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Astronomers Find Unusual Star

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the one-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-other dept.

Space 203

First time accepted submitter JoshuaZ writes "Astronomers have found an unusual small star. SDSS J102915+172927 is a small faint star with very little of any elements other than hydrogen or helium. The star's composition is surprising (Pdf) since standard theories of star formation require heavier elements in small stars in order to allow the stars to be heavy enough to come together. Possibly the most unusual aspect of this star is the complete non-detection of lithium which would be expected in a star of this size. The only elements created shortly after the Big Bang were lithium, hydrogen and helium, and the star should have lithium levels much higher since they should correspond closely with the levels believed to have been formed shortly after the Big Bang."

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Well then (4, Funny)

coreboarder (412771) | about 3 years ago | (#37282938)

That is unusual.

Re:Well then (3, Insightful)

repapetilto (1219852) | about 3 years ago | (#37282974)

So the next question is: How would someone go about mining a star?

Re:Well then (2)

game kid (805301) | about 3 years ago | (#37282982)

Magic.

Re:Well then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37282990)

The Gathering

Re:Well then (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | about 3 years ago | (#37283054)

"So the next question is: How would someone go about mining a star?"

Are you suggesting that we go mine it for Helium, or suggesting that some other race has already been there and pretty much cleaned the place out?

Re:Well then (3, Interesting)

repapetilto (1219852) | about 3 years ago | (#37283084)

Someone mined the heavier elements.

Occam's Razor (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | about 3 years ago | (#37283740)

It's considerably more likely that our theory(/ies) of star formation are lacking.

Re:Occam's Razor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283882)

No. See, God created Hydrogen, Helium and Lithium first. In this case, He wanted to play a practical joke on us.

Re:Occam's Razor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284042)

Or, our capacity to detect elements is not as sharp as we thought.

Re:Occam's Razor (1)

tgd (2822) | about 3 years ago | (#37284288)

I've always found Occam's Razor an interesting thing to invoke in cases like this. While I agree with the contention that the simplest explanation is likely the right one, that statement means nothing at all if you don't have a pretty good sense of the situation.

The assumption that its considerably more likely our theories of star formation are wrong is based on a couple presumptions that may be correct, but may not:

- life is uncommon
- intelligent life is even more uncommon
- intelligent life goes extinct before it can spread out

Particularly the last one -- if that isn't correct, then you can't really assume the liklihood that the simpler explanation is that our understanding of star formation is lacking. (Now, generally I agree with you -- that seems more likely, but science isn't about "seems" and we humans are pretty hard wired to draw conclusions like that.)

So, Occams Razor, IMO, is never a good argument to use when it comes to events involving assumptions we have no data on at all.

Re:Occam's Razor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284468)

Going from your explanation, I think it's unlikely Occam's Razor is a bunch of steaming horse shit.

Re:Occam's Razor (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37284506)

While I agree with the contention that the simplest explanation is likely the right one

Why would you agree with something so nonsensical? And why would you state such a belief in the context of Occam's Razor, which says nothing of the kind. Occam's Razor says that, if a model works without one of its factors, then it is safe to remove that factor. It's a rule about logic, not about science. If you start with a set of axioms and develop a system, then there are an infinite number of axioms that you can add without changing the validity of any of your interred rules, but adding these does not gain you anything.

An example of its application in science is the idea of guided evolution. One model suggests that species change via random mutations. Another model suggests that these changes are not random, that they're guided by a higher power in such a way that is indistinguishable from random change. Occam does not say that the second hypothesis is wrong, merely that it adds nothing useful to the model. You could also add another factor to that saying that it's guided by a higher power who makes decisions based on what an angel tells him. You could go on adding extra layers to this hypothesis forever, without altering the predictions that are made. You can, therefore, save yourself some mental effort by ignoring the factors that are irrelevant.

That doesn't mean that the first theory is 'right', or true, it just means that it's simpler and equally useful.

