Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

North Star May Be Wasting Away

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the julius-caesar-wanted-to-go-on-a-diet dept.

Space 129

sciencehabit writes "The North Star, a celestial beacon to navigators for centuries, may be slowly shrinking, according to a new analysis of more than 160 years of observations. The data suggest that the familiar fixture in the northern sky is shedding an Earth's mass worth of gas each year."

cancel ×

129 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

IN MARGARETAVILLE !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845897)

It's where Jimmy and Walon go !!

Re:IN MARGARETAVILLE !! (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846817)

It blew out a Flip Flop, stepped on a Pop Top.

Re:IN MARGARETAVILLE !! (1, Offtopic)

eclectus (209883) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846935)

CSB: A pub I used to frequent had live entertainment in the form of a man on stage with a guitar singing various bawdy pub songs. A bunch of us were in one night when we convinced our friend ( a wonderful indian grad student who knew no fear) to get on stage and sing 'Margaritaville'. He didn'tt know the song, but the entertainer said he would feed him the lines as they came along just before along, like a human karaoke machine. So he get's up there and sings. The singer feeds him the line 'stepped on a pop-top' and he sings it as 'stepped on a pop tart' because he had never heard of a pop top.

I still can't sing it the original way, I like pop-tart better.

Re:IN MARGARETAVILLE !! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38847539)

I was an adventurer too, until I stepped on a Pop-Tart.

frosty piss (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845905)

A few years ago, while browsing around the library downtown, I had to take a piss. As I entered the john a big beautiful all-american football hero type, about twenty-five, came out of one of the booths. I stood at the urinal looking at him out of the corner of my eye as he washed his hands. He didn't once look at me. He was "straight" and married -- and in any case I was sure I wouldn't have a chance with him.

As soon as he left I darted into the booth he'd vacated, hoping there might be a lingering smell of shit and even a seat still warm from his sturdy young ass. I found not only the smell but the shit itself. He'd forgotten to flush. And what a treasure he had left behind. Three or four beautiful specimens floated in the bowl. It apparently had been a fairly dry, constipated shit, for all were fat, stiff, and ruggedly textured.

The real prize was a great feast of turd -- a nine inch gastrointestinal triumph as thick as a man's wrist.

I knelt before the bowl, inhaling the rich brown fragrance and wondered if I should obey the impulse building up inside me. I'd always been a heavy rimmer and had lapped up more than one little clump of shit, but that had been just an inevitable part of eating ass and not an end in itself. Of course I'd had jerk-off fantasies of devouring great loads of it (what rimmer hasn't), but I had never done it. Now, here I was, confronted with the most beautiful five-pound turd I'd ever feasted my eyes on, a sausage fit to star in any fantasy and one I knew to have been hatched from the asshole of the world's handsomest young stud.

Why not? I plucked it from the bowl, holding it with both hands to keep it from breaking. I lifted it to my nose. It smelled like rich, ripe limburger (horrid, but thrilling), yet had the consistency of cheddar. What is cheese anyway but milk turning to shit without the benefit of a digestive tract? I gave it a lick and found that it tasted better then it smelled. I've found since then that shit nearly almost does.

I hesitated no longer. I shoved the fucking thing as far into my mouth as I could get it and sucked on it like a big brown cock, beating my meat like a madman. I wanted to completely engulf it and bit off a large chunk, flooding my mouth with the intense, bittersweet flavor. To my delight I found that while the water in the bowl had chilled the outside of the turd, it was still warm inside. As I chewed I discovered that it was filled with hard little bits of something I soon identified as peanuts. He hadn't chewed them carefully and they'd passed through his body virtually unchanged. I ate it greedily, sending lump after peanutty lump sliding scratchily down my throat. My only regret was the donor of this feast wasn't there to wash it down with his piss.

I soon reached a terrific climax. I caught my cum in the cupped palm of my hand and drank it down. Believe me, there is no more delightful combination of flavors than the hot sweetness of cum with the rich bitterness of shit.

