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Space Science

A Symmetrical Cosmic Red Square 152

Remember the hexagon surrounding Saturn's north pole? Now for our delectation Ano_Nimass Coward sends us to Space.com for a look at a nebula with near perfect bilateral symmetry surrounding a dying star. The so-called Red Square ranks among the most symmetrical objects ever observed by scientists. "If you fold things across the principle diagonal axis, you get an almost perfect reflection symmetry," said the leader of a study of the object, recently published in Science. A possible explanation for the structure's glow, if not its shape, was advanced in a paper appearing in PNAS, which attributes the glow of a similar object — dubbed, confusingly, the Red Rectangle — to exotic space-hardened organic molecules called Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons. PAHs are normally unstable but may occur in places like the nebula in question, in nanostructured clusters that are extremely stable and radiation hardened.
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A Symmetrical Cosmic Red Square

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  • Geometry (Score:2, Funny)

    by Stormx2 (1003260)
    Quoteth the article:

    dubbed, confusingly, the Red Rectangle
    Quoteth wikipedia:

    A square (regular quadrilateral) is a special case of a rectangle as it has four right angles and parallel sides.
    How is it confusing?
    • Re:Geometry (Score:4, Informative)

      by adrianmonk (890071) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:11PM (#18743659)

      How is it confusing?

      The difference between Red Rectangle and Red Square is confusing because, if you read the article, they are different things. From the article:

      The researchers propose that similar conditions are contributing to the extreme symmetry of another system, the Red Rectangle, whose central star is cooler than that of the Red Square.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by theuedimaster (996047)
        Remember children, every Red Square is a Red Rectangle, but not every Red Rectangle is a Red Square.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by owlnation (858981)
      Good grief, when will people here STOP quoting wikipedia as an authority. That definition of Square is utterly worthless.

      Though admittedly, I'd have modded you "funny", cos I think that's what you intended. Insightful, seems like someone didn't get the joke. It was a joke right?
      • by Stormx2 (1003260)
        Seems like you didn't get the point.

        And I don't see why it is worthless. imho it is completely relevant, on face value. No, I didn't RTFA. I was only saying that calling a square a rectangle isn't confusing if you look at it from a geometric perspective. The other replier cleared up the difference.
        • It's not confusing so much as tautologous.

          A square (regular quadrilateral) is a special case of a rectangle as it has four right angles and parallel sides.
          Any rectangle fulfils that criterion, not just a square. A square is a special case of a rectangle in that it has four equal sides.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          And yet another Wikipedia fan proves himself, at last, a pedantic, literal-minded little shit. Why am I not surprised?
          • Re:Geometry (Score:4, Funny)

            by Stormx2 (1003260) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @06:42PM (#18745257)
            See if you'd put that on a wikipedia article, someone would add the {{Original research}} tag, because the link between being a "pedantic, literal-minded little shit" and being a wikipedia fan hasn't been proven, yet. How about {{NPOV}}? But seriously, stop trolling.

            Oh, and in answer to your question, you aren't surprised because you were all too happy to find a coincidental link.
            • Re:Geometry (Score:4, Funny)

              by Walt Dismal (534799) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @11:23PM (#18747037)
              Let us put this on a scientific basis. The first step is to create a proper acronym to speed discourse. Henceforth, we shall use "PLLS" instead of the longer "pedantic literal-minded little shit."

              I, of course, am not a PLLS, as I spell and punctuate correctly and wipe myself properly after every bowel movemnet, because Nanny would beat me severely if I didn't...er.. I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, the 32nd poster previous failed to spell 'incunabula' correctly. Oh, and there are 152 toothpicks on the floor.

      • by David Gould (4938)

        Good grief, when will people here STOP quoting wikipedia as an authority. That definition of Square is utterly worthless.
        More shocking is that anyone (on slashdot, yet) would find it necessary to cite any source for a definition of a square.
  • Optical illusion? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:05PM (#18743617)
    I'm not a astrophysicist, but I've seen enough photographic artifacts to know you can get some interesting symmetrical single-color polygons through reflection and refraction that look remarkably like what is shown here. Is there any way to verify that this isn't a visual artifact, as opposed to an actual physical cloud? Or is the artifact itself a sign that there has to be a highly symmetrical set of objects creating it?

