News Briefs 21-01-2011

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. ”

Danke Schöen to Greg, Kat, RPJ and RMG!

Quote of the Day:

“I wanted to change the world. But I have found that the only thing one can be sure of changing is oneself. ”

A. Huxley

Comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
Redoubt's picture
Member since:
14 July 2008
Last activity:
2 years 29 weeks

It's showtime!

From today's Daily Briefs: Two suns in 2012?

-Two Suns? Twin Stars Could Be Visible From Earth By 2012
*
Dr. Brad Carter, Senior Lecturer of Physics at the University of Southern Queensland, outlined the scenario to news.com.au. Betelgeuse, one of the night sky's brightest stars, is losing mass, indicating it is collapsing. It could run out of fuel and go super-nova at any time.
...
The Star Wars-esque scenario could happen by 2012, Carter says... or it could take longer. The explosion could also cause a neutron star or result in the formation of a black hole 1300 light years from Earth, reports news.com.au.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/20...

Now, taking notice that this comes from the Puffington Huff and the Great Political Bluff website, you might be inclined to dismiss a story dealing with reality. But the source; Brad Carter and the University of Southern Queensland, do seem worthy and the concept of such a stellar event is damned sure an attention grabber.

So, there you are about to email this article to family and friends when you notice another headline while browsing the Google news pages...

-DON'T PANIC! BETELGEUSE WON'T EXPLODE IN 2012
*
Betelgeuse is a dying star. It's reached the end of the line and currently in the terminal throes of shedding vast bubbles of gas into space. Betelgeuse is a red supergiant star and it's so massive that it will detonate as a supernova.
With all this drama happening 640 light-years away in the constellation of Orion, there's little wonder that this tumultuous star is easy headline bait.
...
On reading a few sentences from the Australian News.com.au article, one would think the journalist had found the story of the decade. NEWS FLASH: An exploding Betelgeuse is one of the most over-used sensationalist stellar events to appear in the tabloid press in recent years. There's no scoop here, move along.

http://news.discovery.com/space/dont-pan...

Well now, here we have another mostly useless website that says this won't be happening. That's right; a statement of unyielding decision: no supernova in 2012!

I mean, talk about "headline bait"! All those CAPS are there for something.

Next step... what is with the distance thing? Is it 1300 light years or 640?

In one story, there is the effort to engage the public in what could be a once-in-a-lifetime event. In the other, there's a bucket of cold water and a bout of severe journalistic cynicism.

As far as 'how far' exactly? The web is loaded with would-be astronomers who range this star from 1450 light years distant, to 180. But most agree that 'about' 640 is correct.

I guess it's no wonder why professions that link to the term, 'Mainscream'... er, make that, 'Mainstream', demand so little respect these days.

"The power of accurate observation is frequently called cynicism by those who don't have it."

LastLoup's picture
Member since:
6 April 2010
Last activity:
2 hours 30 min

somehow, i think if the snake wasn't so focused on swimming to safety, he would eat the frog.

...I forgot how I got here but everyone seems to be heading off in that direction. I hope someone brought food. I have a feeling this is going to be a long journey................

millsb's picture
Member since:
9 May 2008
Last activity:
3 years 28 weeks

Um, I hate to question this whole thing, but ...

1. If Betelgeuse is 1300 light years from earth, wouldn't it take 1300 years for the visible light to reach earth?

2. Since we have telescopes that can currently see Betelgeuse 1300 light years away, wouldn't we know EXACTLY when the visible light from any supernova involving that star would finally reach us?

Just askin" ...

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
29 min 58 sec

Astronomers are observing Betelgeuse as it was 640/1300/whatever years ago.

If the star 'goes' nova in 2012, 2112, or 2120, it means that it already exploded prior to our observation from Earth.

Talking about the present tense in Astronomy is just a way to keep things a bit simpler ;)

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie

earthling's picture
Member since:
22 November 2004
Last activity:
6 weeks 3 days

What I dont get is why people say the probability for the light from the event arriving here in 2012 is any higher than 2013 or 2057 or 2398.

And that's just the year, nevermind a particular day.

----
We are the cat.

red pill junkie's picture
Member since:
12 April 2007
Last activity:
29 min 58 sec

Like I said in my blog, it really looks like people want 2012 to be a cultural milestone, Mayan prophecy or not.

It's not the depth of the rabbit hole that bugs me...
It's all the rabbit SH*T you stumble over on your way down!!!

Red Pill Junkie
_______________
@red_pill_junkie