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Nemesis, the Sun's Binary Star Companion?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the burning-brother dept.

Space 271

0xC2 writes "The Binary Companion or 'Nemesis' theory asserts that a yet-to-be discovered companion to our Sun may actually exist. Recent observations of two nearby stars (assumed companions) show debris disks 'strikingly like the Kuiper Belt int the outer part of our Solar System'. The Binary Research Institute site is devoted to the theory, and presents a concise introduction, list of evidence, and sample calculations in support of the theory. A fascinating read, although the physics and related calculations are not trivial." Has the 'unique theory on the internet' vibe to it, but interesting nonetheless.

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

SHUT YOUR CUM REPOSITORY ZONK (-1, Offtopic)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524380)

You goddamned faggot.

Nemesis of Sun? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524385)

Isn't that Microsoft? Oops... Wrong article...

MOD Parent FUNNY (0, Offtopic)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524513)

If I only had mod points....

Actually, Please Don't (0, Flamebait)

irritating environme (529534) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524707)

Not funny. Not. Funny. It's Not. Sorry.

Re:Actually, Please Don't (1)

masdog (794316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524762)

To each their own.

Listen (0, Offtopic)

PacketScan (797299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524388)

Seti have anything to say about this?

Re:Listen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524500)

No.

Re:Listen (3, Interesting)

bmgoau (801508) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524545)

SETI is the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, they do not involve themselves often in cosmological debates, instead they focus on mapping radio signals from numorus star systems. The radio signals they recieve however have led cosmologists to discover a number of special objects in space.

NASA might have been a better choice for inclusion in your parent post, or better yet a astonomological group.

Re:Listen (1)

Dr. Sorenson (947697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524599)

The Sun, like every other object in the solar system, orbits the center of gravity in the solar system. A star must been at least 20 Jupiter masses to induce hydrogen fusion and this would. Considering the center of mass in the solar system just above the surface of the sun, there cannot be a companion star.

Re:Listen (1)

sponge_absorbent (588860) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524668)

The Sun IS the center of gravity in the solar system. The Sun orbits the center of our galaxy. Your assumption is faulty.

Re:Listen (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524703)

Umm...no. The center of gravity of the Solar system is slightly outside the stellar body in the system, a yellow dwarf with eight known planets in stable near-circular orbits, as well as several large icy objects of near-planetary size in eccentric orbits at significantly greater distance.

Solar Evil? (2, Funny)

Ardeocalidus (947463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524389)

I sense an evil twin joke coming on.....

Re:Solar Evil? (2, Funny)

spawnofbill (757153) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524418)

So, does it have a goatee or what?

Sorry, had to.

Re:Solar Evil? (1, Funny)

Bonker (243350) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524596)

Why, when there are so many Sailor Moon jokes that are begging to be made?

Re:Solar Evil? (1)

zardo (829127) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524607)

It's the bizarro sun, harboring a bizarro earth

Internet bullshit pseudoscience (5, Funny)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524390)

On a scale of "faked moon landing" to "electric universe", I rate this 'theory' a solid "roswell alien autopsy"

Re:Internet bullshit pseudoscience (0, Redundant)

PacketScan (797299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524400)

oMg that's beautiful.

Re:Internet bullshit pseudoscience (2, Funny)

geofferensis (808339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524505)

Is your Internet BS pseudo-science scale protected by some form of intellectual property law? I would very much like to use it to make some jokes with, but I don't want to run into any problems by infringing on your intellectual property.

Thank you,

Re:Internet bullshit pseudoscience (4, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524597)

I'd put it closer to "Da Vinci Code" on the scale.