    Ryan Fenton

    • Re:Optical illusion? (Score:5, Informative)

      by barakn (641218) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:12PM (#18743671)
      There are some artifacts in the image. Notice the stars with 6 rays. The rays are created by support structures holding the secondary mirror of the telescope in front of the primary mirror. The fact that the square doesn't have hexagonal symmetry argues for its existence as a real object.
      • Re:Optical illusion? (Score:4, Informative)

        by RyanFenton (230700) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:22PM (#18743761)
        But it highlighted star still does show the six-ray spikes the other starts do... the white light in the center just seems to have an hourglass shape that matches with the hexagonal spikes (also likely an artifact) that makes a square as it radiates out. Is it possible that the core of this star is collapsing into a quasar-like object, radiating in two opposite directions, each mostly perpendicular to our viewpoint? Those two narrowing radiating jets of light could match the hexagon thatches to make that white hourglass in the center, making the red square on the outside.

        Ryan Fenton
        • Re:Optical illusion? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by barakn (641218) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:10PM (#18744091)
          First of all, I'd suggest looking at this higher resolution image [usyd.edu.au], available from this page [usyd.edu.au] with other fascinating graphics. I would agree that the more-or-less horizontal component of the central X (the sides of the hour glass) is in the same direction as the two "horizontal" components of the stars' hexagonal rays (by coincidence, I presume). However the vertical part of the central X does not point in the same direction as any of the hexagonal rays. This may be a simple demonstration of how an hourglass doesn' have hexagonal symmetry, but more importantly it suggests the hourglass isn't produced by the same process as the hexagonal spikes.

          Having said that, there are some faint hexagonal spikes created by the central object, but they are much fainter than the hour glass shape..

          I wouldn't use the term "quasar-like" because the word quasar is an acronym for "quasi-stellar radio source" and i don't think this object is the source of many radio waves

          • by Basehart (633304)
            Thanks for the links. The higher res images make it easier to look at the image as if the radials are pointing away from us instead of towards us, making it look like a pyramid from a birds eye view.

            Although it's a pretty long stretch to assume that a distant civilization is responsible somehow for all the pyramids on Earth and in space, it would make sense if you were into creating them to make some kind of statement to have them visible in space to beings on the planets that have them.
    • I'm not an astrophysicist either, but I suspect they kind of check for stuff like that.
      • I am an astrophysicist and yes, we do check - ever since the infamous discovery of the slightly-smudgy-fingerprint cluster. The debacle surrounding the OMG-it's-shaped-like-a-giant-beetle nebula didn't do the profession's reputation much good either.
  • Civilisation (Score:1, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315)
    The Star Egyptia towered over the sky, from the far reaches of the empire would look up at the stars and teach their children where it came from.
    One night, it went nova.

    The Egyptian outlanders throughout the galaxy built huge temples to honour the billions dead from their home system. The dead on these worlds would rest in similar surroundings.
  • by adrianmonk (890071) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:16PM (#18743703)

    In Soviet Russia, the Red Square ejects stars.

    On a more serious note, in present-day Russia, the Red Square really does eject -- and beat and arrest [buffalonews.com] -- stars[1] when they show up to demonstrate against the government. Things are getting kinda shaky over there, it would appear.

    [1] Garry Kasparov, specifically.

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rubinhood (977039) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:19PM (#18743733)
    In Soviet Russia, you don't observe Red Square, but Red Square [wikipedia.org] observes [slashdot.org] you [iht.com].
  • Do we have to use 2d terminology for objects that are (hopefully) 3d?

    (Anyway, it looks like a lens flare.)

  • Right angles (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by chroma (33185)
    Objects that are extremely regular and have right angles are usually considered to be artificial in origin.
  • by PinkyGigglebrain (730753) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:30PM (#18743827)
    When I first looked at it I two 90 degree cones of ejecta blasting from a central point along the rotation axis of the original star. Like the Eye Nebula would look if seen from the side.

    My second thought was it looked like those things we made in kindergarden where you wrap colored yarn around two sticks. I think my mom still has the one I made her, she used to put it on the Christmas tree.

    It is most devinitly NOT a lens artifact, look at the other stars, they have six points, those are definitly caused by the camera, the Keck telescope uses hexagonal mirrors in its array.

    Absolutly beautiful no matter how you look at it.
  • by pln2bz (449850) * on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:43PM (#18743909)
    Observant space enthusiasts will notice the excessively large number of hourglass morphologies that continue to appear in NASA's press releases. These hourglass morphologies can only be awkwardly called the result of gravitation. A cursory familiarity with laboratory plasma physics will help people to recognize that the most likely explanation is that these are in fact z-pinches wich result from Birkeland Currents. In a zoomed image, you can see the filamentary Birkeland Currents on two opposing sides of the red "square" being pinched down to a central point. These same filaments are also observable, but in cross-section, in the 1987A supernova remnant. Which components are visible varies from image to image, but the general morphology of the hourglass remains discernible.