Afterwards I was sorry that I hadn't made it last longer. But then I realized that I still had a lot of fun in store for me. There was still a clutch of virile turds left in the bowl. I tenderly fished them out, rolled them into my hankerchief, and stashed them in my briefcase. In the week to come I found all kinds of ways to eat the shit without bolting it right down. Once eaten it's gone forever unless you want to filch it third hand out of your own asshole. Not an unreasonable recourse in moments of desperation or simple boredom. I stored the turds in the refrigerator when I was not using them but within a week they were all gone. The last one I held in my mouth without chewing, letting it slowly dissolve. I had liquid shit trickling down my throat for nearly four hours. I must have had six orgasms in the process.

I often think of that lovely young guy dropping solid gold out of his sweet, pink asshole every day, never knowing what joy it could, and at least once did, bring to a grateful shiteater.

Re:frosty piss (0, Redundant)

voltacid (2532610) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846195)

What an anonymous coward.

Re:frosty piss (-1, Troll)

rinoid (451982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847175)

Did you have a santorum afterwards?

first post!!! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845907)

AW NO!!! how will be ever be able to find north now???

Re:first post!!! (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846521)

GPS. Hey, they spent all that money putting those satellites in orbit for a reason ya know.

Oh my god! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845937)

Polaris must be losing nearly the equivalent of Earth's mass—or a little under a millionth of its own mass—each year,

In a little over a million years, we won't be able to use that particular star to navigate any more. IT'LL BE CHAOS!

Re:Oh my god! (2, Informative)

GodInHell (258915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845961)

Not to take you too seriously -- but it would probably shrink to the point where it became impossible to see the north star long before that.

We do however have wonderful things called "Com-pass-es" that work similarly (even inside and in daytime).

-GiH

Re:Oh my god! (4, Funny)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846113)

Well, except that over that same time period, we'll be experiencing a reversal of the poles, and the accompaning period of magnetic flux that would make magnetic compasses rather useless.

Re:Oh my god! (0)

jdastrup (1075795) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846139)

Sure, compasses work now, until Earth's next polarity reversal occurs, which will be much sooner than Polaris disappearing.

Face it, we're screwed.

Re:Oh my god! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38846649)

They ll continue working after the polarity reversal. Just they wont at certain points during the reversal.
However, as the magnetic north pole isnt sitting on top of the rotation axis, it s still not the best method to find directions.
Luckily enough, chances are the north star doesnt fade before a few reversals have happened. And probably long after mankind has disapeared...

Relativity Speaking (5, Informative)

Niscenus (267969) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847639)

A solar mass is over 300,000 Earths, and Polaris is atleast 7 solar masses, adjusting for the most conservative of all estimates. It's apparent magnitude is about 1.9, while the magnitude of drop off (nolonger visible to the human eye) is defined at 7 (with 6 being relatively hard except under good conditions).

Setting aside the nuclear chemistry that will occur in the meantime (which tends to increase brightness), that Polaris is, in fact, multiple stars and the overall reduction of radiative and mass pressure that will be reducing the production/consumption rate*, I would posit even losing half of its mass, it would likely still be visible in 2000 years, which means the Northern Star will have since switched to Gamma Cephei.

So, no big loss here. Personally, I, for one, welcome our new Alrainian OverStar.

****
*You know what, I'm actually going to do these in the coming weeks. This is sound like a fun problem, even though I do a lot more in theoretical particle physics than cosmology.

Re:Oh my god! (5, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845963)

The Earth precesses once ever 26000 years. In 13000 years north will be pointed towards Vega.

Re:Oh my god! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38845987)

Vega is a fucking space ghetto. I don't want to point to that part of the celestial neighborhood.

Re:Oh my god! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846335)

I thought that was where the Mother Thing [wikipedia.org] was from? Doesn't sound like a ghetto... Wormface and company were from the ghetto.

Re:Oh my god! (4, Funny)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846577)

Vega is a fucking space ghetto. I don't want to point to that part of the celestial neighborhood.

I thought that was where the Mother Thing was from? Doesn't sound like a ghetto... Wormface and company were from the ghetto.

Problem is, what comes from Vega are Vegans. If they invade, no more leather, no more steaks. We'll be reduced to eating vegetables and tofu forever and ever and ever, amen

Course, the upside is, we'll produce plenty of methane, so it might help with the energy crunch, though I kinda doubt it'll be comfortable walking around with a gas pipe up my ass. Maybe that's why the aliens are so into anal probing...

Re:Oh my god! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846843)

Well played, sir.