Re:Internet bullshit pseudoscience (4, Informative)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524614)

You laugh, but this guy has written his own book and everything. According to the summary of his book:

Ancient folklore from around the world rings with two resonating themes: History moves in cycles with alternating Golden and Dark Ages, and the slow movement of the stars across the sky, the Precession of the Equinox, is the cause and timekeeper of these cycles. For years we have heard that these are only myths, there was no Golden Age and precession is just a wobbling of the Earth's axis. Now "Lost Star of Myth and Time" shows evidence the Ancients were not just weaving fanciful tales - science is on the verge of an amazing discovery - our Sun has a companion star carrying us through a great cycle of stellar influences. If true, it means the Ancients were right and our views of space and time and the history of civilization will never be the same. More than that, it would mean we are now at the dawn of a new age in human development and world conditions.

And the book gets a rave review from none other than the influential LA Yoga Magazine. You can't argue with a major astrophysical journal like that (http://www.loststarbook.com/ [loststarbook.com] ). Clearly, this man and his theories demand to be taken seriously. Thank you, Zonk, for continuing to bring us only the finest in science journalism.

Re:Internet bullshit pseudoscience (5, Funny)

Melfina (872932) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524652)

"You laugh, but this guy has written his own book and everything. According to the summary of his book:"

Dr. Seuss has written books also~ :p

Re:Internet bullshit pseudoscience (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524777)

A prime example of very good books.

010000100110100101101110011000010111001001111001 (5, Funny)

RequiemX (926964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524393)

01010011011010000110111101101111011101000010000100 100000010101110110010100100000 01101100011010010111011001100101001000000110100101 101110001000000110000100100000 01100010011010010110111001100001011100100111100100 100000011100110111100101110011 01110100011001010110110100111111

Re:01000010011010010110111001100001011100100111100 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524411)

Let me be the first to say I whole-heartedly agree

MOD PARENT UP (2, Informative)

imaginieus (897756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524569)

If you convert that message back to ASCII, you will find that it is ontopic and actually quite funny.

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524600)

Also if you convert it to EBCDIC it looks like gibberish, so -- 'No' don't mod (grand) parent up as funny...

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

RequiemX (926964) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524758)

I would accept that criticism only if your reply was composed on an IBM mainframe. I worked hard on my little ASCII-binary converter. Got an "A" on it in Fortran Programming. Damn right: Fortran. BOW!

Re:MOD PARENT UP (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524776)

My reply was written by a program I wrote on punchcards and ran it on an IBM mainframe -- so there! I'll see your Fortran and raise it by a punchard reader!

Re:01000010011010010110111001100001011100100111100 (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524628)

Shoot! We live in a binary system?
If you live in the Matrix you do. ;)

Re:01000010011010010110111001100001011100100111100 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524639)

01001001001000000111010001101000011010010110111001 10101100100000011000100111100100100000001001110110 01100111010101101110011011100111100100101100001001 11001000000111010001101000011001010010000001101101 01101111011001000111001100100000011011010110010101 10000101101110011101000010000000100111011000010110 11100110111001101111011110010110100101101110011001 110010111000100111

By now? (1)

Ardeocalidus (947463) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524404)

If this were an actuality, not only would we have been able to detect the gravitational pull on our Sun, we would've also caught the planetary drift due to the moving sun.

Unless our sun is slowly orbiting some dark, dank mass of anti-matter, I believe we can put this theory to rest.

Re:By now? (1)

Descalzo (898339) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524558)

I thought that was explained by the huge orbit (like 1-3 lightyears). I guess with a big enough orbit, it might be really hard to detect the pull on our Sun.

Re:By now? (5, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524684)

I don't think you truly appreciate how BIG our solar system is. If there's a twin to our star, it would seem so far away that it would seem like it had nothing to do with us. e.g. From Pluto, our Sun looks like nothing more than a particularly bright star. Now given how far away this star would be, its gravitational effects might be difficult to detect. In fact, IIRC, there are still quite a few odd effects that the discovery of Pluto didn't quite account for. (Not big enough.) So maybe we've finally found our Planet X. Except that it isn't a planet at all. :-)

Re:By now? (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524715)

And no, I'm not saying that I agree with guy. Just pointing out that it's not as simple as it seems.

Dupe.... (-1, Flamebait)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524405)

...I read a similar article about the sun.

cool! (3, Funny)

patcito (932676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524406)

As the slashdot crowd is pretty much clueless about astronomy I expect lots of Funny rated comments to hide our ignorance on the subject, right guys?

