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Most Stars Are Single

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the hollywood-allegory dept.

Space 100

An anonymous reader writes to tell us Space.com is reporting that 'for more than 200 years, astronomers thought that most of the stars in our galaxy had stellar companions. But a new study suggests the bulk of them are born alone and never have stellar company.' The key difference seems to come from the difference between the highly turbulent clouds that produce massive stars in groups and the less active smaller clouds that produce red dwarfs."

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I thought this article was about movie stars (0, Offtopic)

Alpha27 (211269) | more than 8 years ago | (#14601929)

Since when does the slashdot community care about Bradiffer?

Re:I thought this article was about movie stars (1)

ncurtain (937487) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603162)

I have no idea but it sure sounds like a place that would appeal to people with a penchant for interesting shapes of glass beads and an history of being left out in the cold.

Mod Funny! He's being PUNNY! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603621)

You know, 'cuz there are stars in the sky and stars in the movies.

Murder by mod is so wrong here.

In other news... (-1, Offtopic)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14601979)

...Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey finalize their divorce, proving that even the biggest stars eventually become single as science has proven time and again.

(And CmdrTaco is still happily married)

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602036)

And CmdrTaco is still happily married

Yes, but are you? Has unfettered capitalism helped?

Myspace.com (5, Funny)

imoou (949576) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602000)

I bet these lonely stars spend most of their time hanging around myspace.com.

Sure. (3, Funny)

IAAP (937607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602002)

With the divorce rate in Hollywood and everything who could blame them for being single! Sure, they're ...

What? RTFA? Huh, you're new here.

Anyway, where was I, oh yeah, Stars and their divorce rate...

RTFA?!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14609913)

That should be: "You must be new here"

It's disappointing... (2, Funny)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602051)

...how often we have to unlearn what we've been taught for so long by scientists. This has been one of the more basic tenets of astronomy, something almost always mentioned when discussing extrasolar planets at any length. And now we're being told that two hundred years of teaching was wrong?

The longer I live, the less enamored I am with science. I was always taught that it's this great infallible thing, that science only knows fact. This is a prime example of just how wrong science can be. I suppose I'm just going to have to become a creationist now, at least they never change their stories.

(that last part was a joke)

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

DocSavage64109 (799754) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602103)

I don't recall a high percentage of other solar systems having one or more planets as a basic tenet of astronomy. Do you have any links to back that up?

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602171)

I think you misread (I wasn't terribly clear about it, sorry).

What I meant was that nearly every time I've heard extrasolar planets discussed at any length, someone makes it a point to say that the vast majority of star systems are binary or trinary, so simple and predictable planetary cycles like ours are rare. The finding that most stars don't have partners changes all that.

Re:It's disappointing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603989)

It doesn't because only the smallest stars are mostly single. Anything bigger has more binaries. But those small stars are so small and dimm that you could also call them giant jupiters. They are just to cold to let a planet have multicelled life and not be grinded down by tidelforces

Re:It's disappointing... (3, Insightful)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602159)

Then you were taught wrong. Science isn't about absolute truth. Science is about finding explanations for phenomena, and making predictions based on those explanations. We can prove the explanations false by providing counterexamples, but we can never prove them to be true. The most we can say about these explanations is that we haven't been able to prove them false, and that as such, they're, AFAWK, pretty good.

Re:It's disappointing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602603)

Then you were taught wrong. Science isn't about absolute truth. Science is about finding explanations for phenomena, and making predictions based on those explanations.

A side effect given that most "scientists" who refer to themselves as experts tout their theories and arguments as facts. You know, like the "Law" of gravity that can't explain galactic rotation. Or the "big bang", a simple-minded backwards extrapolation - because you know extrapolations are as good as real data anyway. Its rather nauseating to hear teachers in high-school and college drone on about these accepted "facts". I guess if its printed in a textbook its a "fact" (textbooks of course are never wrong). The original poster may have been taught wrong, but thats because in this society full of self-righteous expert scientists and teachers who assume they are never wrong, thats all you get.

Re:It's disappointing... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602692)

...a scientific fact is nothing more than a theory with solid evidence to support it, and nothing to contradict it.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604776)

Facts tend to be right, since they are based on observations. Theory can be right or wrong since they try to explain the facts. The 'Law' of gravity means if I drop something it falls. The Theory of Gravity explains why it falls. Scientists NEVER say Theory's are Fact but theorys are made of facts, thats a common mistake today. Only idiot scientist would every state they are correct and never wrong.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14613607)

No, the Theory of Gravity doesn't say WHY it falls, but HOW it falls. Why it falls is anyone's guess. Somehow, masses attract eachother, except on really small distances.