Re:Occam's Razor (0)

Sepodati (746220) | about 3 years ago | (#37284730)

Don't worry... Scientists will just make up "dark" something that can be plugged into equations but never detected in order to explain this. Let's start with "dark lithium". If they use that I want royalties!

John

Re:Well then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284708)

I'd like to think a little more majestic. What about siphoning hydrogen from other sources and constricting it in a magnetic field until it collapsed on itself, creating an article star? Could even theoretically use something that to keep it stable if its not heavy enough upon fusion starting.

Re:Well then (1)

The_mad_linguist (1019680) | about 3 years ago | (#37283082)

A proximity trigger would be the most useful.

Re:Well then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283122)

Here you go http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_lifting

Re:Well then (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | about 3 years ago | (#37283144)

Yes, this is almost exactly what I was thinking.. Dyson sphere then induce solar flares then collect somehow. Thanks.

Re:Well then (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 3 years ago | (#37283472)

Sounds suspiciously like
1. ???
2. ???
3. ???
4. ???
4. Profit!

;)

Re:Well then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283184)

So the next question is: How would someone go about mining a star?

Simple, spin it up and all the heavy elements float to the surface.

Re:Well then (1)

repapetilto (1219852) | about 3 years ago | (#37283228)

So rather than dealing with the star directly, lets say it was possible to push.pull all the planets further and further away... how would that affect the rotational velocity? (assuming a Sol-like solar system)

Re:Well then (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 3 years ago | (#37283412)

What about artificially increasing gravity momentarily?

Reduce the circumference, and rotational velocity increases proportionally. If enertial mass is uneffected, the heavier elements would spin out to the sides, leave the artificial gravity well, and fly off?

Re:Well then (1)

somersault (912633) | about 3 years ago | (#37284344)

What about artificially increasing gravity momentarily?

Reduce the circumference, and rotational velocity increases proportionally. If enertial[sic] mass is uneffected, the heavier elements would spin out to the sides, leave the artificial gravity well, and fly off?

I'd be careful with a technology that powerful, you might end up creating a black hole :p

Perhaps it would be easier to just transmute other elements into the ones we need?

Re:Well then (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37284546)

At the end, it's a question of energy. Stars are big. If you're accustomed to the scale of a planet, they're really big. You could transmute all of the hydrogen in Jupiter into more useful elements, but the energy required would be huge. The sort of energy that you'd get from... a star. And if you're going to the effort of tapping a star's energy at that level, then you may as well skim off the elements too. Additionally, if you're capable of inducing gravity, then a star is a pretty good place to perform transmutation of elements. Collect the heaviest ones together somewhere, and they'll be bombarded with neutrons from the surrounding reactions. I wouldn't be surprised if you could get pretty much any elements you wanted 'just' by creating a pool of lithium inside a star and keeping it contained.

Re:Well then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283858)

Min[e]d over matter

Re:Well then (1)

mbone (558574) | about 3 years ago | (#37284276)

Mine the Giant Molecular Clouds where stars are made. If you wanted to make lots of Dyson sphere habitats, O'Neil Cylinders, or Jupiter Brains, that is where you would do it. The resulting stars would lack whatever elements you really needed.

The real question is, why would they want all of the lithium ? Maybe for fusion power (as Castle Bravo showed, lithium-7 captures a neutron and splits into an alpha particle, a tritium nucleus, and the captured neutron, and tritium / Helium fuse well). Either such mining is rare, or the need for lithium is rare, as this star is pretty unusual.

Re:Well then (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | about 3 years ago | (#37284386)

Well, since Stargate Universe was a documentary, must have been some ancient civilization that used the star to power their intergalactic ships. Duh.

Or, conversely, as someone has already mentioned Occams Razor, maybe they got the size or other readings wrong, and it's not small or the elements aren't missing?

Re:Well then (3, Interesting)

SharpFang (651121) | about 3 years ago | (#37283006)

That's no star. It's artificial sun.

