continue to inhabit the original system.

For example, we have a complicated rock formation on the horizon from the house where I grew up called Smith Rocks. From the angle of my house, the entire formation looks like a rhino. It was quite nice as a kid to have this Rhino chilling on the horizon. But I could never see the Rhino when we traveled just a few miles to other places. It turns out because Smith Rock covers a good portion of a square mile of land, and parallax kills the effect from any other 3d angle. Even traveling in a straight line to the site causes features such as the rhino horn to vanish behind the nearer features.

Now I've grown up and moved a few miles away, and I've climbed smith rocks and travel very close to it regularly. I still visit my Grandmother at the house where I was raised often, but never so much see a Rhino anymore now that I am more familiar with the three dimensional structure of the site. I now see it as a proper 3d structure from a particular angle.

The fun part it turns out is that Smith Rocks harbors a smaller feature called "Monkey Face" which does resemble the face of a primate from every angle. :D So perhaps our future generations will work out 3 dimensional constellations to fuel their imaginations, and recognize them from odd angles? 3d constellations would not tear apart as quickly as 2d constellations do as apparent motion of nearby objects is hyperbolic while actual relative motion of any object is linear.

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33773668)

Well, otoh one of two scenarios leading to what he meant was "we will wipe ourselves out" (and my overall point about how extrapolating progress like that has...issues)

And generally - do people even care about constellations all that much? (they sure don't care about how almost all the stars basically dissapeared behind light pollution) How many people care about your rhino, or even "objective" monkey face for that matter? ;)

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

jesset77 (759149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33773970)

Well, otoh one of two scenarios leading to what he meant was "we will wipe ourselves out" (and my overall point about how extrapolating progress like that has...issues)

Meh, plenty of people have worried about nuclear annihilation in the past. It is pretty well understood that a complete nuclear offensive would if not extinguish the human race, at least ravage the human population and set back civilization a century or more, not to mention ruining the continuity of what we see as history. We would probably arise from the ashes, but I don't think we would arise as the same people we were when we fell.

Then there is asteroid impact. Yeah, asteroids don't have to be too big before even bacteria are toasted. The universe is pretty much a huge russian roulette wheel for processes as awkward as our biosphere, so unless this flame spreads it will inevitably falter for one reason or another.

And generally - do people even care about constellations all that much? (they sure don't care about how almost all the stars basically dissapeared behind light pollution)

Meh, sheeple don't care about light pollution obscuring the stars or heavy metal pollution fouling the water. We used to use constellations as navigational aids. All you needed was a clear view of the night sky and you could find your bearings. Now we rely on GPS, where you still need a clear view of the sky and.. what are the fleets of GPS satellites called again?

How many people care about your rhino, or even "objective" monkey face for that matter? ;)

Rhino, just me. If any of my friends lived in the viewing area (less than half a mile away, for example) then they may have done as well.

Monkey Face [google.com] , I dunno. Google shows a quarter million hits though. ;P

Re:That's pretty cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33769244)

In 50,000 years, humans will probably not even be on Earth anymore.

I bet $100 that you are wrong!
Unless someone manages to follow one of the guides on How to destroy the Earth [qntm.org] then I suspect that there will be humans in some form around here in well over 100,000 years to come.

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

sco08y (615665) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769598)

In 50,000 years, humans will probably not even be on Earth anymore.

At the very least I'd hope there aren't any more insipid horoscopes being published.

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769866)

Don't worry, I'm sure humans will still be destroying the planet and its inhabitants for many years to come! Well, if they somehow manage to avoid killing themselves with their shortsightedness about future consequences and pointless, idiotic wars.

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

Kvasio (127200) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769926)

In 6,000 years we have gone from the dawn of history to a worldwide information network and space travel.

you've just made Star Wars fans very upset. Space travel was far superior to what NASA does - and it was long, long ago

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 3 years ago | (#33772072)

Analogies... The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Slashdot BAGerprise. Its five year mission: to explore strange new concepts, to seek out new interelationships and new inferences; to boldly go where no mind has gone before.

[Klingons are car analogies]

Re:That's pretty cool (1)

Dabido (802599) | more than 3 years ago | (#33774636)

In 6,000 years we have gone from the dawn of history to a worldwide information network and space travel.

10,000 years if we include Chinese written texts. (Not sure about Indian history, but I assume it might be about 10,000 years old too).

In 9 times that time, we should be much further along!

What would those constellations look like from our new homes near other star systems?

Google Space/Streetview will tell us! :-)

Re:That's pretty cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33799976)

Or perhaps something from Pandorum [imdb.com] Where we did migrate, but didn't progress in technology.

We could also quite possibly revert in tech with a near annihilation event, killing all scientists and leaving a small state of Idiocracy [imdb.com] .