    Here are some additional hourglass morphologies with pictures that have been observed:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4953165/ [msn.com]
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2005/arch05/0510 05eta-carinae.htm [thunderbolts.info]
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2005/arch05/0504 26bug-nebula.htm [thunderbolts.info]
    http://www.thunderbolts.info/tpod/2005/arch05/0504 15milkyway.htm [thunderbolts.info]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Supernova-1987a .jpg [wikipedia.org]

    Since hourglass morphologies are somewhat disconfirming to traditional mainstream cosmologies (ie, the Big Bang), the fact that they continue to be observed all over the universe escapes the notice of professional astrophysicists, whose primary concern is to prove the Big Bang Theory and Stellar Evolution Theories. Objectively interpreting these shapes for what they most likely represent means dropping complicated, mainstream astrophysical explanations, and accepting the notion that electricity flows through space over plasma as we know it does within the laboratory. In these particular instances, at least, it is clear that the electrical force is dominant to gravity. We can opt to devise all sorts of gravitation-centric explanations for hourglass morphologies, but in doing so, we consciously opt to violate Occam's Razor.

    The implications of such strong evidence of electricity in space are overwhelming -- which provides all of the explanation necessary for avoiding abandonment of the traditional, more popular gravity-centric theories. When astrophysicists eventually accept that plasma in space has electrical resistance just like the plasma we observe in the laboratory, then they will begin to re-interpret all of our observations in terms of Maxwell's Equations rather than fluid and gas laws. And the enigmas of dark matter and dark energy will forever disappear, as this substitution can provide the exact forces necessary to explain things like how spiral galaxies can spin as if they are solid plates and how matter might repel other matter. The fact that we as a culture currently prefer to consider imaginary forces and particles to explain these "anomalies" rather than forces that we already understand will forever paint us to future generations as people who decided to favor the mathematicians and theories over our observational data and decades of experimental laboratory physics work.

    The evidence for electricity in space is not a sparse patchwork here and there. It is a flood of data that is only allowed to escape the notice of the public with the help of overconfident astrophysicists and a mob mentality within the space enthusiast community. Anybody who is intellectually curious about the universe and less concerned with what the people around them believe than what in fact appears to be true should consider learning more about plasma physics and the electric universe we live in. Don Scott
    • by HuguesT (84078) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:57PM (#18744005)
      I essentially agree, this structure could simply be a cone like SR1987a, seen edge on.
    • by barakn (641218) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:30PM (#18744223)
      There's just one problem with your argument. The stuff in the Red Square image is relatively cool uncharged dust and gas (it's an infrared image after all), not a hot plasma, and therefore can't carry a current. Typical Birkeland Current/Electric Universe fanboy spouting off without having a clue...
      • by pln2bz (449850) * on Sunday April 15, 2007 @07:28PM (#18745617)
        How you're able to determine charge density on the basis of temperature is somewhat of a mystery. We can't even do that for our own Sun. We know from the laboratory that plasma has three distinct modes of operation -- the dark mode, the normal glow mode and the arc mode -- and that it continues to conduct electricity within its dark mode even though plasma in this mode would emit neither photons nor infrared light/heat whatsoever. So, even if the process that creates the charged particles would emit infrared, the allegation is not that this process is occuring within this image. If it helps, you might consider that when you pass electricity through copper wires (which is also a form of plasma), your wires conduct quite well without glowing. Gaseous plasmas in fact conduct better than copper wires.

        The fact that you are not objectively considering the subject matter is evident in your decision to take a condescending tone. If you ever do decide to investigate the matter objectively, I think you will be surprised to find that there is indeed a serious debate here.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by barakn (641218)

          How you're able to determine charge density on the basis of temperature is somewhat of a mystery. We can't even do that for our own Sun.

          Using the spectrum of a star, not only can the densities of various ions and electrons be calculated, but also the relative abundances of the elements. It's unfortunate that you are unaware of an entire branch of science, but not unexpected. I'd also like to know why you think that a large current in space would z-pinch in only one central point along the length of the cu

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ruiner13 (527499)

        Typical Birkeland Current/Electric Universe fanboy spouting off without having a clue
        You, sir or madam, just made soda squirt out my nose.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      People who seem more concerned about the politics of existing theory than the tenuousnous of their own personal theories (electricity in space, in your case) are generally viewed as crackpots. This is science, show us your testable theory that can explain what we are seeing better than existing theories, or go back to work.
      • by pln2bz (449850) *
        It's NASA's choice to interpret all observations through one single cosmology. It was also the choice of the astrophysical community to ignore Hannes Alfven's realization that the techniques that he devised to model plasma in magnetohydrodynamics were in fact "pseudo-pedagogical" -- an idea that appears to help, but in fact causes great harm to our understanding of the universe. To blame people for pointing these things out is unfair.

