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!

On Second Thought, Polaris Really Does Seem 434 Light Years Away

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the shaggy-dog-story dept.

Space 75

sciencehabit writes with this excerpt from Science Magazine "Last November, astronomer David Turner made headlines by claiming that one of the sky's best known objects—the North Star, Polaris—was actually 111 light-years closer than thought. If true, the finding might have forced researchers to rethink how they calculate distances in the cosmos as well as what they know about some aspects of stellar physics. But a new study argues that distance measurements of the familiar star made some 2 decades ago by the European Space Agency's venerable Hipparcos satellite are still spot on."

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

A First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632295)

Frost Piss for All!

Re:A First (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632375)

I was in a porno shop that had a bunch of video booths in the back.
  After frequently the place a few times, I began to see people showing
off for each other, giving each other handjobs, etc. Then one
time a tall, black guy about 6'3", 200 pounds, kept motioning to
me to join him in his booth. He was dressed in a tank top and shorts.
  Finally I couldn't stand it any longer and I went inside, we closed
the door and each took down our pants. He started to suck me off
and I was so turned on I had to ask him to stop almost immediately
because I was gonna come. Then before I had a chance to even contemplate
  it, he grabbed the back of my head and slammed his ten inch cock
into my mouth. It felt so incredible I couldn't believe it. I
sucked him for about five minutes, the tip of his cock pushing against
the back of my throat, almost making me choke. Then, just from
the adrenelin, the excitement I shot an unbelievable load all over
the floor of the booth. After that I started getting nervous and
left without him shooting his load. Guess it was a good thing afterall,
since I've never had a man shoot in my mouth to this day.

HOW LONG AT WARP 10 ?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632303)

And Warp 11 ?? Can one travel at Warp 11 ??

Re:HOW LONG AT WARP 10 ?? (3, Funny)

rusty0101 (565565) | about 2 years ago | (#42632369)

Oddly enough, the old Russian maxim applies here. One does not travel at warp, warp travels you.

Re:HOW LONG AT WARP 10 ?? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42633161)

Yes, because you see, these go to 11!

Re:HOW LONG AT WARP 10 ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42635161)

At Warp 10 about 43 years, at Warp 11 about 39 years.

Re:HOW LONG AT WARP 10 ?? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#42635277)

Warp 11 is 1331 times the speed of light.
So around 3 months.

Ooops! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632305)

Looks like another mixup between metric and imperial measurement systems. /jk

Alas... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632307)

...eleventy-one light years is far too short a distance to travel among such excellent and admirable stellar phenomena.

Re:Alas... (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#42634091)

Just be glad that the Dark Lord Saturn hasn't found you yet. And don't put his ring on, it's too heavy a burden for you (on the order of 10^19 kg).

Ta3o (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632317)

Only one way to be sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632337)

Start 3D printing a really long string and when we "private space" our way there (for vacations and exploring and what not), just spool out the string and measure it. I mean, physics is just something we can reinvent as we please, and surely we'll find new particles and stuff to totally make this possible, right?

Right?

The most important question... (0)

sabri (584428) | about 2 years ago | (#42632353)

Do they have a Stargate?

Re:The most important question... (1, Offtopic)

witherstaff (713820) | about 2 years ago | (#42632575)

We'll never know. The network that made Stargates decided to stop making Science Fiction and instead just shows wrestling and whatever else constitutes sy fy.

Re:The most important question... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632829)

that pissed me off so much, universe was actually getting quite good....Someone needs to invest in a real scifi network that only show...oh i dunno....science fiction?

A good starting lineup would be stargate, a star wars tv series, A reboot of firefly, and some good old fashioned early 90's anime....

Re:The most important question... (0)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#42633057)

Someone needs to invest in a real scifi network that only show...oh i dunno....science fiction?

A good starting lineup would be stargate, a star wars tv series, A reboot of firefly, and some good old fashioned early 90's anime....

Buffy in Space never belonged on SciFi - it should have been on a premium channel, so they could have shown all the sex they and the audience wanted.
There are TV channels for anime too, at least where I live.

That said, The Channel Formerly Known as SciFi has fallen far indeed. It used to be my starting channel on the TV. Now I prefer the fscking Travel Channel and the mangled rerun channel (a.k.a. BBC America).