Re:Oh my god! (1)

FauxReal (653820) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846601)

Wow, I only recently started delving into Sci-Fi stories. Never heard of this one but it sounds cool. Thanks for the post! (The most recent one I read is " Machines That Think: The Best Science Fiction Stories About Robots and Computers" A pretty good collection.)

Re:Oh my god! (2)

Man Eating Duck (534479) | more than 2 years ago | (#38848039)

Wow, I only recently started delving into Sci-Fi stories. Never heard of this one but it sounds cool. Thanks for the post! (The most recent one I read is "
Machines That Think: The Best Science Fiction Stories About Robots and Computers" A pretty good collection.)

Have Space Suit—Will Travel is OK, but a bit strange, like many of Heinlein's novels. If you haven't read anything else by him I would rather recommend Starship Troopers or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for starters.

I haven't read the collection you mention, but I have read about half of the stories therein, most are good ones. While I'm here I can give you some completely unsolicited pointers: Stephen Baxter (Evolution, and Manifold books, which explore fundamental concepts of physics and cosmology), the novels of Iain M. Banks (the "M" is important, it's what he uses for SF works), and Eric Brown (for instance the collection Kéthani), for contemporary works. If you liked the Vinge story his novels are enjoyable as well, although not centered on AI.

For more classical/space opera stuff Asimov's Foundation series is nice, and pretty much all of his short stories come recommended. If you liked The Bicentennial Man you should check out his Robot series (titles on Wikipedia). Arthur C. Clarke has several brilliant classics: 2001 (and the other "year-titled" books), The Fountains of Paradise (explores space elevators) and the Rama series.

Of course those are just favourites of mine, YMMV. It's a daunting amount of SF out there, and a lot of it is crap, but it's immensely rewarding when you find something you really like.

If you or anyone else can recommend other stories based on my recommendations, go ahead :)

Re:Oh my god! (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38848455)

Clarke's short stories should not be overlooked.

I particularly recommend "I Remember Babylon".

Re:Oh my god! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38846555)

You're right

Karma whoring:
"...Gamma Cephei (also known as Alrai, situated 45 light-years away) will become closer to the northern celestial pole than Polaris around AD 3000. Iota Cephei will become the pole star some time around AD 5200.

First-magnitude Deneb will be within 5 of the North Pole in AD 10000.

The brilliant Vega in the constellation Lyra is often touted as the best North Star (it fulfilled that role around 12000 BC and will do so again around the year AD 14000). However, it never comes closer than 5 to the pole.

When Polaris becomes the North Star again around 27800 AD, due to its proper motion it then will be farther away from the pole than it is now, while in 23600 BC it came closer to the pole.

In 3000 BC the faint star Thuban in the constellation Draco was the North Star. At magnitude 3.67 (fourth magnitude) it is only one-fifth as bright as Polaris, and today it is invisible in light-polluted urban skies..."

-Wikipedia

Re:Oh my god! (2)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847351)

slashdot ate your degree signs (some geek site huh?)

also of interest is that Deneb is presently the North Pole star of Mars.

Re:Oh my god! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38846801)

Sounds like Y2K hysteria to me.

Re:Oh my god! (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847567)

The Earth precesses once ever 26000 years. In 13000 years north will be pointed towards Vega.

For fun I cranked up Stellarium to check the relative positions of Polaris and Vega. Does anyone know a way to make Stellarium draw a trail for stars like it does with planets? I turned up the time rate to whiz through thousands of years per second and can sort of make out the the path of Polaris with respect to the North pole due to precession, but it would be nice to have it trace out the path.

BTW, Stellarium stops at the year 99999. That seems like an odd limit.

Re:Oh my god! (3, Funny)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847879)

ah, that's because when it clicks over to 100,000 the Morlocks invade...

Re:Oh my god! (1)

crunchygranola (1954152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847745)

But Polaris is the BEST pole star! Of all the stars close to the polar precession circle, Polaris is the brightest star that is very close to the actual polar axis at the point of closest approach. There are only 4 or 5 naked eye stars that are closer to the precession circle, but they are a good bit dimmer than Polaris. The only one brighter is Vega, but it is never closer than about 5 degrees.

Polaris is currently getting closer and closer to the pole. It will reach its closest apparent declination on 24 March 2100 (only 0.45 degrees away) - which, thanks to the singularity we nearly all still be alive to witness (Kurzweil has never been wrong has he?).