Re:cool! (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524423)

Actually, the understanding of astronomy to explain why this "theory" is utter bullshit isn't really what you need. What you DO need is an understanding of classical mechanics. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one here who knows enough classical mechanics to see the faults in their arguments in about 5 seconds.

As an aside, an understanding of nonlinear dynamics is also helpful to see various other flaws in their reasoning.

Re:cool! (0, Flamebait)

patcito (932676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524546)

Yeah and I'm sure with the bit of knowledge you have about "dynamics" is enough to contradict scientists that work full time on it and who are real astronomers. How lucky we are here on slashdot to have the most brilliant people on earth that can contradict specialists even when then know barely nothing about the subject. Yeah right...

Re:cool! (5, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524561)

Actually I am a physicst, and while I'm not an astronomer, I do work with "dynamics" on a fulltime basis.

Not to mention, all but one real astronomer also think this theory is ridiculous. The site linked is by an AMATEUR astronomer, not someone with a formal training in the hard sciences. I'm not contradicting a specialist, I'm contradicting a whackjob internet troll. No, not you - the guy with the binary solar system website.

Re:cool! (2, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524631)

I would like to point out that, separate from this issue, amateur astronomers are quite capable and in some instances have equipment rivaling professional gear. IIRC, something like 50% of newly discovered bodies in the solar system are found by amateur astromers. Their huge number of eyes is an invaluable resource to the scientific community.

Tycho Brahe was an amateur astronomer.

Re:cool! (2, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524718)

Equipment and ability to catalog objects - yes, absolutely. Anyone with a little money and time has the capability to make an amazing discovery. They do NOT, however, have the intense mathematical training to rigorously support a THEORY about said discovery. That doesn't make their discovery any less significant, but making a discovery and arguing a theory are very different things.

Re:cool! (1)

CuriHP (741480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524765)

Having all the tools is a step in the right direction, but it's not everything.

You can put me in a garage filled with all kinds of automotive tools. It doesn't mean I'd be abe to fix my car.

Re:cool! (1)

steve_bryan (2671) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524602)

Actually, the understanding of astronomy to explain why this "theory" is utter bullshit isn't really what you need. What you DO need is an understanding of classical mechanics. And I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one here who knows enough classical mechanics to see the faults in their arguments in about 5 seconds.

Do you realize that binary star systems are not at all rare? In many cases one of the pair is not detectable by visible light because it is a brown dwarf or some other hard to detect case. So what in your understanding of classical mechanics makes this sort of investigation utter folly (in under 5 seconds no less). Bear in mind that what appear to be reputable scientists have investigated the possibility but obviously without positive results so far. I imagine that some of these scientists may even match your knowledge of classical mechanics and nonlinear dynamics.

Re:cool! (5, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524704)

Yes I do realize binary star systems are not rare. Not detecting it by visible light is exactly WHY classical mechanics comes into play - all you're really doing is dealing with a bunch of forces that go like 1/r^2. Investigating it for the sake of completeness is certainly not folly - however the arguments on the website linked in the article are nonsense.

I can't find it again at the moment - but I saw somewhere that they implied that the inaccuracy of predictions in precession over time was a result of our current theories being flawed, and that the binary theory somehow magically removed this inaccuracy. This is an example of the utter bullshit that anyone with an understanding of nonlinear dynamics would notice immediately. You're dealing with a many-body system here. That's inherently chaotic. That means, it's exponentially sensitive to initial conditions. Therefore, as time goes on your results get worse and worse due to small measurement errors in your initial conditions. NO MODEL can remove this effect and still claim to use newtonian physics - the equations are nonlinear and involve more than three objects interacting - therefore the equations of motion are chaotic. Period.

OF COURSE YOU CAN GET MORE ACCURATE RESULTS WHEN YOU PUT IN AN IMAGINARY EXTRA OBJECT - you can TUNE the parameters of this object arbitrarily to try to fit the experimental data. If I collect a bunch of data from all kinds of experiments, I can easily find a tenth order polynomial and get a very accurate fit to the data. This is also completely meaningless because all those fit parameters have no physical meaning.