Re:Well then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283038)

"That's no moon, its... space a station!"

Re:Well then (1)

game kid (805301) | about 3 years ago | (#37283080)

space a station

Ah, that line from the classic blockbuster Star Wars: Attack of Charles Martinet gets me every time.

Re:Well then (1)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | about 3 years ago | (#37283208)

I just thought he was quoting the new blue ray "special edition" release. Nooooooooooooooooooooo.

Re:Well then (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 3 years ago | (#37283268)

You mean this one [imdb.com] ?

Re:Well then (1)

Canazza (1428553) | about 3 years ago | (#37283366)

The one with "Jodar", the bastard child of Yoda and Jar Jar, in place of Chewie.

Re:Well then (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37283368)

I just thought he was quoting the new blue ray "special edition" release. Nooooooooooooooooooooo.

They now decided that Han didn't shoot at all. :-)

Re:Well then (1)

mitashki (1116893) | about 3 years ago | (#37283270)

I have a very bad feeling about this.

That's no star -- it's a... (1)

GPS Pilot (3683) | about 3 years ago | (#37283518)

That's no star -- it's an extragalactic surfboard flare [youtube.com] !

(Ok, that wasn't very witty. Superior replies encouraged.)

On a more serious note: given that the Milky Way's diameter is ~100,000 light years, this thing being only "3,500 light-years above the disc of the Milky Way" would make it a straggling member of our galaxy, would it not?

Re:That's no star -- it's a... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 3 years ago | (#37284560)

The milky way is a disc (as your quote says). It's only 1,000 light years thick, so 3,500 light years is quite a long way away from the galaxy.

Re:Well then (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284448)

Not unusual at all... It is simply that we are detecting the exhaust of a huge ion drive spaceship.
They are coming...

have direction, but not distance (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about 3 years ago | (#37283004)

I always like to know how far away something is from us. Most articles on the web give direction toward Leo, but for distance I only found one reference that said it was hovering 3,500 light-years above the disk of the Milky Way. So it's near our Milky Way

http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/4690/impossible-star-discovered [cosmosmagazine.com]

Re:have direction, but not distance (3, Interesting)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 3 years ago | (#37283086)

That's because it is so damn hard to measure distance, so sometimes even an approximate distance is not given (but as you imply, distances should be given when known or a reasonable guess is available). That's because the most straightforward way requires you to know the 'extinction' of light towards your particular star. That means, you need to have a measurement of blocking effect of (non-emitting) gas nearby and hope it applies to your (hopefully nearby) object of interest. If you are lucky you'll get a reasonable estimate for distance that is probably within an order of magnitude of the true value, and sometimes you might even get down to a factor of two in uncertainty. And this is just for stuff relatively close in our galaxy. Getting distances elsewhere can be even harder. Disclaimer: IAAFA (I am a former astrophysicist).

Re:have direction, but not distance (5, Informative)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | about 3 years ago | (#37283274)

For a main sequence star, the procedure would normally go something like this:
From the star's spectrum, you know its temperature. (With a good enough spectrum, you can also confirm that it is main sequence.) From the temperature and the fact it is main sequence you know its intrinsic luminosity pretty well. From its temperature you know its intrinsic colour well. Comparing this to the observed colour, you infer how much dust there is between you and the star. (Dust blocks blue light more strongly than red light, so more dust means redder colour.) Knowing how much dust there is, you know how much its observed brightness has been reduced by the dust. Knowing what its brightness would be without dust and its intrinsic luminosity, you use the inverse square law to figure out how far away it is.

However, this star would have a really weird spectrum. If I recall correctly, hydrogen and helium only show spectral lines in much hotter stars, so presumably the only lines are calcium (the only metal they did detect). I don't know how well they can determine temperature with just calcium lines. I'm also not sure how precise this procedure is on ordinary stars, but I'd guess the uncertainty in distance would be about 10-30%.