Re:Oh my god! (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845995)

Polaris must be losing nearly the equivalent of Earth's mass—or a little under a millionth of its own mass—each year,

In a little over a million years, we won't be able to use that particular star to navigate any more. IT'LL BE CHAOS!

It's more likely to collapse and blow off gas in a nebula before then, but agree, it's very hard to use nebulas as navigational aids during the daylight hours and tricky enough at night.

Re:Oh my god! (2)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846013)

But I use nebulas to navigate in Freelancer all the time. They're so bright and colorful you can't miss them...Oh wait.

Re:Oh my god! (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847123)

I call dibs on the world wide contract to fix the P1M bug. Don't wait till the last second, pay me now.

Re:Oh my god! (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38848465)

So there's still a good reason to learn COBOL?

Re:Oh my god! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38848831)

actually in about 1000 years it will no longer be the pole star, the movement of the sun through the galaxy, combined with earth's axial precession, Polaris will no longer point to true north, it'll begin to form wider circles if you do a slow exposure film of it.

Back in 3000 BC (5,000 years ago) there was another pole star that is still in the northern hemisphere, called Thuban, which was the pole star then.

Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (1, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845975)

That's not exactly a lot. I'm sure our own dear Sun is losing that much mass every year and you still see 5 Billion on its birthday card.

Slow astrophysical news day, I guess.

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (4, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846131)

Mass of the sun is 330,000 times the mass of earth.

So if it were losing an Earth-Mass yearly it would have had to be 7 times as massive as today at the beginning of the Pleistocene, and would only have a life expectancy of about 330,001 years left.

The Sun appears to have been active for 4.6 billion years and has enough fuel to go on for another Five billion years or so. [solarviews.com] .

So I think you may have lost a few digits (in the exponents) when making your calculations.

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (3, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846185)

Polaris is listed, at least in Wikipedia, at 7.54 solar masses. Also, it is a ternary system: one large star, a smaller star and a white dwarf.

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846225)

How is that germane to the GPs post?

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38846343)

It goes to credibility, your honour. FFS, he presents facts and you jump on him whilst idiot anons get +whatever insightful/informative.

Go suck on a lemon, will ya?

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (2)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846609)

Among other things, it shows an explaination for the mass lossage. The mass might be feeding the smaller star or the white dwarf.

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846655)

Among other things, it shows an explaination for the mass lossage. The mass might be feeding the smaller star or the white dwarf.

Ooh, if it's sending matter onto a white dwarf, we can hope to see an awesome Type 1a supernova in that part of the sky sooner or later.

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846659)

While that's true, it has no bearing on THIS particular sub-thread where the claim was made the OUR Sun was losing an Earth's Mass every year, when such could not be the case.

I don't deny the facts of the post, just the odd placement of the reply. I wonder if the post [slashdot.org] was misplaced?

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846263)

Thanks for running the numbers. My initial guesses would also have been off by a couple of orders of magnitude. I knew an Earth's mass was pretty insignificant compared to the sun, but 330,000 years go by pretty quickly in galactic standards.

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846471)

The star grows dimmer and brighter over a roughly 4-day cycle, and the team studied variation in the length of that cycle. ...
Even that 4-day pulsation isn't constant: In 1844, it was about 12 minutes slower than it is now.

Re:Cough. Earth's Mass?!? (1)

sonamchauhan (587356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846489)

Oops .. clarifying: I was quoting the linked article.

Pivot point (5, Funny)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38845979)

It's probably losing all that mass due to heat from friction. It must be under tremendous pressure, seeing as how the entire night sky pivots on that single point. Long-term this will have huge consequences - when the North Star finally wears through completely the entire universe will ricochet off into nothingness like a spinning top.

Re:Pivot point (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846023)

It's probably losing all that mass due to heat from friction. It must be under tremendous pressure, seeing as how the entire night sky pivots on that single point. Long-term this will have huge consequences - when the North Star finally wears through completely the entire universe will ricochet off into nothingness like a spinning top.

Not to worry. Once we get our booster technology straightened out, we can send up a big can of WD-40.

Re:Pivot point (3, Funny)

Lev13than (581686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846083)

Not to worry. Once we get our booster technology straightened out, we can send up a big can of WD-40.