Re:The most important question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42633149)

The Learning Channel and Musi TeleVision used to be about something else before executives trained in the way of soap operas (Terrible dorama-do .) they now give us How Fat is Sassy Honey Boo Boo and Look at these Joisey Doofusses.

Re:The most important question... (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42633439)

Dude if you wat Science Fiction, check out the History channel. Every single show is about aliens in one way or another.

Re:The most important question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42636103)

Or WWII footage. Unless you're saying Hitler was an alien

Re:The most important question... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#42633491)

People are getting disappointed with science fiction. We are already in the BTTF future, and there is no flying cars, we are finally getting a hint on how hard is to get out of our solar system, much more to get to another star, and the most accurate sci-fi predictions are dystopias like 1984 or disaster films.

At least Syfy is not as bad as History Channel, they got Continuum after all.

Re:The most important question... (1)

evafan76 (2527608) | about 2 years ago | (#42636415)

that pissed me off so much, universe was actually getting quite good....Someone needs to invest in a real scifi network that only show...oh i dunno....science fiction?

A good starting lineup would be stargate, a star wars tv series, A reboot of firefly, and some good old fashioned early 90's anime....

I think many SciFi and Anime fans have gotten to the point where they just download or stream or buy DVDs/BluRays (or some combination of the 3) of things they want to watch, which is why I don't think a new SciFi network could be successful. The consumers have moved on to other media.

That said, I wonder why SciFi producers in the west haven't tried to copy the OVA model used by some in the Anime Industry, where some Anime goes direct to DVD. They wouldn't have to deal with having to get their show on a network, and there have been successful OVAs that have multiple (albeit short) seasons.

Re:The most important question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42652289)

That said, I wonder why SciFi producers in the west haven't tried to copy the OVA model used by some in the Anime Industry, where some Anime goes direct to DVD.

In the west, "direct-to-video" is a synonym for "unwatchable crap".

Re:The most important question... (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | about 2 years ago | (#42635591)

SG-1 was on Showtime until season 5.

Re:The most important question... (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | about 2 years ago | (#42632667)

As far as I know Polaris doesn't have any planets, so probably not.

Re:The most important question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42649469)

As far as I know Polaris doesn't have any planets, so probably not.

Doh! Everybody knows is too cold for having planets... Don't you know it is in the north pole?

Good riddance, I say. (4, Funny)

PacRim Jim (812876) | about 2 years ago | (#42632365)

Polaris is a sneaky, underhanded, deceitful star, not to be trusted. Fortunately, in about 15,000 years, it will no longer be the north star. Sir Alop

Re:Good riddance, I say. (3, Funny)

waTeim (2818975) | about 2 years ago | (#42632461)

Oh yea? and I suppose Vega is soooooo much better! She sends us a text to come to her party, but when we get there there are already 8 other dudes hanging out, and we're in the friend-zone!? Small moves? bullshit, that two-timing whore.

A counter-argument... so? (1)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#42632373)

It still doesn't mean that Turner is wrong. Remember Piltdown Man? Even people who are committed to science sometimes still get it terribly wrong.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (1)

fotoguzzi (230256) | about 2 years ago | (#42632411)

Does this discrepancy only exist for Polaris? Do all other stars give the same results for both measurement methods?

Re:A counter-argument... so? (1)

fazey (2806709) | about 2 years ago | (#42632425)

Idk, give me five minutes, i'll go measure again.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (4, Informative)

tqk (413719) | about 2 years ago | (#42632527)

Does this discrepancy only exist for Polaris? Do all other stars give the same results for both measurement methods?

Short read. [wikipedia.org]

You'd think making Hubble take an accurate bead on the thing on Dec. 31 and Jul. 1, then comparing the two readings to triangulate would be all that's needed (basic geometry); nuh uh. How about Type 1a supernovae which ought to all be the same luminosity, or Cepheid Variables, ditto.