IAAFA also, but I've never actually used the procedure I describe above.

Re:have direction, but not distance (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | about 3 years ago | (#37283488)

IAAFA? I am a fucking astronomer? ;)

No, seriously, thanks for the explanation. Regarding the H and He lines - as a (bio)chemist, who admittedly hasn't done much optical spectroscopy lately, I still think that you should at least see the absorption lines regardless of temperature. Not sure how that would figure into temperature determination, but hey, I used to work with single molecules. Stars are way to big for me ;)

Re:have direction, but not distance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284516)

IAAFA? I am a fucking astronomer? ;)

No, seriously, thanks for the explanation. Regarding the H and He lines - as a (bio)chemist, who admittedly hasn't done much optical spectroscopy lately, I still think that you should at least see the absorption lines regardless of temperature. Not sure how that would figure into temperature determination, but hey, I used to work with single molecules. Stars are way to big for me ;)

IAAFA - Inter-American Air Forces Academy

Re:have direction, but not distance (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | about 3 years ago | (#37283694)

Of course, that's if the star is bright enough to do spectroscopy. Most of them are good only for photometry, no?

Re:have direction, but not distance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284320)

of course they did spectroscopy it or they would not have its composition. duh

Re:have direction, but not distance (1)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 3 years ago | (#37284412)

That's for close stars though right? How would you distinguish reddening from dust and reddening from red-shift caused by expansion at greater distances?

Good (1)

Aerorae (1941752) | about 3 years ago | (#37283016)

In a sense this is a good thing. It shows that when you really get down to it, we still really understand very little about the universe and how things are formed/created. A little humility never hurt.

Re:Good (1)

GNUman (155139) | about 3 years ago | (#37283124)

Exactly! My theory is that god must have ran out of lithium when he created this specific star.

Re:Good (4, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 3 years ago | (#37283286)

Many parts of the bible lend credence to your theory that He runs out of lithium from time to time.

Re:Good (1)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | about 3 years ago | (#37283406)

Nice.

+1 Internets to you, sir.

Re:Good (1)

msheekhah (903443) | about 3 years ago | (#37284028)

he was stockpiling the lithium in case his insane earthly children needed it

Being far enough... (1)

Lisandro (799651) | about 3 years ago | (#37283020)

...we could easily confuse an exhaust with a star...

Re:Being far enough... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283074)

That presumes, of course, that there would be such a craft that would propel itself with some kind of fusion-based drive. Tell me, how does one propel a vehicle with fusion?

Re:Being far enough... (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 3 years ago | (#37283104)

We do it with conventional explosives, why not with nuclear explosions? :P

Re:Being far enough... (1)

Lisandro (799651) | about 3 years ago | (#37283118)

That presumes, of course, that there would be such a craft that would propel itself with some kind of fusion-based drive. Tell me, how does one propel a vehicle with fusion?

Check this out [nasa.gov] . I was being humorous, but propelling vehicles with fusion is completely plausible. In fact, the design discussed in that very link expels hydrogen.

maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283026)

...some aliens had a party nearby and some of balloons got away?

So, it's like Jupiter? (3, Interesting)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about 3 years ago | (#37283056)

Jupiter [wikipedia.org] is also like 99.7% hydrogen and helium, but I guess they're assuming that the Sun gobbled up most of the heavier elements when our solar system was forming.

Re:So, it's like Jupiter? (5, Informative)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 3 years ago | (#37283288)

The mass fraction of elements heavier than helium in this star is less than 1ppm. The sun is 99.9% H and He and only 0.1% heavier stuff, this star has some 50.000 times less than that. Compared to this star, Jupiter is solid iron, so no, not like Jupiter at all.

I understand (1)

matt3k (751292) | about 3 years ago | (#37283136)

If it weren't for the arrow I would of been confused on the location.