Re:cool! (4, Funny)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524438)

As the slashdot crowd is pretty much clueless about astronomy I expect lots of Funny rated comments to hide our ignorance on the subject, right guys?

You'd like to think so, wouldn't you? But as everyone knows, this is a matter for astrologers, which you clearly are not. Otherwise you'd know that making jokes about jokers joking to obscure their ignorance is itself merely a joke of an argument, so we cannot, even jokingly, take the argument in front of you.

Re:cool! (1)

patcito (932676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524463)

You'd like to think so, wouldn't you? But as everyone knows, this is a matter for astrologers, which you clearly are not. Otherwise you'd know that making jokes about jokers joking to obscure their ignorance is itself merely a joke of an argument, so we cannot, even jokingly, take the argument in front of you.

I'm confused, was that a joke?

Re:cool! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524465)

Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

Re:cool! (1)

notsoanonymouscoward (102492) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524686)

and this.. is why I still come to /.

Re:cool! (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524598)

I hope you don't have a problem with that. However, I don't think all the funny-rated posts can block out the light from a twin star, so it certainly can't be there. It must be that pluto once was a star, but since space is a vacuum, it couldn't keep burning, and the gas froze into the chunk of rock we're still questioning as being a planet. To hell with fusion! Actually... that'd probably have kept it ablaze.

License? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524437)

Will the source code be available?

Beam me up...Scotty (0)

threedognit3 (854836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524439)

I'd like to know what Captain Kirk would say about this.

Re:Beam me up...Scotty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524444)

"...It's hype Jim, but nobody believes it anyway..."

Nemesis Blamed for Periodic Extinction (4, Informative)

Mrs. Grundy (680212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524442)

Scientific Amercian ran a story several years ago about this. One of the pet theories at the time was that periodic extinctions (which haven't been proven periodic) were caused by objects like comets getting kicked out of the Oort every now and then which could in turn be explained by just such a neighbor star. Nasa has a (very short) page here: Imagine the Universe [nasa.gov]

Re:Nemesis Blamed for Periodic Extinction (1)

mgar (890522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524482)

That may be the case, but it doesn't explain the theory that is proposed that the the nemesis star is of a similar size to our sun. Also, could the gravitational pull from a star tens of light years away explain this. Seems far fetched at best.

Not likely (3, Interesting)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524458)

An actual brown dwarf isn't likely given scarce evidence but there seems to be reason to believe there are one or more large Kupier Belt objects yet to be found. I've read about gravitational anomalies for years now but they just don't seem large enough to indicate a failed star close enough to call us a near miss binary system. I guess if all the outer planets merged we'd have the makings of a brown dwarf but as we are the system seems to be one of those rare single star systems.

Re:Not likely (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524665)

Nope, jupiter is about only 1/8 the mass needed to make it a proper brown dwarf, and it's far and away the most massive of the planets, throw in Saturn and all the other planets, plus the asteroid belt, and all known Kupier Belt objects, and you're only up to about 3/8 or so of a brown dwarf at the very most, and I'm being generous.

Re:Not likely (2, Interesting)

arminw (717974) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524710)

.....as we are the system seems to be one of those rare single star systems......

Good thing for us that there isn't another object the mass of the sun within about 3.8 light years of earth. Even as it is, the planets do influence one another's orbits, but their masses and spacing are such as to keep the earth's orbit from getting too elliptical. Because of the nearly circular orbit, the distance to the sun is constant enough keep the temperature within the bounds needed for life. Another object approaching the mass of the sun would force the orbit to be more elliptical, which would make this planet unsuitable for life as we know it. About half of the known stars are too close to each other for any of those to have a planet that could keep its temperature in the very narrow range wherein water exists in its liquid form. The temperature specs for higher life forms are considerably narrower than this. The nearest star to earth is Alpha Centauri, a nice safe 4.2 light years distant.