Re:It's disappointing... (2)

bursch-X (458146) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604039)

>"You don't find the grail, the grail finds you." -- The Da Vinci Code

I thought that was only the case in SOVIET RUSSIA...

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

orkysoft (93727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14613676)

I think the whole "You don't find the grail, the grail finds you." stuff is a hint in that direction, yes ;-)

Re:It's disappointing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14609694)

Science isn't about absolute truth.

Are you absolutely certain about that?

Re:It's disappointing... (5, Insightful)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602163)

The longer I live, the less enamored I am with science. I was always taught that it's this great infallible thing,

Whoever taught you were incorrect then. Science's biggest strength is the fact that it is based around the concept that what we know can, and likely is wrong, and that it can only be verified by observing facts.

In this case, it's quite like relativity generalising Newton's laws - for large, easily observable stars, this rule holds true. But more detailed measurements indicate errors which happen in 'special' (or, in truth, more general) condition.

Development in science is nothing to be afraid of - sure, we were wrong in the past, and probably still are, but now we're a little more right. Maybe it's not a big problem, but it's better than sticking our heads in the sand and never learning.

(Besides, everyone knows Astrophysicists aren't real scientists... or at least that's what I tell my friends in that department. They usually don't disagree :) )

Not Real Scientists? (1)

ChiChiCuervo (2445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602382)

Not real scientists huh? Well we'll see what you say when we take another one of your labs and lock you people out of the bathroom on the 3rd floor!!!!

Ha HAA!!

Re:Not Real Scientists? (1)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602435)

Hehe... Yep, that's exactly their response too. Damn overfunded astrophysicists. Their lounge has free chocolate biccies, we don't even have a lounge any more. It's a travesty :(

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

Wombat (6297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602404)

Perhaps they don't disagree because they're too busy pondering scientific conundra to grant a response to your silly remarks. ;-)

Or maybe some Cosmetologists wandered into the wrong building...

Re:It's disappointing... (2, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606462)

Whoever taught you were incorrect then. Science's biggest strength is the fact that it is based around the concept that what we know can, and likely is wrong, and that it can only be verified by observing facts.

I agree with you in both cases, that this is science's greatest strength and it was incorrectly presented.

HOWEVER, I'll also point out that - barring a few scientists that are very forthright about the limits of their knowledge with "Well, we're pretty sure about X, but we don't know how it explains Y..." or "The best we can tell, Z is true. But..." - I *rarely* hear scientists talking about the limits or doubts of their own knowledge. Maybe it's simple human ego, or maybe it's a fear of empowering the creationists, (er "intelligent design advocates"...nahhh creationists is more accurate) but to me science would be a lot more credible if MORE scientists were more forthright about what they know, what they suppose, what they hypothesize, and what they're guessing at.

Go to any undergrad science course. Science is taught as a certain bedrock of facts with no doubt, no questions, and certainly no 'grey' areas.

How's that for ironic? The scientists don't hedge enough, and the politicians hedge too much.

Re:It's disappointing... (2, Insightful)

ZombieWomble (893157) | more than 8 years ago | (#14610163)

Go to any undergrad science course

I dunno, my undergrad particle physics was taught by stepping through all the developments of the 'facts' in that area, showing what evidence demonstrated they went wrong, what the new model was, and so forth. And finished up with modern questions and details of experiments which are working on them. Similarly, one of my QM lecturers loved to set assignments researching the background of open questions or significant limitations in QM as taught. An excellent example of how to teach material from a developing field.

The problem arises when you are teaching material which forms the basis of an established field, which while removed from the cutting edge a bit, but is still effectively a "special case" of some much more general law, which may have a rather different form. Newton's laws are a subset of Relativity, but when you're teaching this material for the first time, introducing this would take a lot of teaching time, which is at a premium in a lot of places now. It is simply more practical to state something as 'fact' when it is not, and clarify it when it's studied at higher levels ("Lies to children" was a nice description of it I heard once).

Of course, I would really like it if some material on the basis of the Scientific Method was taught fairly rigorously to all students at some point - then they would know to ask these questions themselves. Alas, it's another thing which runs up against the requirements of teaching these days.

Re:It's disappointing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602174)

I was always taught that it's this great infallible thing, that science only knows fact.

Obviously, you were taught about science by someone who didn't actually know anything about it. The whole point of science is testing, verifying, and admitting when you're wrong. The only thing that doesn't do that is religion.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

bile (169020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602181)

I agree. The more I dig into the specifics of a lot of which is reported as new fact I find is complete conjecture. If all they have is conjecture and no direct causality... I'm not terribly interested in the findings.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

Hitokiri (220183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602188)

Having to constantly "unlearn" stuff is a good thing, IMHO. It shows that our knowledge base and science is expanding and evolving. What would be disappointing is if these age old "facts" were never rechecked/refuted.