Nope. It's not that easy. Fun problem.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (1)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#42632697)

I'd like to know. I can't answer it, but I hope others can eventually.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42633447)

Polaris is the easiest to measure. Anything off axis from our tilt takes a lot more work to measure and get right

Re:A counter-argument... so? (1)

popoutman (189497) | about 2 years ago | (#42634305)

Actually Polaris is not the easiest - it's any stars nearer the Ecliptic Pole, which is based on the Earth's orbit. This is in Draco, and the nearest naked-eye star to the Ecliptic poles are 36 Dra in the northern sky at about 2 degrees from the ecliptic northern pole, and Eta1 Dor at the south ecliptic pole. Surprisingly enough, the LMC is only about 4 degrees from the southern ecliptic pole.
However, Polaris would show the most diurnal parallax, as that is indeed based on the earth's spin.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632415)

Yes, that's why we call it science. If it were never wrong, it would be religion.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (0)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#42632689)

Which of course is exactly why I mentioned the Piltdown Man fiasco, because for some of the people involved science had become a religion. They were too emotionally invested in a particular fact or discovery. It certainly was not the first nor last example of that.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (5, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#42632909)

Like the autism/vaccination link, Piltdown man was a deliberate fraud exposed by scientists themselves, to me these and other famous frauds are strong evidence that science works as advertised. For an honest man capable of introspection, the scientific method (eventually) weeds out wishful thinking, propaganda, and fraud, this is it's strength. It's weakness is in the undocumented assumption that all involved are honest men acting in good faith.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42633653)

I think that last weakness is common to any distributed system. As long as intellectual inquiry must be distributed among many people (because you don't have time to rediscover everything yourself), you have to assume that most of them are acting in good faith

Re:A counter-argument... so? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 2 years ago | (#42634749)

I think that last weakness is common to any distributed system. As long as intellectual inquiry must be distributed among many people (because you don't have time to rediscover everything yourself), you have to assume that the journalists are acting in good faith

Lanney Kekua (1)

Latent Heat (558884) | about 2 years ago | (#42636429)

Forget the Piltdown Man fraud.

Who is implicated in the Lanney Kekua scam?

Is Mr. Mani Te'o innocent in all of this. That he lied about meeting Ms. Kekua so his dad and others wouldn't think less of him for being head-over-heels for a virtual girlfriend?

Does the set of geek dudes who are too shy to have a real girl friend intersect the set of star college football players?

If Mani's musician-dude friend is behind the thing, does the musician have a serious man-crush on Mr. Te'o?

Forget the parallax of Polaris, these are the questions that demand answers.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (-1)

glitch23 (557124) | about 2 years ago | (#42637399)

Yes, that's why we call it science. If it were never wrong, it would be religion.

Except that when attempts or actual proof of being incorrect is exposed concerning issues that could render science incorrect while proving religion correct scientists are silenced by death threats or career assassination threats. And due to these threats, some potential evidence that could have been discovered that proved certain aspects of Christianity as true never even get attempted in the first place for fear of retribution from the scientific community. And yet I thought that science enjoyed furthering their knowledge, they just don't like it when their knowledge ends up being wrong and religion ends up being right otherwise, as long as they can continue making science the de facto source of facts, they are perfectly fine with it. I mean, science has brought us this supposed theory of evolution that now allows people to equate humans to mere animals, when the 2 are not the same despite the DNA showing that we are 90%+ the same.

Case in point, humans can distinguish right from wrong and animals *only* act on instinct. Why wouldn't scientists, with the media assisting, want to keep perpetuating the idea that evolution rules us and silence any attempt at researching opposing views? Because they feel they have an obligation to ensure people get fed secular propaganda at the expense of any potential to learn opposing theories because all the opposing ideas are based on religion and thus, conveniently, have no basis in scientific discussions. It's quite brilliant how the supporters of evolution and surrounding theories have rationalized that in their own heads. They fear being proven wrong in this subject area otherwise they should say 'have at it' just to appease their opponents and enjoy watching them make themselves look like fools. If the scientific community was so confident about a theory like evolution we'd be seeing more opposing ideas being researched and published just to give equal time to them and rule them out using peer reviews. That is what the scientific process is about right? Oh, I'm sorry, that is only acceptable when the opposing ideas aren't based on religion. When they are based on religion they are simply silenced as being crazy fairy tales, which is strange considering scientists have to have faith in some of their very own theories.

Re:A counter-argument... so? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42637607)

Are you serious? Science has to be the worst religion of all.

Just look at any vaccine story comments on this site - fanaticism at its finest. No further research necessary! Vaccines might as well be from God.