How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years? (4, Insightful)

pthisis (27352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768842)

The conclusion is: not very much. The little dipper will become sort of triangular instead of rectangular. The Big Dipper and Orion will be mostly unchanged as far as anyone cares (Orion's shield will warp, but the belt--which is the only thing most people look at--will remain identical), and the only other changes discussed are to incredibly ancillary constellations like Hydra.

OTOH, there's absolutely zero discussion of a few of the stars most people have heard of and care about or any of the widely recognizable constellations outside of the big/little dippers. Will Polaris still be the North Star, or will it be replaced? Cassiopeia's Chair has famously become more and more W shaped--what will it look like as time passes? Will the Southern Cross--the flag of Australia, New Zealand, and several other southern hemisphere countries--remain the same?

Focusing on one small star in Taurus drifting slightly? Really?

Re:How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768876)

If nothing else, the earth wobbles on it's axis every 14,000 years (I think that is the number). Polaris certainly won't be due north then.

Re:How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768900)

It goes once around in about 26000 years [wikipedia.org] so 13000 years would be be maximum displacement of Polaris from North, but its proper motion across the sky will move Polaris away by the time the pole returns anyway.

Re:How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33768908)

You think in 50K years you'll learn the difference between its and it's? Think that somehow it's = it is will start to sink in?

Re:How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years (1)

pthisis (27352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768914)

Yep. The north star changes identity fairly frequently--that's part of why I put that in there.

It just seems really odd for an article on this topic to omit discussions of many real changes in stars and constellations that people actually know about while dedicating time to a slight deformation of the Big Dipper (which at least is near the top of known constellations, but apparently isn't changing much) along with discourses on Hydra and one little star in Taurus drifting.

Re:How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years (1)

Xiph (723935) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769190)

what bothers me even more, is that the now picture for the little dipper, isn't even remotely near how it looks outside my window.
also she writes it won't be a dipper, which is wrong, it's just that two of the stars change roles.

Re:How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33770466)

The north star changes because our Earth-based coordinate system drifts over time. TFA is discussing real changes due to star motion.

Re:How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33769328)

The Big Dipper and Orion will be mostly unchanged as far as anyone cares (Orion's shield will warp, but the belt--which is the only thing most people look at--will remain identical)

Betelgeuse might go nova.

Re:How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years (1)

VitaminB52 (550802) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769702)

Betelgeuse will most likely go supernova within 5000 years, it's a red super giant at the end of it's life.

Re:How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769984)

Will Polaris still be the North Star, or will it be replaced?

Polaris will no longer be the North Star, but that will be more because of the precession of Earth's rotation axis than because of any movements on Polaris' part.

Stellarium (5, Informative)

NeoMantas (1538061) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768880)

Just run Stellarium [stellarium.org] and set the date 50K ahead and you will have your answers.

Re:Stellarium (1)

HybridST (894157) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768936)

Just run Stellarium and set the date 50K ahead and you will have your answers.

Brings back memories of exploring with Galileo [atarimagazines.com] Good times in my youthful pursuit of knowledge and geekery!

... and Celestia (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33769000)

And if someone wants to know what the constellations look like from 5k light years away today (or in 50k years), please run Celestia (http://www.shatters.net/celestia/)

Bonus -- modpacks allow real time simulation of spacecraft from Star Wreck to Blake's 7 and from Red Dwarf via Battlestar Galactica to Star Wars.

Everyone's chance to make the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs.

Re:Stellarium (1)

drdrgivemethenews (1525877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769496)

Great tip. Thanks!

Re:Stellarium (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 3 years ago | (#33770498)

You're welcome.

Just don't go using your where-will-the-stars-be-long-after-I'm-dead predictor more than once a day ;)

Re:Stellarium (1)

martinux (1742570) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769812)

Sorry I don't have any karma to give to you.

It's an amazing program which anyone with an interest in astronomy should have. You can also determine when amazing astronomic events will take place. For instance, if one looks up at the western sky from the UK on September 9th 2040, one might see this: http://bit.ly/bfEDKj [bit.ly]

Makes me wonder about ancient times (2, Interesting)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768932)

Not so much what the constellations looked like, when they were first dreamed up, but more what the fuck they were smoking?

I can't draw stick figures (even XKCD), and yet I can easily tell that none of the constellations look like what they're supposed to.

Re:Makes me wonder about ancient times (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768968)

Maybe part of the reason is that we hardly ever see the constellations with a perfectly dark sky, and with clean air. Even away from cities now the air will be somewhat more polluted, and satellites litter the sky, though these effects should be fairly minor.

Another more subtle factor is that people today have a lot more to occupy their minds. The latest catastrophe in Pakistan; football results from across the world; 24 hour news, all that stuff which fills our heads with dubious information. Ancient people weren't told what to think as much, so their imaginations had free reign.