Re:It's disappointing... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602200)

If you're looking to science for Truth, that's where you've gone wrong yourself.

Key word in science: THEORY.

There is no truth.

Re:It's disappointing... (2, Insightful)

JWW (79176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602252)

Science is the _path_ to truth, not truth itself.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

TopherC (412335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606750)

I like that statement. Science can only prove what is not true. Progress in science is made by restricting more and more what could be true. So science leads us to truth asymptotically. I think the mistaken idea that science provides absolute truth is responsible for 90% of the debate on intelligent design. The philosophical conflict between science and religion only exists when both scientific theories and religious texts or leaders are thought to be "authoritative" -- to contain absolute truth.

Re:It's disappointing... (2, Insightful)

Wombat (6297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602330)

I personally find it exciting when we're able to revise our theories based upon new information. It means that we have new information, and that's always a good thing.

Recall that Astrophysics is still a relatively young science. As we acquire new observational tools, we find ourselves with more and better data. And so assumptions are adjusted.

It's not flip-flopping. It's learning.

Re:It's disappointing... (2, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602671)

...how often we have to unlearn what we've been taught for so long by scientists. This has been one of the more basic tenets of astronomy, something almost always mentioned when discussing extrasolar planets at any length. And now we're being told that two hundred years of teaching was wrong?

I know you are somewhat joking, but...

The point of scientific truth, is that there are no constant truths except maybe speed of light. (Even then people are trying to disprove that as we speak)

You must assume everything taught in scientific theory is probable, but someday someone could come along and provide a better theory and make the previous theory look horribly stupid in retrospect.

What science attempts to find is basically a logical methodology of how things appear to work and try to predict what happens if we perform x action under y criteria.

Cause and effect.

But the problem is that the universe is not constant (except for speed of light) and that all things time, distance, position, chemical makeup, atomic makeup, and various other things are constantly changing.

I always like to give my sky example for this.

I make a hypothetical statement about the color of the sky which is "The sky is blue!"

Is this true or false? On a sunny day this is very true, but on a cloudy day or at night it is not.

But if we say at 10am, at Sometown USA, and the weather is clear then the sky should be blue. If the same conditions exist tomorrow, my theory would say that the sky should be blue.

The problem with thinking science makes things always true and set in stone is a fallacy since there are a trillion different criteria we still don't know about yet.

But the more we know, the better we can understand the universe.

Re:It's disappointing... (5, Informative)

wanerious (712877) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602674)

As an astronomy educator, believe me, I understand. But in realizing that scientific theories are really only our best models right now, it's actually invigorating that the more we study and investigate the universe the more beautiful, complex, and subtle it is.

It's probable that *everything* you have been taught will some day have to be "unlearned". In this case, as with many others, it's not so much that what you were taught was wrong, only that it was imprecise. The article reaffirms that it is still true that most of the bright stars in the sky are members of multiple-star systems. Just the previously unobserved swarm of very dim, red stars seem to be largely isolated. Still consistent with previous observations.

Re:It's disappointing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603377)

It seems to me that there is confusion between the results of science and the process of science. The process of science, is what is infallible, the results though will eventually be refined or rejected BECUASE of the process of science. Cheers,

live longer, then (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604145)

You're right. The longer I live, the less confident I am that science provides the answers human beans wielding it say it does, too.

Problem is, the longer I live, the even less confident I am that { religion | philosophy | technology | love | sex | games | sailboats | witty dialogue | et cetera } provides any reliable answers, either. I'm almost beginning to suspect the problem is not with the tools but with the tool-users...

But anyway, it's a question of relative rates. I think if you live long enough, you find you get disillusioned with science slower than any other branch of human endeavor. So...science wins!

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

theJML (911853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604242)

I know, I mean, first the earth was flat, and then they all tried to convice us is was round.

Then the earth was the center of the galaxy and everything revolved around us, and now we're just some random planet in billions that rotates around other things.

And now not all the stars have partners?!? That's crazy talk! I mean, people that believe that nonsense are heretics!

But seriously, I thought we figured this out before... Oh well, I could be wrong. Suppose if we did, we just made sure this time, which is a good idea in science. Until we figure out that they do have twins, but they're the evil, black magic, dark matter, twin that wants to take over the world...

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605173)

Huh? Scientists learned something new and you're diappointed? No, a disappointment look like this: We looked out in space and everything exactly fit our pre-conceptions. Nature has no surprises for us today, just bland old confirmations! Is that what you would have preferred?