Metric Mixup (5, Funny)

nephillim (980798) | about 2 years ago | (#42632435)

Probably an error converting between metric light-years and American light-years.

You are a goat fucker! (1)

For a Free Internet (1594621) | about 2 years ago | (#42632459)

You sniff dog anuses! You are higher than Judy Garland! You from sheer exhaustion on a dead man's chest is punishment enough! You can see the clerk! Devil! Devil! Devil! Devil! Devil! Assgoat! Devil! TV1!!!!

Re:Metric Mixup (4, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#42632777)

The Imperial system uses light fortnights (3.62628957 * 10^14 m), whereas the metric system uses light megaseconds (2.99792458 * 10^14 m).

One light year contains 31.536 light megaseconds, but only 26.07 light fortnights.

:-P

Re:Metric Mixup (0)

sidyan (110067) | about 2 years ago | (#42633455)

As far as I know, everybody uses Parsecs [wikipedia.org] . 1 pc = 648000 / PI * 149597870700 m ~= 3.0856775814913676 * 10^16 m.

Re:Metric Mixup (1)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about 2 years ago | (#42634181)

As far as I know, everybody uses Parsecs [wikipedia.org] . 1 pc = 648000 / PI * 149597870700 m ~= 3.0856775814913676 * 10^16 m.

There are those who argue that Imperial Parsecs measure time.

Re:Metric Mixup (1)

Sigg3.net (886486) | about 2 years ago | (#42638589)

How many wax candles is that?

Re:Metric Mixup (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632847)

Yes, let us join together in mockery of one arbitrary unit of measure over another!

Re:Metric Mixup (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42633107)

To be specific one of the systems have a single arbitrary unit and loads of other units derived from it and the other system went all out and decided that all units should be arbitrary.

Re:Metric Mixup (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42633451)

American Light years are BIGGER, but slower, and usually dont have enough gas mileage to get there.

Holy crap, that does explain the difference!

Confusion (2)

lolococo (574827) | about 2 years ago | (#42632717)

Am I the only one who first read "Solaris Really Does Seem 434 Light Years Away"?
Man, I'm glad I was sitting ..

Re:Confusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632981)

I read it as "Paris Really Does Seem 434 Light Years Away" and was pretty confused about what this is about.

They're both right. (5, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | about 2 years ago | (#42632765)

The Polarans solved FTL travel ages ago, and now use it to troll other civilisations by placing their star along some life-bearing planet's axis of rotation, waiting for people to develop advanced astronomy, then randomly feinting at them to mess with the scientists' heads.

Re:They're both right. (1)

bar-agent (698856) | about 2 years ago | (#42634947)

The Polarans solved FTL travel ages ago, and now use it to troll other civilisations by placing their star along some life-bearing planet's axis of rotation, waiting for people to develop advanced astronomy, then randomly feinting at them to mess with the scientists' heads.

Applying Occam's Razor to the question, you are almost certainly correct.

Re:They're both right. (1)

error_logic (1160341) | about 2 years ago | (#42640505)

If this were Reddit, you'd have Reddit Gold right now. Priceless. :-)

Re:They're both right. (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#42679539)

I figured a ship using a warp drive simply got in the way of the scientists making the measurement, throwing off their calculation with the distorted space-time.

Easy way to decide who's right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632813)

Treat the Universe as a jigsaw puzzle. Figure out some phenomena in space that would be affected by a difference in measurement. If the results using Turner's method would allow the phenomena to fit better with actual knowns, Turner's probably right. There are so many crazy phenomena in the Universe, and I wonder how much of it would be less crazy and more expected if some common beliefs were overturned.

See (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632843)

If we had the Deathstar we could end the controversy with one shot.

any recommendation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42632883)

Can anyone recommend me a site with astronomical news and comments without 90% dumbass failed-funny comments as here on /.?

Re:any recommendation? (1)

Eglaelin (564923) | about 2 years ago | (#42633417)

So let it be written, so let it be done. CosmoQuest [cosmoquest.org]

Re:any recommendation? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#42633459)

Yes, you will utterly love 4chan....

http://boards.4chan.org/sci/ [4chan.org]

Keep looking at it... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about 2 years ago | (#42633037)

... It lunges at you when you turn away or blink.