Maybe its just bulimic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283146)

Maybe it had those elements inside it at one point, but then decided after ingesting them that they were making it too fat and vomited it out.

They (1)

JustOK (667959) | about 3 years ago | (#37283156)

They took all the lithium for their laptop batteries.

Supplies!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283180)

The star's composition is surprising since standard theories of star formation require heavier elements in small stars in order to allow the stars to be heavy enough to come together.

God made it that way to test your faith.

Re:Supplies!!!! (3, Insightful)

thej1nx (763573) | about 3 years ago | (#37283350)

>>God made it that way to test your faith.

If god wanted to test our faith with impossible stuff, he could have simply made a huge mountain-sized boulder magically float in air over the vatican, defying gravity. Miracles are more appreciated when they are closer home.

Re:Supplies!!!! (1)

Boronx (228853) | about 3 years ago | (#37283396)

Ye of little faith.

Re:Supplies!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283674)

It's impossible to prove or disprove the existence of God with miracles.

A huge mountain-sized boulder magically floating in the air over the Vatican would only be seen as a miracle as long as it didn't happen. Otherwise, it would be normal.

PS: Does anyone know if the captchas are chosen based on content? I just got "stigmata" and it's the third relevant one in a row.

Re:Supplies!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283678)

... over the vatican ... closer [to] home.

I always suspected that there were some atheists in the vatican.

Anyhow, I don't think something like a levitating mountain over Rome will make believers out of most atheists. Since it is already a given for them that no god exists, other explanations would have be found, perhaps: elaborate hoax, it evolved to be that way, or we don't have sufficient data yet to explain the phenomenon, but there WILL be a natural explanation - eventually. Of the approximately 0.005% that will start believing, most will probably be of the "Cool! Can your pet pocket magician also make me a pink pony with a unicorn horn?" variety.

Re:Supplies!!!! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283822)

Atheists will believe in a natural phenomenon like a god once there's proof he exists.

Atheists oppose blind, rigid, proof-less faith in divine superpowers, not super power per se. Much of our current technology would be miraculous to a man born 200 years ago.

Re:Supplies!!!! (1)

digitig (1056110) | about 3 years ago | (#37284116)

The AC had an important point, though. What would they accept as "proof" of the existence of God? If they want scientific proof (as usually understood) of the Judeo-Christian God (as usually understood) then it's likely that it couldn't possibly exist. Any finite explanation of any set of observations would be simpler than an infinite God, and so would be preferred due to Ockham's razor. Some statements of the scientific method explicitly state that any explanation involving God or gods is to be rejected. So even if such a God existed, He/She would be unable to prove His/Her existence to such atheists. For those atheists "atheists will believe in a natural phenomenon like a god once there's proof he exists" is an empty statement because they understand "proof" in such a way as to make "proof he exists" an oxymoron.

Re:Supplies!!!! (1)

John Bresnahan (638668) | about 3 years ago | (#37284428)

What would they accept as "proof" of the existence of God?

Anyone who is interested in this topic should read "Cosmos" by Carl Sagan. (For that matter, anyone who loves a good science fiction book should read it.)

Note that the movie barely touched on this subplot, nor did the movie include the dramatic climax of the book.

Re:Supplies!!!! (2)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37284554)

I think you mean "Contact". Contact is the Sagan scifi novel that touches on this and was made into a movie. Cosmos was the TV showed he starred in that was about astronomy.

Re:Supplies!!!! (1)

John Bresnahan (638668) | about 3 years ago | (#37284828)

Oops! You're right! I did mean "Contact"

Some of us are easy, actually (2)

Moraelin (679338) | about 3 years ago | (#37284888)

Actually, some of us are pretty easy about it. Although the Christian God is contradictory enough to be impossible to fully demonstrate, I for one would settle for a much less powerful being as God. Or as a god.