There are theories, and there are theorems. (1)

master_p (608214) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605622)

The longer I live, the less enamored I am with science. I was always taught that it's this great infallible thing, that science only knows fact. This is a prime example of just how wrong science can be.

Science has theories and theorems. Theorems are proven; theorems are fact. On the other hand, theories are probably true, but not proven yet. The theory that most stars are binary was ...a theory, i.e. not yet established with any scientific proof. So it is hardly disappointing for me that there was a change. In fact, I am glad there is this change, proving that science is the only way to go. And I think you or anyone else should not be disappointed as well.

Re:It's disappointing... (2, Informative)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605677)

Well, it's true that science only knows facts. As does everyone else. However, science isn't just about what we know, but mostly about what we predict from what we know. That is, we search for patterns, and if a pattern seems to work reasonably well (i.e. we have tried it quite often and it worked on all our tests), we have a theory. Those theories are not facts, the only fact involved is that they describe the past observations well. It is a prediction that they will also describe future observations well, however that is something you cannot know, just expect. This expectation is the more reasonable, the more similar the situation is to those you already have observed.

For example, if you have seen many things fall down, and never have seen anything that raises, then a reasonable theory is that all things fall down. Now say, your experience is mostly on stones and bananas (where you have tested hundreds of them). Now if you find any new, unknown object, it's quite reasonable to expect that it will fall down as well. It's unreasonable to assume you know in advance that it will fall down. If it is a stone or a banana, then it's so likely that you'll again see falling it down that you can treat it almost like a fact. If it is another object, then you shouldn't be too sure. After all, up to now you only observed the pattern with stones and bananas. And indeed, if the object turns out to be a helium balloon, then you'll find that your expectation is not met. That is, you'll find that your theory that everything falls down is in its generality wrong. It is, however, not completely wrong, because it still accurately describes your experience with stones and bananas. So the old theory is not invalid, but only has a limited validity. Now you can look at things which fall down, and things which raise up, and try to find a new pattern which lets you predict if a thing falls down or raises. If you find that pattern (which turns out to be "things which have a greater mass density than air ("are heavier than air") fall, things which are "lighter than air" rise), then you have a new, better theory, which contains your old theory (all things fall down) as special case.

Ok, in this case, it's that most of the stars observed so far (which were the bright stars, because those are the stars you can easily see) were not alone. So the theory was "most stars are not alone" (although in this case, I wouldn't really call it a theory, more an assumption or hypothesis). Now, stars which are sufficiently different from those which were observed before are found to be mostly alone, and there are also more of them. So we find that the old theory's validity is limited to those stars we previously observed (i.e. the bright ones), and a new, better theory replaces it (brighter stars usually have companions, dimmer stars usually don't).

So the fact (most stars previously observed have companions) didn't change, only the conjecture (therefore it probably is true for all other stars).

Note that the working of science isn't really too different from the everyday way of thinking. The main difference is that in everyday life, we often take our conjectures as facts without ever questioning them, while in science, the questioning of theories is institutionalized.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

2012 (950912) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606328)

It wasn't that long ago when scientists of old thought the world was flat. And I'm sure they were scientists by their standards at least. People used to hang on to every word they uttered. Things haven't moved on that much with the illusion of intellect from a scientific mind. As with anything scientific, unless you can touch it, it then fails to be recognised. Science is an illusion for proving the unknown to be fact, by removing all doubt and fear from the mind of civilization. It happened when mankind lost all meaning of being 'one'. It ain't rocket science ya know! And as for becoming a creationist, well...I think you have just found something in yourself. Even if you did make it sound like a joke.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606528)

"It wasn't that long ago when scientists of old thought the world was flat. And I'm sure they were scientists by their standards at least. People used to hang on to every word they uttered. "

No, they were mostly religious figures. Scientists, or at least those participating in reason-based free inquiry about the natural world and our role in it, were sometimes hung for the words they uttered.

"Things haven't moved on that much with the illusion of intellect from a scientific mind. As with anything scientific, unless you can touch it, it then fails to be recognised. "

What, like germs? Electrons? The existence of stars other than our sun as burning hydrogen gas as opposed to, say, the shimmering diamonds of the gods?

"Science is an illusion for proving the unknown to be fact, by removing all doubt and fear from the mind of civilization. It happened when mankind lost all meaning of being 'one'. "

This is more unsubstantiated gibberish than I've found in any other /. post today, even in the Politics section. It's early, but still...

"It ain't rocket science ya know!"

Huh? But isn't that what folks were discussing? Astrophysics, at least?

"And as for becoming a creationist, well...I think you have just found something in yourself. Even if you did make it sound like a joke."