        From what I can gather, the people who are proposing the Electric Univer
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by TapeCutter (624760)
          "It's NASA's choice to interpret all observations through one single cosmology."

          Most people with a scientific education would have stopped reading after the first line because it is a distortion of the truth based on total ignorance of how science and skepticisim work (and they do work!).

          You have been duped/mislead and when/if you learn how to determine what is credible science you will be pissed off at those who duped you. A good place for you to start learning genuine skepticisim would be Carl Sagan
          • by pln2bz (449850) *

            Most people with a scientific education would have stopped reading after the first line because it is a distortion of the truth based on total ignorance of how science and skepticisim work (and they do work!).

            You might want to check your facts. My sources tell me that NASA freely admits that it will not fund any research antithetical to the BB Theory. If people stop reading after my first line, it's not because of any dispute over that fact. It's generally accepted that funding only goes to the BB studie

            • "I've read enough of Carl Sagan..."

              No you haven't, you missed the bit about self criticisim being the skeptics starting point.

              "It's generally accepted that funding only goes to the BB studies...it did not earn him any funding...NASA would rather fund traditional explanations for our cometary data that have produced no predictions whatsoever (or even a coherent theory of how comets work)...Carl Sagan wasn't scared to take a hypocritical stance in order to "prove" a point...I prefer people who invest a
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              If we have any eminent authorities here who want to show me to be some uninformed jackass, please answer for me this one single question.

              See, the thing is, if your theory wasn't bunk, you wouldn't require an eminent authority to back it up. You would simply be able to present us with some links to credible science sources on the web.

              Invoking a global conspiracy to explain the lack of acceptance for your theory, and just resorting to "prove me wrong" when backed into a corner is like having a giant neo

        • by mako1138 (837520)
          Resistive MHD? Two-fluid MHD? PIC? Magnetic reconnection?
    • "And the enigmas of dark matter and dark energy will forever disappear, as this substitution can provide the exact forces necessary to explain things like how spiral galaxies can spin as if they are solid plates and how matter might repel other matter."

      I'd love to see how do you explain such fenomena using eletricity. Also, if you make an actual explanation the entire physics community will probably aplaud and recognize you (and teach your name on classrooms for decades to come).

      But, of course, nobody w

      • by pln2bz (449850) *
        The explanation has been provided. The real problem is that it's not the answer that people expected or wanted to hear. I refer you to Don Scott's "The Electric Sky". You can also view their www.thunderbolts.info site, but you won't get the complete picture from that site that you would get by reading the entire theory all at once.

        Anthony Perratt can generate spiral galaxies using nothing but the electrical properties of plasma in both computer simulations and in laboratory physics experiments. No dark
        • "The explanation has been provided."

          But has failed to convince these guys [plasmas.org] who correctly categorise "The Electric Sky" as a popularization [google.com.au] and point to an excellent critique of the book [tim-thompson.com].

          If you are so eager to be a skeptic then start testing YOUR ideas and acknowledging their known flaws. If you do have the courage to test your convictions you will also notice that these "established scientists" are actively looking at alternatives to the big bang that involve plasma, including those that appear in popu
          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by pln2bz (449850) *
            Tim Thompson's site does not critique "The Electric Sky" book. It was written a few years before Don Scott published his book and it is limited to addressing Wallace Thornhill's Electric Sun hypothesis. It fails to address planetary rilles that track the topography of rock-based landscapes both up and down, in apparent violation of gravity; it fails to address all of the anomalous data associated with comets, neutron stars, dark matter, dark energy, black holes and supernovae; it says nothing about stars
            • Yes I did get the title wrong but you are splitting hairs, the plasmas.org site credits Scott with both the book and the hypothisis so I assumed they are related in a similar way as creationisim is related to ID.

              "It fails to address..."