And now the tired old man bit: will our civilisation end when the next generation is self absorbed to the point where they have lost the ability to invent? Is this what happened to Rome and ancient Greece?

Re:Makes me wonder about ancient times (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769092)

Is this what happened to Rome and ancient Greece?

First of all, you forgot to tell the kids to stay off your lawn.

Second, all empires grow until the amount of loot they get from the conquered equals the treasure they have to spend to take it. At that point, there is a delicate balance and it just takes a bit of corruption or a few bad economic years to make things bad enough in the hinterlands to start a barbarian revolt - which raises the cost of maintenance which... a death spiral from which the empire usually doesn't emerge (they could, if they would just cut their losses and accept a slightly lower standard of living. That worked about as well back then as it does today). And, in the end, the barbarians invade and sack the center.

Ultimately, it was the unsustainable economics of empire and invasion that killed the Greek and Roman empires, not lack of inspiration (but, of course, there's precious little time for the latter when you're using all your resources trying to hold off a marauding barbarian hoard).

Re:Makes me wonder about ancient times (2, Interesting)

ladoga (931420) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769742)

You could also say that the empire shifted it's capital to Konstantinopolis, which was a central trade hub and easily defendable. Meanwhile the city of Rome became increasingly irrelevant and was lost to germanic tribes in 410 and 472AD. It was captured back by the Roman Empire, which later in medieval times the Pope (previously one of bishops of orthodox christian church)and his western vassals began to call Byzantine or Greek empire due to propaganda reasons. Interestingly it was the Pope who ruled the city of Rome after the Empire finally lost it to Lombards in 751 AD.

The empire that was centered in Konstantinopolis was ruled by emperors in direct succession to the ancient Roman emperors and the name of the state remained Imperium Romanum until it's very end in 1461 (fall of Trebizond). Their neighbors called them Romans as well (Rom, in turkish and so forth). Greek had been de facto language of the eastern part of the Roman empire during its whole existence so it's not suprising that use of latin lessened in administrative tasks during the centuries as the western parts of the empire were lost. This ofcourse gave good fuel to papal propaganda of "Greek empire".

It wasn't the barbarians, but the Crusaders who by sacking Constantinople during the 4th Crusade, dealt the Roman Empire the blow from which it never recovered. Constantinople finally fell to Turks in 1453.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_empire [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Crusade [wikipedia.org]

When it comes to Greek civilization and culture, it's still alive and kicking. So don't call it dead yet.

Re:Makes me wonder about ancient times (1)

drdrgivemethenews (1525877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769506)

When Xerxes tells you to come up with a star map, you do it. If you're clever, you come up with one that's pleasing to him, but only you can read.

Re:Makes me wonder about ancient times (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 3 years ago | (#33772190)

They had better stuff to smoke in recent centuries, when a lot of the southern constellations were named.

Does this look like a telescope to you? [wikipedia.org] Orion smokes constellations like that.

this is important! (2, Funny)

martas (1439879) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768958)

It'll come in handy when we try to use the stargate...

So what happens to astrologers? (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33768994)

Will people be born under the sign of *broken* snake, etc? ;-)

Re:So what happens to astrologers? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769822)

Since astrologers don't care about the fact that the sun isn't actually in the signs they claim it in, why should they care if those constellations aren't recognizable any more?

Born to early (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769016)

I just did my horoscope with that information and clearly I was born to early, because instead of the rather bland 'Something is on your mind. See that the matter is solved.' it was 'You are the Ruler of the Universe.'.

Re:Born to early (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769276)

How is she? I remember early being quite, um, "accomodating" all those years ago.

Re:Born to early (1)

TDyl (862130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769288)

Damn, dropped an "m", I'll blame it on a sticky keyboard.

Re:Born to early (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769760)

I just did my horoscope with that information and clearly I was born to early, because instead of the rather bland 'Something is on your mind. See that the matter is solved.' it was 'You are the Ruler of the Universe.'.

You misunderstand: In those 50.000 years, also the meaning of language changed. At that time, "ruler" means something like "biggest fool" ...

I'll have to update my telescope's GoTo system (3, Funny)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769036)

RS232 support should still be around even if humanity goes extinct.

Re:I'll have to update my telescope's GoTo system (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769762)

yes it will, but you better have packed in a time capsule

1. a copy of windows with hyperterminal, or unixy OS with cu or tip
2. your magic HP null modem cable that works on all routers, switches and system management boards,

or you're going to be fucked

Re:I'll have to update my telescope's GoTo system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33774294)

2. your magic HP null modem cable that works on all routers, switches and system management boards...

In my day, we make our own null cables, no matter how complex the modifications. (Mostly for DOOM LAN parties, but sometimes for other purposes.)

Now get off my LAN!

