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!

Dying Star Weaves a Trillion-Mile-Wide Spiral In the Sky

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the show-off dept.

Space 46

The Bad Astronomer writes "Using the newly-commissioned ALMA radio observatory, astronomers have taken detailed images of one of the most amazing objects in the sky: the red giant R Sculptoris (abstract). As the star dies, it undergoes gigantic seizures beneath its surface that blast out waves of gas and dust from the surface. These normally expand into a spherical shell, but the presence of a nearby companion star changes things. The combined orbits of the two stars fling out the material like a garden sprinkler, forming enormous and incredibly beautiful spiral arms. Measuring the size and shape of the spiral shows the last eruption was 1800 years ago, lasted for nearly two centuries, and expelled enough material to make a thousand earths."

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

:P (4, Funny)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#41611293)

That's nothing. I could do that as a kid with Spirograph. :P

Re::P (0)

CosaNostra Pizza Inc (1299163) | about 2 years ago | (#41611325)

Even more impressive...I was first post.

Re::P (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41611501)

Even more impressive...I was first post.

About damned time, too. Where is everybody today?

Re::P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611709)

Working, this isn't reddit...

Re::P (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41612703)

I'm rather inclined to think that as far impressiveness is concerned, being an owner of a trillion-mile-wide Spirograph beats any number of first posts, hands down.

Re::P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41612779)

That's nothing. I could do that as a kid with Spirograph. :P

The real one doesn't have a wonky green pen line across it where the wheel came off, though.

Re::P (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 2 years ago | (#41616087)

pics or it didnt happen

Stellar death by Goatse (0)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about 2 years ago | (#41611383)

You can call that beautiful if you want. Ewww!

That is not a dying star (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | about 2 years ago | (#41611399)

That is Sauron taking a close look at you

Yet More Proof That God Exists! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611403)

Only God could create something so beautiful!

Re:Yet More Proof That God Exists! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611449)

Whose g-d(s)?

Re:Yet More Proof That God Exists! (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | about 2 years ago | (#41611461)

Sauron is watching us...

Re:Yet More Proof That God Exists! (1)

dwye (1127395) | about 2 years ago | (#41614387)

Eye of Kdapt! Don't you know that Sauron's Eye was shaped like a cat's, not a spiral.

Enough material to make a thousand earths. (3, Insightful)

sconeu (64226) | about 2 years ago | (#41611433)

Could someone please put that in more standard units, such as either VW beetles if they're talking about mass, or Olympic-sized swimming pools, if they're talking about volume?

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (1)

MikeyC01 (231948) | about 2 years ago | (#41611905)

If everything moves to the metric system how will we measure things without units like

- libraries of congress
- earths
- olympic sized swimming pools
- shittons (although there are metric shittons)

??

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41613179)

If everything moves to the metric system how will we measure things without units like...

Unambiguously.
Aside from that, I couldn't give >0.3 millifucks.

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611993)

Can we use Olympic size swimming pools at standard temperature and pressure to represent mass? It would be nice to standardize on something.

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (4, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#41612115)

Our modern metric system was long ago based on:
one meter is equal to one ten-millionth of the length of the Earth's meridian along a quadrant through Paris.
And the old definition of a gram was:
the absolute weight of a volume of water equal to the cube of the hundredth part of the meter, at the temperature of melting ice.

So technically our measurement for length is based on the size of the earth. And our measurement for mass is based on our measurement for length and there-by indirectly based on the size of the earth. So using the earth as a unit of measurement is perfecting in line with the metric system. Even if we have, in recent years refined those measurements using light waves and such so we can apply them to nonsense like atoms.