How in the world... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524470)

... could we possibly find the outer planets by observing their influence on the inner planets' orbits, if there were a freaking brown dwarf in the neighborhood that we didn't know about?

Something like that would've ruined Kepler's whole day.

Re:How in the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524529)

Something like that would've ruined Kepler's whole day.

It wouldn't be the first time a revolutionary was found wrong, and it certainly will not be the last.
Think of Hwang Woo-suk [wikipedia.org] . Can we please think of Hwang Woo-Suk?

Re:How in the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524555)

Indeed! Can we please think of something to put in the Wikipedia arcticle?!
I can think of several, but I'd rather not start a page off with it being vandalized...

Re:How in the world... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524728)

correct link: Hwang Woo-Suk [wikipedia.org]

Re:How in the world... (1)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524645)

How in the world could we possibly find the outer planets by observing their influence on the inner planets' orbits, if there were a freaking brown dwarf in the neighborhood that we didn't know about?
Maybe because we looked outside our world? You know, in that big thing they call "the universe"? It's just a thought....

Re:How in the world... (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524740)

If you mean the detection of Neptune and Pluto by calculation, those calculations predicted amazingly accurately where both those planets would be found... considering that they had numerous errors in them.

They kept looking for Pluto because Neptune kept exhibiting weirdness. Pluto wasn't anywhere near the size they were looking for. I'm not sure if they eventually decided that all those calculations were erroneous or whether there are really perturbations in Neptune and Uranus' orbit that could be caused by a tenth planet.

Anyway, those mathematical planet discoveries were accidents.

BIG error in article summary (4, Insightful)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524508)

The summary states...

Recent observations of two nearby stars (assumed companions)

Whereas the space.com article states...

Each of the two disks has a sharp outer edge that might be caused by an unseen companion star

READ THAT AGAIN FOLKS - they are NOT assuming these two stars are companions. They are NOT a binary star system. They are simply two stars that have similar disks as our own solar system. They think a POSSIBLE cause for these disks MIGHT be an unseen companion, but NO unseen companion has been seen. This discovery leads NO MORE CREDIBILITY to the nemesis "theoory" whatsover - all it says is that there are other stars with similar structures to our own. The cause of this structure has not been observed.

Re:BIG error in article summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524532)

Wouldn't an unseen companion being seen be a paradox. Or a pair of docks.

Re:BIG error in article summary (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524548)

Indeed - that was intentional to point out the absurdity of using this observation to try to justify the binary system argument. All this has done is brought up the same nonsense people have been laughing off since the 80's.

Re:BIG error in article summary (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524679)

All this has done is brought up the same nonsense people have been laughing off since the 80's.
The 1880's, you mean, right?

Re:BIG error in article summary (1)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524727)

The first mention of this binary solar system concept I could find was by a physicist in the 1980's - have you seen something that came earlier?

Re:BIG error in article summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524534)

NO unseen companion has been seen

No fucking shit.

Re:BIG error in article summary (1)

0xC2 (896799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524726)

Ouch! Yes I erred large there. Still the binary star idea is an interesting possibility. Ranks with the possibility of intelligent life on other planets, meaning it's controversial,there is rational and reasonable arguments for it, but not close to being proven.

Twin stars... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524514)

Twins are hot!

Re:Twin stars... (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524766)

That's the general idea, y'know, giant mass of burning gas and all. Oh.. wait.. OH!

I don't think so... (3, Insightful)

PieSquared (867490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524516)

At the distances involved (in the outer reaches of the kupier belt, about a light year), I guess we wouldn't really notice anything but a brighter star, but I still don't really think this is a possibility. Do the math: v=sqrt(Gm/r) where G is 6.67*10^-11, m is the mass of our sun, and r is the distance between them... 1.21746415*10^-6 meters per second orbital velocity. That's about one meter every 9.5 earth years. Anyone else think that seems a bit... unlikley? Also, the of gravity between the earth and the sun is about 1000 times as strong as with another star of the sun's mass one light year away. I don't think such a system would be stable, as a large astroid passing close to one might well pull it enough out of "orbit," if you can call such a small speed "orbit," so that you'd notice it was no longer binary. For the record, at one AU distance, it would take the system 5.64701404*10^17 years for an orbit. That's like 10 order of magnitude longer then the sun's life span.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524578)

The outer reaches of the Kuiper belt are nothing like a light-year away. They're around 50 Astronomical Units, 1/4000 of a light-year.