You're right, it's not funny. The ability to substitute reason and free inquiry for the millenia-old writings of a nomadic tribe of shepherds in the Middle East, with regards to scientific questions, is not a joke. Things that sad are never truly funny.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

2012 (950912) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606956)

Well, nothing suprises me with science. Just as your reply didn't suprise me any either. Although I'm giving you a tad too much credit here. Next time, maybe try and reply with some sense of who you really are!

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14607289)

"Well, nothing suprises me with science. Just as your reply didn't suprise me any either. "

Well, it's not a particularly surprising response. I understand the human capacity for reason as the force preventing us from living like animals and grunting in amazement at fires and moonlight. Responding with distaste for the suggestion that this capacity should perpetuate its past errors in judgment, such as religion and astrology, is pretty predictable.

"Next time, maybe try and reply with some sense of who you really are!"

Next time, maybe try and reply with some attempt to answer the post to which you're replying.

And BTW, I love the idea of anti-science people using computers and the Internet to bash science. But hey, maybe digital communication isn't really a product of inestimable numbers of electrochemical reactions that we cannot perceive directly. Perhaps it's a manifestation of the Universal Human Spirit Communication Vibration, or God, or angels, or infinitesimally small unicorns that travel at near lightspeed with bags of e-mail strapped to their backs. It's fun to think of ideas when you don't have to try to find logical bases for them, isn't it?

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

2012 (950912) | more than 8 years ago | (#14610928)

'Well, it's not a particularly surprising response. I understand the human capacity for reason as the force preventing us from living like animals and grunting in amazement at fires and moonlight. Responding with distaste for the suggestion that this capacity should perpetuate its past errors in judgment, such as religion and astrology, is pretty predictable.' I also understand your need to protect what you feel is 'right' just because you read it in a text book and stand by it until proved otherwise by someone else. But alas, I feel you have deluded yourself with your perception to my first reply to your post. Maybe it wasn't that clear and logical for you to see? A time where you had to use your mind instead of logic perhaps. Truth be known, I am not into religion or dancing around camp fires grunting and was in no way insinuating otherwise. 'Next time, maybe try and reply with some attempt to answer the post to which you're replying.' I have no answers; answers are science perceiving understandable concepts as being correct and acceptable for that moment in time, in an ever changing world. I am merely passing comment and expanding my comprehension of what people see as science. I thought that was quite logical, even coming from someone so sceptical & cynical such as myself. 'And BTW, I love the idea of anti-science people using computers and the Internet to bash science. But hey, maybe digital communication isn't really a product of inestimable numbers of electrochemical reactions that we cannot perceive directly. Perhaps it's a manifestation of the Universal Human Spirit Communication Vibration, or God, or angels, or infinitesimally small unicorns that travel at near lightspeed with bags of e-mail strapped to their backs. It's fun to think of ideas when you don't have to try to find logical bases for them, isn't it?' I feel you are getting science muddled up with technology. We were talking about single stars as opposed to stellar companions. And just for the record I'm not anti-science and nor am I pro science. What's gonna happen next? Is my keyboard not part of my computer as once thought? Just as those single stars are no longer parts of a stellar community. Our minds are ever changing, just as science is. My main problem being with all science folk, is that they rely on all they read from the founders of scientific fact from scientists. Which in turn appear to comply with their usual strategy of performing u-turns on their beliefs when they find an alternative understanding a few years down the line. Science is on the brink of becoming as dogmatic as Catholicism. And as religion has screwed up this world, so will science. Or should I say....religion has screwed the minds of people and science will in turn destroy the planet. As most science projects are funded by governments who are religious nuts. Catch 22? Or just two complete opposites not really being that different. No doubt you will try and reply to this with the usual blarney chattering's and mind murmurings in a language I will have to decode. Strange how science is so logical, yet most science buffs feel the need to go half way round the work to explain such a simplistic entity.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

Sunburnt (890890) | more than 8 years ago | (#14611927)

You're right on one thing in your post: "[You] have no answers."

One thing is obvious from the rambling quality of your posts, your denial of absolute knowledge paired with groundless declarations, and inability to see that today's technology was yesterday's science: you have nothing more than words without meaning, the "blarney chattering's and mind murmurings" to which you refer. I wonder what purpose you see in communication between people.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

2012 (950912) | more than 8 years ago | (#14614651)