I guess I'm nitpicking, but so are you ;-p

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (4, Funny)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 2 years ago | (#41612397)

So the metric system is based on science, while the Imperial system is based on the crap someone could find in their near vicinity to measure with, like the nearest stone, hand, foot, or how long their horse could ride before working up a sweat. I would suggest then the modern Imperial measurement system is based on American football field lengths, amount of concrete in a sidewalk between New York and Chicago, Phelps sized swimming pools, and how far their Hemi V8 engine can drive before requiring a tank-up. You know, the stuff God gave us to measure with instead of some bullshit sciencey mumbo-jumbo.

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#41612925)

Well, no... they were both based on nonsense to begin with. The original meter was probably just an arm length or something silly. The only reason the metric system makes more sense is because it's base 10, which is what our common numerical system is based on. The only reason that base 10 is common is because we have 10 fingers. So the metric system is common because people could count on their fingers to make sense of it easier. I don't think that makes it more "Scientific", it just makes it so you don't have to use a pencil to do simple math.

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41615361)

It's not just base 10, but also has units that are all interrelated. Good luck figuring out how many cubic inches are in a gallon.

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (1)

RaceProUK (1137575) | about 2 years ago | (#41617725)

Done [wolframalpha.com]

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619041)

Back in my day... sometime between 1900 and the 60s, the litre was defined in terms of a kilogram of water and actually disagreed with the exact conversion with cubic centimeters. Good luck figuring out the conversion, as it required some precise equipment and advanced skills...

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (2)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 2 years ago | (#41615083)

How come you're posting in English, rather then Esperanto or Loglan? Remember, all natural human language is based on "the crap someone could find in their near vicinity"?

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | about 2 years ago | (#41612287)

Earth's mass, roughly enough to remember easily: 6x10^24 kg

Don't forget to renew your geek card...

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#41613379)

Earth is 100 mole of 1kg masses!

Or, approximately 1000 mole of Townsend's moles.

Does that help? No? Okay.

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#41613393)

Did I just get Avogadro's Number wrong by a factor of 10?

Anyone have a Bat'leth I can commit geek seppuku with?

Re:Enough material to make a thousand earths. (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41614063)

Old Beetles or new Beetles?

Its a sign (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611465)

from Jesus that when we die our souls will be sprinkled over the grave yard or inside the furnace.

We at NASA are first to welcome the almighty sprinkling cosmic overlords...

Our greatest scientists here in the NASA (Nigerian Astronomical Space Association) have manufactured a medicine from the holy dust from these stars and we are giving discounts only to our fellow /. believers.

One vial for only $1399.99.

Other currencies and Bitcoins accepted

God blass you all

older than itself (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | about 2 years ago | (#41611481)

FTA:

... Others fade away slowly over hundreds of billions of years, longer than the cosmos has been around.

Is it just me or does that not make sense?

Re:older than itself (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611507)

I presumed that it meant that they will fade away for hundreds of billions of years (into the future).

Re:older than itself (1)

Bob-taro (996889) | about 2 years ago | (#41620147)

I presumed that it meant that they will fade away for hundreds of billions of years (into the future).

I see, it was just me then. Thanks.

Re:older than itself (3, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41611577)

Is it just me or does that not make sense?

The universe is a little younger than 14 billion years old. If it takes a hundred billion years for a star to fade away, that's six times the length the universe has existed up to this point.

Re:older than itself (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41612139)

It's just you.

Hey everybody, it's Phil Plait! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611613)

Astroturfing again, eh, Phillip? Nice way to push your own blog. That kind of thing is frowned on most of the time but have heart... they'll give you a pass on it for unknown reasons. I hope you thank these people for drumming up traffic for your page so that you can continue to make yuorself feel important on the internet. Those advertising bucks sure must go far for you. You always link to your own site and you never get involved in the conversations. It's all about serving the mighty Phil.

Re:Hey everybody, it's Phil Plait! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41612253)

Still trolling Bad Astronomer, anonymously, I see. Must be awful to have so little self-esteem that you have to whine about something so petty.