Also, note that there are stars that orbit each other that far apart. So your intution has led you astray.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524675)

But are there stars orbiting that distance with planetary systems? I would think that such proximity would perturb the hell out of whatever was there. The only analogue I can think of is the earth-moon system, where the only satellites are artificial and maintiained by active thrusting. (and maybe pluto-charon, but we won't know much more about that for a decade)

Re:I don't think so... (1)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524737)

At that distance, the planet systems are probably OK. You get distruption with closer binaries, but a light-year is pretty far out. A factor of 4000 in distances leads to a factor of 16 million in gravitational accelerations, after all.

Even in the Earth-Moon system, the Moon's effects on satellites is minor. (Drag from the atmosphere is a far bigger player and the main need for thrusters in most cases.)

Re:I don't think so... (1)

notnAP (846325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524624)

For the record, at one AU distance, it would take the system 5.64701404*10^17 years for an orbit. That's like 10 order of magnitude longer then the sun's life span.


I'm taking your calcualtions for granted. But this seems to pretty well blow this puppy out of the water. Even if such a star were to exist, I can hardly see us as a binary pair. More like two ships passing in the night, sharing a very slight influence on each other's systems via gravity.

Re:I don't think so... (1)

miro f (944325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524729)

There's no need to take the calculation for granted. You can work it out yourself. here's a hint: 1 AU = the distance from the Sun to the Earth

Re:I don't think so... (2, Informative)

miro f (944325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524721)

For the record, at one AU distance, it would take the system 5.64701404*10^17 years for an orbit. That's like 10 order of magnitude longer then the sun's life span.

you might have to check your maths there. I haven't checked the validity of your other calculations but considering you let this whopper through I can probably dismiss them all as false, since it doesn't lend you much credability. Anyone with a basic grasp of astrophysics would know that an orbit at a distance 1 AU around our Sun takes exactly 1.0 Earth years to complete. It doesn't need to be calculated because we have a good example of this kind of orbit (eg. our planet).

Rotation time depends on the object being rotated around, not the object doing the rotation. Of course, when you're talking about a companion star, it's gravity is large enough to change this, however, because the gravitic pull between the two objects is greater, the orbit is shorter.

go buy yourself a new calculator

Re:I don't think so... (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524760)

There must be something wrong with your math... the reason they picked an orbit that far out was because the star needs to have a 20-30 million year orbit. An orbit that's 10^17 years doesn't fit.

Uh, huh huh huhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh (0, Offtopic)

xsspd2004 (801486) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524519)

He said, "Kuiper Belt".

That's not news. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524537)

You guys heard that the Earth is flat, too, right?

Been there, done that, got the (novel)? (4, Informative)

BadEvilYoda (935532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524550)

Isaac Asimov has a novel with this exact premise, written in 1989, titled Nemesis (as if you expected something different). "Evil" companion star for the sun which caused all the mass extinctions, etc. Of course, in the novel there are multiple civilizations, a battle over whether Earth should be saved, etc... but the basic premise is the same. 17 years later, still just as fictional as it was then.

Re:Been there, done that, got the (novel)? (2, Funny)

miro f (944325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524693)

wait a second... in that novel Nemisis was on a collision course with our sun! We're all screwed!

Small World (0)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524553)

If a water molecule can have two hydrogen atoms, why can't our sun have a companion ?

What? (5, Informative)

CheshireCatCO (185193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524564)

You don't need a companion to produce a sharp edge in the Kuiper belt. Simulations have shown that. Anyone who makes the assertion that the edges suggest such a thing ought to have at least become familiar with that research.