Yes I'm right! At least you got something right at last! Although you are bordering on DUBYA speech, it's plain to see where you're coming from in your approach of self fear and lack of actual intellect in any manner of thinking. You can't back up anything unless it's via a hazy interlude of so called 'practicality of logic'. Not that much different to religion really. And as for me not being very knowledgeable, again you are right. Congratulations to yourself, as you will also know (if you care to admit it) that science is also the biggest illusion of our time that claims to have knowledge of what it feels it understands at that particular time. (And I'm not talking about 'physical touchable' science, in case you get carried away again). Science will only ever understand what it understands, within the capabilities of the mind of those who understand its boundaries. And as you know, science will only ever attempt to tread where it feels safe, in compiling an understanding for all. It would never attempt to unleash itself on areas that would cause mass hysteria. Science has always had confines to work within based on the overriding authorities that set out these guidelines. If science really wanted to take the lead, it would move forward with alternatives instead of creating hazards for itself. Anyway, before you accuse me of rambling on again lol. I will rest here and await your next reply. Which BTW I always relish.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14614666)

From the gist of the conversation, you seem to be equating science with belief.

You maintain that scientists follow the "dogma" of some kind of science clergy, and that they should abandon their current methods and look for "alternate" explanations.

It's very likely that you are a highly religious person who is unable to imagine a world view without religious belief of some kind. I would wager you regard atheism and agnotisism as "belief systems", even though they are nothing of the kind. You must understand that there are people who simply do not live their lives "believing" in anything. They accept facts, but that is not belief. Belief is the acceptance of fiction, not fact.

To equate science with any kind of religion or belief system is an extreme fallacy. Science is about as far from religion as you can get.

Re:It's disappointing... (1)

2012 (950912) | more than 8 years ago | (#14614717)

Yes I was equating science to a belief, as my first post in reply to yours was established by the shock horror experienced by yourself in total disbelief that stellar stars had now gone solo. I'm not highly religious at all, even though it would appear that anyone who does not go along with science and all it offers us is somehow religious. And again I should mention...I AM NOT ANTI-SCIENCE...lol I also am not an atheist either . Although atheists do believe in something if not anything as they believe in nothing. And anyway atheism principles are mostly related to 'life after death' and not the 'living' status of being. 'You must understand that there are people who simply do not live their lives "believing" in anything. They accept facts, but that is not belief. Belief is the acceptance of fiction, not fact.' That's right; they prefer to see what is in front of their very own eyes, as opposed to thinking otherwise. Fact is still a belief, whereas I may assume you are confusing faith with belief perhaps? Maybe you are the closet religious one lol.

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602086)

The majority of stars and the majority of Slashdotters have something in common?

Great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14602093)

Chances I can get together with Natalie grately rise this way! Now, should I start the conversation by interesting her in multithreaded C programming, or stick with the tried and true oldies of PEEK and POKE...

w00t!!! (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602130)

Natalie, here I come with a bucket of hot grits!!! .....huh?..Oh, those stars...
Rats!!!
I knew it was too good to be true! ;)

That's the beauty of science, update your theories when new data is recieved.

Insert obligatory joke... (5, Funny)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602189)

"Most slashdot users as well..."

Re:Insert obligatory joke... (1)

TLouden (677335) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602829)

it's opposite of the stars that came to my mind

(hollywood for those that are a bit slow)

Quality (4, Interesting)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602198)

We all realized how far down in quality Slashdot has sunk when the first thought on everyone's mind when they saw this title was, "I can think of way more married stars than single ones."

In astronomy class 4 years ago I learned that most solar systems were binary or more complex, so this is very interesting news indeed. I wonder if this improves the chances of more solar systems having planetary companions, since I'd think it less likely for binary or trinary systems to have planets since more matter in the system is taken up in star mass.

This might also increase the calculable possibility for habitible planets in our galzaxy too.

Re:Quality (1)

FireballX301 (766274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602381)

Given the association with 'single' with marital status a synonym should have been used, such as 'isolated', which reduces the vagueness greatly.

So. Yeah. Woo.

Quality .. has sunk? Done sank, has barnacles! (1)

cryptomancer (158526) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602480)

It's been here a while. Are you new here? Because well, a bunch of tech geeks finding humor in headlines, especially with regards to sex & dating, is not a recent trend. With the proper choice of words and phrasing, it's still funny, too!

Re:Quality .. has sunk? Done sank, has barnacles! (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602678)

"Are you new here?"

It's funnier if *I* ask *You* the user with a much lower user ID, that question.

The headline byeline could have been:
From the "there are 10 kinds of binary" department.

Re:Quality .. has sunk? Done sank, has barnacles! (1)

cryptomancer (158526) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603086)

Ahem. As one with the lower number, I'll let you know that people start counting from small numbers and work their way up to larger ones. Another not-new concept that you seem to be unfamiliar with.

Re:Quality .. has sunk? Done sank, has barnacles! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14603202)

Punctuation is my nemesis. I did mean you have the lower user ID, and I'm quite familiar with both binary and decimal concepts of counting.