Re:Hey everybody, it's Phil Plait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41612847)

People submit stories linking to their own blog all the time on Slashdot. And mostly people only complain when that blog is just a copy-paste of a more authoritative source without a link to the original source. In this case, the summary has a direct link to the original paper (which is almost exceptional toward the good side of story summaries or even science journalism in general), and the linked blog adds considerable, original written content.

The fact you only care when one particular person does this and bother to reply with this to many of his submissions suggests you have some sort of personal problem that you are hiding behind such an empty and transparent complaint. Keep up the fight, maybe you will slay one of your personal demons via collateral damage in your oh so noble crusade against a single blogger.

Bullshit... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41611831)

... that was the Romney Campagn, "This is your deficit if you reelect obama"....

trillions and trillions (4, Informative)

Speare (84249) | about 2 years ago | (#41612015)

I can't do Libraries of Congress for linear distance, but I think there's something better than a trillion miles.

So I asked Google for "1 trillion miles in au". An astronomical unit (1 AU) is the Sun-to-Earth orbit's average radius. I forget how many miles that is, and that's kind of the point.

1 trillion miles = 10757.8002 Astronomical Units

To put that in perspective, Earth is in a middle ring of our solar system. Pluto is way out there. I ignored other far-flung rocks like Xena or Gabrielle or whatever they're calling them these days.

Google's Calculator doesn't memorize "radius of pluto's orbit in au" but on the Pluto Fact Sheet [nasa.gov] I found Semimajor axis (AU) 39.48168677.

Diameter of our solar system is then ~80 AU. I did look up the heliopause for a farther "edge of our solar system, and got Starting in May 2012 at 120 AU, Voyager 1 detected a sudden increase in cosmic rays, an apparent signature of approach to the heliopause.. Both are miniscule compared to ~10800 AU for this article's celestial feature.

I remembered that the nearest neighbor star is roughly 4 light years away. Let's not quibble about precision, one digit is enough.

4 light years = 252,958.905 Astronomical Units

Re:trillions and trillions (1)

hackertourist (2202674) | about 2 years ago | (#41617105)

1 trillion miles = 0.17 lightyears.

that's no star (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 2 years ago | (#41612069)

LUKE
Look at him. He's headed for that
red star.

HAN
I think I can get him before he gets
there... he's almost in range.

The red star begins to take on the appearance of a monstrous
glowing spiral aurora.

BEN
That's no star! It's a groovy space
hallucination.

HAN
It's too 1960s Star Trek special effect
to be a groovy space hallucination.

LUKE
I have a very bad feeling about this.
Look, my hands have eyeballs.

HAN
Yeah, I think your right. Everyone vomit
and purge! Chewie, where did you get
those mushrooms you put in last night's
stew?

prospects for novel planetary formation? (2)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#41612687)

If the red giant star is spewing that much matter, and has a companion star that for all practical purposes will greatly outlive its partner, what are the prospects for novel planetary formation from this structure over cosmological time?

I don't mean to be persnicketty but (1)

Progman3K (515744) | about 2 years ago | (#41612977)

Why can't they report it by saying "the star spewed out x% of it's mass" instead of the meaningless "enough material to make a thousand earths"

I mean I appreciate that it lost a lot of material, but I'm more interested in knowing how much that material represents to the star than knowing how may 'earths' I could make out of it.

Re:I don't mean to be persnicketty but (2)

Chris Burke (6130) | about 2 years ago | (#41613805)

If you're interested in knowing more then you should read the article, where the figure you request is given and then converted into the perhaps more meaningful for getting a sense of scale to the average person '# of earths' measurement.

Yay Debian! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41614499)

That's some awesome banner you got up there, the ultimate recognition!

Companion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41615141)

I’m glad you asked! Unlike U Cam, R Sculptoris has a companion. It’s probably a smaller star, like a red dwarf or even something more like the Sun.

Not necessarily glad u asked. It could also be that R Sculptoris itself is spinning, although a companion seems like a better bet.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?