That's the first lesson in any basic astrophysics maintenance course - always keep your turtles oiled.

Re:Pivot point (4, Funny)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846271)

Don't forget the turtle wax.

Re:Pivot point (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847325)

oh noes, they'll slip and fall off each other's backs, all the way down.

Re:Pivot point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38848225)

It must be global warming and celestial cooling.

More turtle max, please.

Re:Pivot point (1)

johnvile (2560845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846099)

Or a politician

Re:Pivot point (1)

johnvile (2560845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846085)

that's brilliant

Re:Pivot point (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846867)

You, Sir, belong in management.

Thank God! (4, Funny)

johnvile (2560845) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846069)

Thank God its not shedding the amount of gas a politician evacuates each year. It would be barley visible.

Re:Thank God! (4, Funny)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846197)

Thank God its not shedding the amount of gas a politician evacuates each year. It would be barley visible.

I know right! And then wheat would we do?

Re:Thank God! (4, Funny)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846259)

I apologise for that; I have a very rye sense of humour.

Re:Thank God! (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846313)

Well, it's certanly corny....

Release the Chaff! (3, Funny)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846995)

There's a grain (or at least a germ) of truth in each of those posts. Kind of a cereal furrow of truthiness, just plowing along, planting seeds of doubt, perhaps to just lie farro, but then again, maybe knot.

Re:Thank God! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38847109)

*grain*

Re:Thank God! (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847553)

Maybe I should rethink my priorities. These last couple of posts should've made me think of bread, but instead the first thing that came to mind was alcoholic beverages.

Thanks a lot "Name a star, buy a star" (2)

GauteL (29207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846177)

After decades of overselling the North Star, is there any wonder there's so little of it left?

Re:Thanks a lot "Name a star, buy a star" (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846401)

After decades of overselling the North Star, is there any wonder there's so little of it left?

It'll be replaced by Mark Zuckerberg, so not to worry. He's a major star on Wall Street right now.

Damn... (1)

Ugarte (42783) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846201)

that's going to suck when all our compasses stop working.

Re:Damn... (4, Funny)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846373)

Indeed... everyone knows that the first magnets fell to earth from that star, which is why it always experienced a small tug in that direction. Future magnets inherited this trait by mimicking the original magnets' functionality, which was to adhere strongly to certain types of metals.

Re:Damn... (2)

Ugarte (42783) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846459)

Fucking magnets, so *that's* how they work!

Re:Damn... (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846753)

Still not clear on blankets, though. Those things are a magical fucking mystery.

Re:Damn... (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847361)

they insulate to contain the body of a person and their hot nubile lover, which is why they only work half as well for slash-dotters.

Blame it on Hard Sectoring (1)

jabberw0k (62554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846231)

North Star [wikipedia.org] has been gone for a couple decades now.

Does this mean victory for the Southern Cross? (3, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846305)

Does this mean victory for the Southern Cross fighting style? Or am I just too much of a nerd so no one will understand the reference?

Re:Does this mean victory for the Southern Cross? (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846403)

Nope! I was just wondering if somebody would make a Fist of the North Star joke and what it would be.

I was trying to come up with something, but wasn't getting any decent ideas.

Re:Does this mean victory for the Southern Cross? (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847005)

My hamster style will beat your.... ok, never mind. I was gonna go all Mormon on you, but thought better of it.

Re:Does this mean victory for the Southern Cross? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38847569)

I don't think I'm going to do hamster style anymore.

Re:Does this mean victory for the Southern Cross? (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847989)

lol

Re:Does this mean victory for the Southern Cross? (1)

J. J. Ramsey (658) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846739)

No, my brain went to about the same place as yours. I was a bit surprised that no one joked about it sooner.

Re:Does this mean victory for the Southern Cross? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38847575)

It means that the North Star is already dead. It just doesn't know it yet.

What does it mean for Christians? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38846355)

I was brought up Catholic and part of the mythos is that the north star was born when Christ was born. It's what led the three wise men too Him. When the north star is gone will that symbolize that Christ is dead?

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (2)

grahamsaa (1287732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846693)

Um, Christ died about 2,000 years ago.

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847015)

Christ who? You mean the magical character with zero proof of existence in the work of historical fiction called the bible?

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (1)

Nivag064 (904744) | more than 2 years ago | (#38848269)

Please supply evidence that there actually was a Christ as per Christian Bible!