Furthermore, the analogy to Saturn's rings is, I suspect, misleading. The moons that directly shape the outer edge of the A ring are close to the ring and small. (They are tied to other moons via resoances so the whole system is strung together, but that's not what's being argued for here.) A star would be much more massive than the Kuiper belt and would seriously disrupt the system rather than maintain it. (It would also be pretty obvious if it were just beyond the orbit of the outer edge of the Kuiper belt. We'd feel it here, for a start.) A more distant star might be able to hold back the edge of the belt with a resonance, but that's a different thing. And odds are that such a companion would destroy a belt more readily than maintain it. (Look at Jupiter and the asteroid belt.)

It should also be noted that 300 million years is a short time in solar system terms. It's even shorter for the outer solar system where it's about one million orbits. Since things move slowly and there is little material out there, spreading is very slow. Ones the material is placed there by a larger body (like Neptune), it tends to stay put for quite a while.

Simple Calculations (2, Funny)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524572)

The site presents simple calculations to suppot their claim!

I would think for such a claim one would need more than just simple calculations .

But anyway, in other news: "Dark matter coming to a store near you."

Slashdot Horoscope! (2, Insightful)

GodHammre (730029) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524579)

With all this pseudoscience crap floating around on slashdot we should open a horoscope section. It would make sense. But in all seriousness there is a possibility of a binary companion, but, this site is nothing more than pseudoscience. It dresses up a crazy astrology theory with a little bit of modern scientific sounding language. Be careful about what you post.

Re:Slashdot Horoscope! (1)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524731)

But they'd all be "You won't get layed..."

I, for one... (0, Offtopic)

askadog (917061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524601)

... welcome our nemismatic overlords.

Could someone explain what the hell this is about? (3, Insightful)

JourneyExpertApe (906162) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524623)

Are they suggesting that there may be a nearby star that astronomers have just failed to see for the past few millenia that we've been studying the sky? I thought the nearest star was light years away. Is it a very dim star? I don't get it!

The idea's been around for a while (3, Informative)

Dh5 (869425) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524625)

http://www.exitmundi.nl.nyud.net:8090/Nemesis.htm [nyud.net]
I actually re-read this article the other day. I had been visiting the site because of an odd 43 degree F temperature change overnight, and decided to check on that again. A temperature change of such a large amount, overnight, is not normal at all during January in NY. All the snow melted overnight.

That's odd... (0)

Sheepdot (211478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524640)

...from what I remember, Star Trek X wasn't that big.

Can we really call it a sun if (0)

Rooked_One (591287) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524657)

it doesn't give us a sunburn? Come now

HAL 9000 posting here,from the AE-35 antenna!!!!!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14524730)

All these world are yours except Europa.
Use them together.
Use them in peace. :hammertime:

It's behind the sun (1)

Centurix (249778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524735)

As a kid I always liked the notion that there was something hidden behind the sun that rotates at a certain speed so as it is constantly hidden from us.

Re:It's behind the sun (1)

miro f (944325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524741)

for an object to rotate at a speed to be behind the sun all the time, it needs to be the same distance away from the sun as us

I have a feeling a sun that far away would be pretty noticable

Re:It's behind the sun (1)

eluusive (642298) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524815)

Who told you that? It needs to have the same ANGULAR velocity as us, which doesn't require being the same distance away at all. Given that orbits are not circular however complicates the calculates a lot, but it is possible.

'News' for nerds this aint (1)

ShieldWolf (20476) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524744)

The 'Nemesis' theory is decades old, Isaac Asimov even wrote a book [amazon.com] using this premise in the '80s!

When you are scooped by a work of fiction that is over 16 years old, you either have some serious problems with you research dept. or it is a VERY slow news day.

Score! (3, Funny)

NemesisStar (619232) | more than 8 years ago | (#14524790)

I knew that getting this username before anyone else would one day pay dividends! Username/name of star are inspired by the Isaac Asimov novel "Nemesis" by the way.
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