And it's not just me. For 99% of the existence of the human species, we lived just fine with much less omnipotent gods. Even the Jewish God of the OT, actually promised a lot less. Heck, until very late, he didn't even promise an afterlife at all. (In fact, Genesis even spells it out that God _didn't_ want humans to have eternal life.) Other civilizations were perfectly OK with Gods of limited powers, or not immortal (see the Norse Gods), or even already dead (see Osiris.)

I mean, take the traditional supposed powers of a Pharaoh, as an incarnate of Horus. He was supposed to bring fertility and prosperity by just being there, bring Ma'at (justice, orders, etc) to the land, etc. And of course, be the representative of some guys who can give an afterlife.

Let's say some dude came forward and claimed that he is the new incarnate of Horus. How would we go about testing it? Well, for example, let's see if he can influence the fertility of some plots of land, in a double-blind experiment. He gets 100 randomly selected farms he has to boost the production of, 100 he must lower the production of, and 100 more are chosen as control. Repeat that for 2-3 years.

Nobody else knows which farms, until it's time to compare results.

Ma'at? Same deal. Get a list of 100 random cities where the criminality must drop faster than the nation average. Can he pull that stunt?

If he wants to go for even more god points, let's see, Rameses II at Kadesh claimed to have been at some point deserted by all his soldiers and that he personally, with his divine dad Ra as help, repelled the assault of the Hittite chariots at the crucial point of that battle. So it seems to me like there is precedent that the incarnate Horus could use his superhuman powers in battle. Well, we can test that too. We set the guy against a few remote controlled drones or vehicles with belt-fed beanbag ammo, and he must destroy some of them without getting beaned.

If someone can do that, personally I'll cheerfully proclaim him a god. Maybe not THE God, and I may have my doubts about whether it's actually supernatural (as opposed to, you know, it being natural that someone is a god like that;)) but I'll cheerfully grant that guy a minor god status. I might even volunteer to pull rocks for his pyramid, because, hey, it can't hurt to get on a god's good side.

Re:Supplies!!!! (2)

alex67500 (1609333) | about 3 years ago | (#37284366)

He put one in Mecca, but he got tired of it and dropped it after a while...

The reason the star is so odd (1)

DaRyuujin (1686268) | about 3 years ago | (#37283222)

Its not a star..its a power source created by an advanced alien specials that they use to fuel their light speed engines...silly scientists missing that :-P

Some star had some plasma ripped off (1)

user flynn (236683) | about 3 years ago | (#37283258)

A star had some of its plasma ripped off by a black hole (or another star) moving by. For whatever reason, the heavier elements were captured by the 2 larger bodies and the leftover H and He slowly coalesced into the freaky star.

    Scenario 2- The freaky star formed at the Lagrangian point between 2 huge stars and was dislodged from the system by a passing star.

Re:Some star had some plasma ripped off (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | about 3 years ago | (#37283278)

Wouldn't happen. L1 point is unstable.

Re:Some star had some plasma ripped off (1)

FormOfActionBanana (966779) | about 3 years ago | (#37283506)

Oh, then I guess all the Lagrange points must be unstable. Thanks for your input!!

Re:Some star had some plasma ripped off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283452)

maybe it actually coalesced *around* a rather small black hole?

Bipolar aliens? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283280)

Makes sense, they would need a large supply of lithium to treat their mental disorder.

Artificial? (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 3 years ago | (#37283348)

Or possibly strip-mined for the Lithium?

Bill o'Reilly (1)

mutherhacker (638199) | about 3 years ago | (#37283422)

I bet he could explain it.

Re:Bill o'Reilly (1)

kno3 (1327725) | about 3 years ago | (#37283896)

Exactly! Science has failed and this clearly means it is all false. What we need is clear thinkers like Bill who haven't muddied their head with fancy science degrees!

Incidentally, I believe it is clear this is an artificial star created by a cosmological super-race.