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (3, Insightful)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846729)

I don't know what mythos you are referring to, but I doubt it will affect anyone outside your sect.

Besides, Catholics don't speak for all Christianity, and their mythos is radically different from anyone elses. Most denominations that I know don't teach that the north star has any added significance.

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38846785)

I was brought up Catholic and part of the mythos is that the north star was born when Christ was born. It's what led the three wise men too Him. When the north star is gone will that symbolize that Christ is dead?

Not Polaris. Even Arthur C. Clarke [wikipedia.org] knows that!

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (3, Informative)

Mogster (459037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847129)

Hrmm I'm Catholic and have a degree in theology. And this is the first time I've ever heard that the star of Bethlehem is supposed to be Polaris - it's certainly not part of the general 'mythos' as you put it

General teaching is that the Star of Bethlehem only hung around until not long after the Wise men left. And from a more scientific viewpoint if it's true then it was likely a supernova

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38848481)

I've been to 3 separate universities where, in the restrooms in the science wings, above the toilet paper dispenser, was a note reading "theology degree. Please take one".

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (2)

mjperson (160131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847207)

Um no. The Christmas star was seen in the East, not the North. The North star has nothing to do with Christ. It never has.

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847893)

hang on, if the North Star was what was supposed to bring the wise men to the stable, then wouldn't they have come from the SOUTH, not the EAST??

Re:What does it mean for Christians? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#38848571)

I was brought up Catholic and part of the mythos is that the north star was born when Christ was born.

Last I checked, the Vatican got out of the business of making physical predictions from religious belief. I doubt that is part of their orthodoxy even by error.

Shrinking Star (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38846561)

All stars shrink just like our sun but not that fast to be noticeable after such a long period of time of observation. A more realistic idea (to me anyway) is that light pollution is simply making it appear to be shrinking. That is unless it was observed by something like Hubble from space.

perhaps (1)

alienzed (732782) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846573)

too much fiber?

Guess it is time to... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38846581)

...make our own star in the sky.

But really, it could be done.
There is a semi-stable orbit up there that isn't too large that it couldn't replace it
All it needs to be is a huge lens and some magical arrangement of mirrors to allow pretty much omni-directional capture of sunlight with no moving parts, but semi-directional output down towards Earth.
You COULD have moving parts, but it would be more complicated than it need be. All it needs is some fuel and corrective orbit systems so it doesn't break away and end up spiraling away to a horrible death.

Losing gas? (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846749)

The data suggest that the familiar fixture in the northern sky is shedding an Earth's mass worth of gas each year.

Sounds like my Uncle Fred...

Re:Losing gas? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846891)

is shedding an Earth's mass worth of gas each year.

Sounds like my Uncle Fred...

The New Fart Diet fad! I'll make millions! That is until the fad dies, and my revenue source vanishes into thin air.

Easy fix: (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846841)

just forward all AOL disks and discount mortgage mailers to it.

Pushme Pullme (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 2 years ago | (#38846923)

Just combine it with the star Pushlaris, and it will all balance out

Don't worry (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847091)

For celestial navigation after it has waned away, you can use the new spiffy Dark Matter Detector 5000 (Copyright Garmin). It points whichever way the scientific wind is blowing.

Awww... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38847269)

It found out we invented GPS and don't need celestial navigation any longer.
I hope the rest of the starts don't follow the lead. :)

Just another thing to blame on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38847855)

global warming.

If Carlsberg made the obvious, news... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38847857)

...then this would surely take the prize.

Stars convert matter to energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation as a result of nuclear fusion reactions in the core. Ergo, they shed mass - our own Sun sheds mass at the rate of some 4.2 million tonnes per second (citation [stanford.edu] ). This converts to pure energy, incident at Earths equator at around 1000W/m^-2.

But don't worry, if the iron cycle weren't endothermic then the Sun would be good for another 600 billion years or so...

Faster or slower? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38848683)

From the article:

Even that 4-day pulsation isn't constant: In 1844, it was about 12 minutes slower than it is now.

This long record, from 1844 to the present, shows that the pulse of Polaris runs about 4.5 seconds slower every year.

So is it getting faster or slower?

Horseshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38848881)

Hokuto Shinken is invincible!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?