Re:I'll have to update my telescope's GoTo system (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#33790950)

hah, you're a kid...DOOM was introduced in early 90s. Your cable pinouts were probably good on PC RS232C-only. The cable of which I speak was mid 80s thing.

I was playing Adventure with friends ported to a certain national laboratory's CDC Cyber cluster 15 years before your LAN parties.

now get your trike out of my tulip garden, you little punk!

Re:I'll have to update my telescope's GoTo system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33779726)

I'm sure the cockroaches will invent a replacement. Even they know that some things aren't meant to last forever.

All the constellations will look the same by then (4, Insightful)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769238)

Considering the growth of light pollution, the easiest way to visualize what constellations will look like in 50k years is to picture a giant purple sky that's slightly pinkish at the horizons.

Betelguese (4, Interesting)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769252)

A more interesting change to Orion would be Betelguese going supernova [wikipedia.org] (and that event becoming visible on Earth) in the next 50,000 years.

Betelgeuse is already old for its size class and will explode relatively soon compared to its age. At the current distance of Betelgeuse from the Earth, such a supernova explosion would be the brightest recorded; outshining the Moon in the night sky and becoming easily visible in broad daylight.

But will the stars be Right during the next 50K y? (2, Interesting)

tommituura (1346233) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769380)

I sure hope someone could tell me if these findings tell us if the stars will be right during the next 50k years... It would make me at ease knowing how much time we have left before the great old ones... unless, of course, they are coming soon. Even then, I'd like to have the information so I could make preparations (namely, leave this world.)

Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33769388)

I plan to be dead then. Why should I care?

Carl Sagan did it fist (2, Informative)

zoom-ping (905112) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769400)

From 3:10 [youtube.com]

Re:Carl Sagan did it fist (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#33769954)

Nah, he's no higher than around maybe 10th or 1,000th. I remember seeing diagrams of how the constellations would be changed as early as the mid 70's.

Two Dimensions, One Viewpoint (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 3 years ago | (#33770234)

"From The Earth" is rather prosaic when you compare it to 3 dimensions. Look at any constellation from the side. The distances are usually much greater than the apparent angular separation as seen from Earth. It makes it quite obvious that 'constellation' is as synonymous with 'illusion' as it is with anything else. But from the side you can see that some groupings hold, such as the majority of Taurus. Most of it is an open cluster, so of course things won't change much in 50K years, the members are moving together through the sky on parallel paths. And it's the cluster that's moving more than the local stars, so the one "moving" in these pictures is really just getting passed by.

Earth's (Sol's) location as it moves affects these, but not as much as its position over a much longer time scale, like 250M years. In that time you can see the milky way wash up and down the sky a few times, like a huge wave. Seen from outside the galaxy, it's obvious why. The sun and the local group of stars in traveling around the galactic center, but the orbit swings back and forth through the galactic plane two and a half times as it oscillates it way around the center. We'll lose almost all the constellations at the peaks because we'll be outside the populated arms.

All this makes 50K years from one viewpoint rather humdrum. It also suggests an answer to one of the SETI questions, why aren't they here. If technical and traveling civilizations exist in the numbers supposed, and they wanted to go to other stars, they would probably want to go to those they know would be in the neighborhood for some time. Among the last they would consider visiting would be a small group of tiny stars, none greater than 8.5 absolute magnitude, that used to belong to another galaxy ripped to shreds by this one and on a trajectory taking them out of the plane of the majority of stars. For half the next 50 million years they'll be more isolated than the present 90% of the way out from the center position. And on each pass-through more and more of these interlopers will be captured by the galactic arms, so who can say where they'll end up, IF they slow down and hang around. They could get thrown out of their own grouping entirely and end up hovering around in the galactic halo too far from anyplace to be accessible (relatively). So why go to those, when there's thousands times more stable members of the galactic arms? All that disruption makes it unlikely there's any life on those tiny galactic fast-walkers anyway.

But if we did happen to get thrown out of the local group's obit and outside the galaxy, no more constellations then. Instead we'd have the entire galaxy all on one side, in one hemisphere of the sky. With a view like that, who needs constellations?
 

sorry to break it to ya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33770560)

constellation's cancelled

Rey's Constellations (1)

LihTox (754597) | more than 3 years ago | (#33770656)

Hopefully before then they'll start using the constellation forms in H.A. Rey's The Stars [google.com] ; I really don't understand why so many references still use the shapeless randomly-connect-the-dots versions. Is it a copyright issue, maybe?

Hippie Future? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 3 years ago | (#33771648)

The Big Dipper will become The Big Doper.

All look like junk (1)

Dthief (1700318) | more than 3 years ago | (#33773672)

the constellations look just as little like what they represent in both times

Constellations are arbitrary and stupid (1)

wintermute1974 (596184) | more than 3 years ago | (#33776622)

I always thought that learning the constellations was a waste of time. Now I have proof.

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