Any speculation on ET civilization? (1)

m.alessandrini (1587467) | about 3 years ago | (#37283470)

I don't really believe that's the case, but a scientist (cannot find links) once proposed a method for looking for ET life by looking at strange-behavior stars, that could be the result of a massive planetary system colonization, like for example enclosing a star with a "shell" to generate energy and so altering the spectrum we would say.

Astronomers Give Star the Pluto Treatment (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 3 years ago | (#37283516)

You know. you're a bit less than a real star. You may think you're a star but you're not.

Re:Astronomers Give Star the Pluto Treatment (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about 3 years ago | (#37283552)

You know. you're a bit less than a real star. You may think you're a star but you're not.

A starlet?

Re:Astronomers Give Star the Pluto Treatment (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 3 years ago | (#37283608)

I was hoping for something stronger but it does convey the required sense of humiliation.

Re:Astronomers Give Star the Pluto Treatment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283850)

A B-list star? Or even C-list.

We've gone too far... *sigh* (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#37283624)

They found a new star and they didn't even make a wish?! Sheesh! Whimsy is dead...

Re:We've gone too far... *sigh* (1)

ErroneousBee (611028) | about 3 years ago | (#37283812)

I'm pretty sure someone on the team said something like "I wish we knew why this star is heavy element deficient"

Re:We've gone too far... *sigh* (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 3 years ago | (#37283860)

Why not steal someone else's sig? You already borrowed from my nick. :)

Reason may be more mundane ... (1)

MacTO (1161105) | about 3 years ago | (#37283690)

It is probably safer to say that they did not detect lithium in the star's atmosphere.

The light that we see from a star tends to fit a blackbody curve, which says a lot about the temperature of a star but nothing about the composition. However, the stellar atmosphere will contain absorption or emission lines that tell us about the composition of the atmosphere. It doesn't say anything about the interior of the star.

Now my recollections of stellar models is quite hazy, but I do recall that different processes happen within the star. Some stars have convective regions, which means that there is a mixing of the material inside the star. There are also radiative regions, where there is no mixing of the materials so the star ends up stratified.

The statification doesn't really tell us why there is no lithium in the atmosphere, since that should have been around since the big bang. Now this doesn't really tell us why there is no Lithium in the atmosphere, but if does suggest that there are cases where it would not be replenished even if the star it was orbiting had a surplus of resources.

Artificial? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283698)

It probably is a Dyson sphere ;)

I wish!!!!

An incredibly old black hole (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37283782)

What if it was a small black hole left over from the early days of the Universe? The point is the heavier elements would have either been blown off and absorbed by neighboring systems or drawn back in billions of years ago. If the area was rich in Helium and Hydrogen then what they are seeing is actually the event horizon of a black hole that happens to be feeding on what is at hand.

Re:An incredibly old black hole (1)

f()rK()_Bomb (612162) | about 3 years ago | (#37283874)

then there would be jets from the poles

We have a few other solutions to the issue (1)

aglider (2435074) | about 3 years ago | (#37283784)

1. The star doesn't belong to this multiverse.
2. A few (astro)physical laws need an overhaul
3. The observations are wrong
4. All the three above.

They should check to see if it's bipolar. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284062)

Maybe it consumed the lithium because it was depressed?

big bang theory discredited? (1)

vmaldia (1846072) | about 3 years ago | (#37284236)

some creationist is gonna say "big bang theory discredited"

Re:big bang theory discredited? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 3 years ago | (#37284606)

Why would they do that? The Big Bang Theory is more consistent with Genesis than any other Cosmological theory of the origin of the universe.

Big Bang Theory: once there was nothing, then Bang there was an explosion of energy
Genesis: God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

Unusual Star (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37284748)

Scientists crack me up, they don't know everything. That's the difference between science and faith..

Fantastic! (1)

Vidar Leathershod (41663) | about 3 years ago | (#37284772)

"The only elements created shortly after the Big Bang were lithium, hydrogen and helium".

Wow. I can't believe people actually say this stuff. And from the looks of it, they believe it.

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