Re:Quality (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602614)

Criminey, did you even see from the hollywood-allegory dept.? References to pop culture are traditionally supposed to be funny here, so who the hell whipped your ass with the +3 stick of seriousness and unfunnay?

Re:Quality (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602672)

...I'd think it less likely for binary or trinary systems to have planets since more matter in the system is taken up in star mass.

That's not the only reason. It's much less likely that a planet will have a stable orbit in a multi-star system, unless one of the stars is very far from the center of gravity. Even so, the chance of ther being a stable orbit inside the star's habitable zone (For earth-like values of habitable.) are very small.

Or the other way... (1)

Parity (12797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14611124)

IIRC, it's essentially impossible for any planet to have an orbit that passes between the two stars, so the only way for a binary system to have planets is for the stars to be close enough together and the planetary orbit far enough out that the planet(s) orbit the center of mass of the pair. That nearly precludes life-as-we-know-it since you're looking at very cold orbits. Based on my memory of lectures some years ago, though, fwiw.

Re:Or the other way... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14611548)

You're thinking of a "figure eight" orbit and from what I understand, that's not stable. However, there's another possibility: Proxima Centauri is far enough from the other two components of the system that it could have planets orbiting it only, as long as its ecliptic were properly oriented.

Re:Quality (2, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605700)

We all realized how far down in quality Slashdot has sunk when the first thought on everyone's mind when they saw this title was, "I can think of way more married stars than single ones."

Now, are you sure that for those stars, the same problem doesn't apply? So most of the easily visible stars are married. However you usually only see the stars produced in big clouds like Hollywood, but there are also e.g. porn stars which are not as easily observed (a regular cinema isn't sufficient for their observation). Now are you sure that most of them are married as well? I could well imagine the opposite.

SCNR :-)

well i guess i dont feel so bad.. (1, Offtopic)

insertwackynamehere (891357) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602257)

my current girl problems, when put in perspective, arent that bad, seeing as how i've only been trying for 5 or so out of my 16 years and stars have been trying for billions :P heh suddenly all the crap last weekend and week has been put into perspective, thanks slashdot :)

Re:well i guess i dont feel so bad.. (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603431)

But the stars are inanimate objects that don't care.

Yeah, you're still a loser.

But it's OK, so am I.

Me too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604978)

Me too me too!

Of course they are... (0, Redundant)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602259)

I mean, have you ever been around any big stars, movie or rock? They're mostly huge assholes. Imagine two of them trying to have a relationship.

Oh, wait...

Re:Of course they are... (1)

MSenhanced (549093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606761)

I suppose this is 'sound logic' or scientific evidence of the existence of "black holes" in the universe, huh? Let's not even bring "shooting stars" or comets into play here.

Sigh - fooled again (3, Funny)

maynard (3337) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602289)

And here I thought I was going to learn how I might have a shot at Kate Beckinsale [imdb.com] or Lucy Liu [imdb.com], but instead it's only some lame story about astronomy. Thanks for getting my hopes up once again slashdot!!!

sheesh!

Re:Sigh - fooled again (3, Funny)

why-is-it (318134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602548)

And here I thought I was going to learn how I might have a shot at Kate Beckinsale or Lucy Liu, but instead it's only some lame story about astronomy. Thanks for getting my hopes up once again slashdot!!!

Oh dear, where to begin:

  • No slashdotter will ever get a chance at women that hot
  • With a id that low, you should know better than to get your hopes (or anything else!) up.
  • You do however have excellent taste in unobtainable women.

Re:Sigh - fooled again (2, Funny)

syrinx (106469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602713)

No slashdotter will ever get a chance at women that hot

I know one slashdotter who got to kiss Ashley Judd. does that count?

Re:Sigh - fooled again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14606342)

Wil Wheaton (clevernickname) doesn't count.

Re:Sigh - fooled again (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14604287)

No slashdotter will ever get a chance at women that hot

That's only a function of the probability of meeting them and making a good first impression upon such meeting. Some celebs do date non-celebs; mostly rich non-celebs, but not always. The most significant limits (in order of precedence) to a relationship like that are:

a) Believing that your are unworthy or incapable of such a relationship, in which case, where do you draw the line? Believing "I'm not good enough for X" precludes X from happening. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. The biggest single division between average people and famous/influential people is that the latter display extremely high self-confidence, and often believe that they were "destined" for their position in society. Their belief fuels them; there is no such thing as destiny.
b) Overcoming the other person's belief that you are not good enough for them. This is much easier than overcoming self-imposed limits, but the method is not always intuitive. Some people prejudge others, but in most cases you have a blank slate, regardless of who the other person is, and you merely have to present yourself as worthwhile. Hint: Using the verbal equivelant of "omg ur pretty!" wouldn't seperate you from the masses. Poor grooming is also the quickest and easiest way to get prejudged.