Re:Keep looking at it... (1)

thorgil (455385) | about 2 years ago | (#42633497)

rename it to "stella endermanis"

It's so very lonely (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#42633403)

It's 1000 light years from home.

Strange methods (3, Interesting)

imsabbel (611519) | about 2 years ago | (#42633427)

Reading up, it turnes out the whole argumentation is exactly the other way round than I would hav eexpected.

You can meassure the distance of stars in multiple ways, most depend on assumptions that can be pretty hard to get right. There is ONE way, though, to accurately determine the distance:

By simple geometry. If you observe the star 6 months apart, you get a trianble with a base of 2AU, which is enough accurately triangulate the distance of stars up to a some 100 ly away.

This was exactly the method used 2 decade ago.

Not this new guy used a very indirect way (measuring the brightness we see the star, guessing its real brightness by looking at spectra and then deciding how far away it must have been), gets a 30% different number and claims his, indirect and error-laden, way is yielding the more correct of the results.

Tard.

Re:Strange methods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42633499)

base of 2AU sounds big but how many AUs are the other two sides?

Re:Strange methods (1)

imsabbel (611519) | about 2 years ago | (#42633753)

A couple millon.

But with stars being point sources, with a telescope you can determine shifts of the center of brightness between stars very very accurately, especially with a sat telescope outside the atmosphere.

There ARE, of course limits, and the method becomes useless for stars many 1000 ly away (in the sense that the indirect methods, despite all their error possibilities, become more accurate), but 400ly is still doable.

Re:Strange methods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42635289)

Hi again, thx for clarifying, so a scale of 1 to million, 1 cm to 10km, that ratio puts an enormous strain on the accuracy of the angles right? If off by even a microscopic amount that would make a huge difference. An the point of light argument - not sure really, the boffins cannot even determine Betelgeuse (sp?) size very precisely because it (apparently) changes as does Polaris FTA.
I am not arguing against the triangulation method and no reason to dump it due to this guys theory - just think that a little more "humble-ness" than your post displayed would be appropriate considering the astonishing scales we are talking about and that even a tiny miscalculation/error would have huge implications.
Of course I could be wrong but that was my point anyway. Cheers.

Re:Strange methods (1)

dougisfunny (1200171) | about 2 years ago | (#42636093)

About 27 million give or take. 1 AU is ~8.3 light minutes, 525949 minutes per year, 434 years.

Re:Strange methods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42638755)

Thx for the feedback.
About 27 million... wow! Sounds more like of a straight line than a triangle to me :)
The angle difference at the two points of the base must be absolutely microscopic.
I know from Kepler planet hunting that science+technology can detect to incredible levels of accuracy but still - that is some triangle !!

Re:Strange methods (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42633801)

By simple geometry. If you observe the star 6 months apart, you get a trianble with a base of 2AU, which is enough accurately triangulate the distance of stars up to a some 100 ly away.

This was exactly the method used 2 decade ago.

Not this new guy used a very indirect way (measuring the brightness we see the star, guessing its real brightness by looking at spectra and then deciding how far away it must have been), gets a 30% different number and claims his, indirect and error-laden, way is yielding the more correct of the results.

So, by your own words, Polaris is too far away to use triangulation. Yet, you insist that's the correct method for finding it's distance. Then end off by calling the guy names.

Re:Strange methods (1)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about 2 years ago | (#42634327)

By simple geometry. If you observe the star 6 months apart, you get a trianble with a base of 2AU, which is enough accurately triangulate the distance of stars up to a some 100 ly away.

This was exactly the method used 2 decade ago.

Not this new guy used a very indirect way (measuring the brightness we see the star, guessing its real brightness by looking at spectra and then deciding how far away it must have been), gets a 30% different number and claims his, indirect and error-laden, way is yielding the more correct of the results.

So, by your own words, Polaris is too far away to use triangulation. Yet, you insist that's the correct method for finding it's distance. Then end off by calling the guy names.

Depends on what he means by "accurately". Certainly not the "off by 25%" the new guy is claiming.

Objects in the mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42634347)

are closer than they appear. Gotta stop using mirrors in telescopes to get accurate readings.

Hell, when I shave in the mirror it looks like I'm like 3 feet away from me... I know I'm much closer than that.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?