At any rate, celebrities are no better (and perhaps worse) at personal relationships than anyone else, so the quality of such a relationship is not necessarily going to be higher. All that glitters is not gold.

Re:Sigh - fooled again (1)

MSenhanced (549093) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606940)

No slashdotter will ever get a chance at women that hot

When you mean 'chance', what's the probability you are stating here?

A blow to the nemesis theory. (2, Interesting)

warewolfe (877477) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602367)

While the results of the star survey do not disprove the nemesis theory, they do seem to lessen the chance of it being correct. With red dwarves being being the most likely suspect for nemesis (see http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/solarsystem/ nemesis_010320-1.html/ [space.com] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nemesis_(star)/ [wikipedia.org]) and at the same time not likely to be a companion star, I guess they'll have to look for different astrological suspects.

Re:A blow to the nemesis theory. (1)

Old Spider (948471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603407)

Rogue planets. Contrary to popular belief, you don't need a solar primary to form a smaller body. And there are such things as 'supernovas', which produce shockwaves that would alter the courses of any nearby bodies. Another possibility is there really is such a thing as a gravitational wave. I suppose a strong enough wave could cause bodies located in the oort cloud to fall inward. Or perhaps a primary's gravity can fluctuate causing the same effect. Really, hinging the entire Nemesis hypothesis on an unproven dwarf companion is silly. It's great for ratings, but it's also bad science.

True, not true (3, Informative)

ChrisDolan (24101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602632)

The article goes on to explain that red dwarfs (tiny stars, much smaller than the sun) are much more common that sun-like and larger stars, and that red dwarfs are much less likely to be binaries. So, in total stars are more likely to be single.

However, from my reading it seems that the conventional wisdom that most sun-like stars are binaries is still true. I once learned the humorous mnemonic "Three out of every two stars is a binary".

Re:True, not true (1)

FORTRANslinger (950850) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604929)

...humorous mnemonic "Three out of every two stars is a binary". humorous????? Get a life

Re:True, not true (1)

ChrisDolan (24101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14604949)

Hey, my PhD is in Astronomy studying starbirth. I'm entitled to a little geek humor, eh?

Doesn't anyone read the supermarket tabloids? (1, Offtopic)

db32 (862117) | more than 8 years ago | (#14602926)

I thought most of the stars were divorced at least once.

Old News (2, Informative)

Einer2 (665985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14603994)

We've known for about a decade that the binary frequency among low-mass (early M) stars is only 30-35%. We've also known for at least that long that the general shape of the field mass function is weighted in favor of low-mass stars. It's a very short leap to draw the corresponding conclusion, and it's been done in plenty of other papers that actually present useful results at the same time.

For those who care about the background, the binary frequency has been shown pretty clearly to depend on mass. Solar-mass stars have binary frequencies of at least 60%, stars of 0.5 solar masses have binary frequencies of ~35%, and very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs (under 0.2 solar masses) have binary frequencies of around 10-20%. The binary frequency among more massive stars appears to be even higher than for solar-mass stars.

The popular reason to care about binary frequencies is to determine the frequency with which planetary systems could occur. If you're interested in habitable planets around solar-type stars, the higher binary frequency is one to care about. The frequency with which planets could form around lower-mass stars is intrinsically interesting since they're so common, but they're also much harder to detect any of these planets using existing indirect methods, so it's a harder question to actually answer. Once we have the ability to directly image planets, the problem will invert itself since it's easier to see planetary companions to faint stars than bright stars.

planet formation and ET (1)

Quadraginta (902985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605196)

The popular reason to care about binary frequencies is to determine the frequency with which planetary systems could occur.

And this is probably because it impacts the probability of intelligent life elsewhere, yes?

But the thing is, I have my doubts about the formation of habitable planets being the rate-limiting step, the key term in the Drake Equation, so to speak. I'm thinking the rate of spontaneous creation of life could be the really tough step. Maybe the rate of habitable planet formation isn't awfully important to SETI.

Lonely Stars (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | more than 8 years ago | (#14605328)

You see why most Stars keep single is , that ones that have recently suffered a tough break up seem to Join Scientology .
Others who have had relationships with Black holes have said "Once you've gone Black , there is no going back, especially once you cross the event horizon"

For those Red Dwarf fans :-) (2, Funny)

astralbat (828541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14606242)

Holly: Look, we're travelling faster than the speed of light. That means, by the time we see something, we've already passed through it. Even with an IQ of 6000, it's still brown trousers time.
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