              Tim has probably got better things to do with his time, at least until his current objections have been answered.
    • Is it me or does the poster sound like he's a got a chip on his shoulder to push a plasma cosmology. Although I haven't sufficient information to clearly debunk you at the moment, I do recall some allusions as to how electromanetic forces simply do not have enough power over stellar distances to actually cause any of the stuff you imply. That is the primary reason astrophysisits have not examined the theory. Most people who point to the establishment and say to the effect of "they say I'm wrong because they
      • by pln2bz (449850) *

        Although I haven't sufficient information to clearly debunk you at the moment, I do recall some allusions as to how electromanetic forces simply do not have enough power over stellar distances to actually cause any of the stuff you imply. That is the primary reason astrophysisits have not examined the theory. Most people who point to the establishment and say to the effect of "they say I'm wrong because they're poo heads" tend to be wrong.

        Let's look at the bigger picture of what's happening here. I'm telli

  • These structures are where I get the raw material for my Polycyclic Aroma Therapy (PAT) sessions.
  • look away, don't send any signals in that direction, or they'll soon follow up, and we'll have to travel back in time to 1980s san francsico to save the whales, or something

  • by Tablizer (95088) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @03:54PM (#18743981) Journal
    Appearently the universe is expanding faster than God's hardware can handle, and we are seeing rendering polygon effects. Boundary detection problems will appear next.
    • That explains black holes -- it's an attempt to cut down on the number of polygons by culling large sections. A supernova must be what happens when God overclocks a particular region of space and it backfires.
    • by SharpFang (651121) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:29PM (#18744213) Homepage Journal
      Boundary detection problems will appear next.

      Yeah? They've been reported decades ago, and the exploits are out in the wild and in common use (tunnel diode, tunneling microscope and so on).

      Will these pesky scientists be surprised when the next batch of patches comes. :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by bky1701 (979071)
      Probably just an effect of the memory leak in "humanity()". Don't worry, the garbage collection function "meteor->collide(earth)" will be called eventually to fix it.
  • It's an artifact of the imaging process. Notice how the stars in the corners of the image are all oval-shaped with the major axis of the ellipse pointing exactly towards the "artifact" (not a square nebula) at the center.
  • I have seen photos of hurricanes that have poligonal eyes. This is unusual, but not exactly rare. A circular eye is probably just a high order poligon.
  • It looks like a round Hour Glass shape to me which is more like to inverted cones such as from extreme magnetism. Cones are caused by in series the ejecta of rings of gas in series like blowing a long smoke ring.

    The Hexagon on Saturn appears to be shaped by unseen elliptical convergences just below the surface. Think of a group of soap bubbles together to form the shape of a hexagon. No matter how twisted the wire frame of a bubble blower or how hard you blow, the bubbles will always be spherical. When cont
  • by wisebabo (638845) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:42PM (#18744321) Journal
    Wouldn't it be great if this was found to be an artifact from a Type II civilization? It would be an immediate and overwhelming proof that there is super-intelligent life out there.

    Type I - civilizations capable of harnessing the energy of a planetary body, Type II - civilizations capable of harnessing the energy of a star, Type III - civilizations capable of harnessing the energy of an entire galaxy. We are a Type I civilization.
    • Wouldn't it be great if this was found to be an artifact from a Type II civilization?
      Like this [e-scoutcraft.com]?
    • by Sibko (1036168)
      Actually, we're more of a Type 0.7 than a Type 1. Type 1 civilizations are able to harness the entire energy of their planet. Type 2, the entire energy of their star. Type 3, the entire energy of their galaxy. There's a nice wiki article on it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale [wikipedia.org]
    • by istewart (463887)
      No, Type II civilizations typically dedicate themselves to following the touring schedules of jam bands like the Grateful Dead and Phish. Their artifacts can be seen rusting away in junkyards that specialize in German cars.
  • How can there not be life out there?
  • To provide some really cool stereo(3D?) images.
    • That would be very cool. Unfortunately, these objects are so far away that there is very little parallax (measurable by instruments using various points on the Earth's orbit as the locations of the two pictures) and thus can't be seen by the human eye.
  • More info (Score:3, Informative)

    by ByteSlicer (735276) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @05:08PM (#18744513)
    NewScientist has an article with an explanation here [newscientist.com].
  • by HW_Hack (1031622) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @05:15PM (#18744601)
    Not really - a million monkees blowing up a million stars could achieve the same result

    • by halovaa (774219)
      Yes but the Monkees didn't write their own songs, or play their own instruments...wouldn't that imply a more powerful being running the show behind the scenes?
  • If a nebula with near-perfect bilateral symmetry has exotic space-hardened organic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and there's no one around to smell it, does it have an odor?
  • Feel warned! This is what may happen in planetary system near you when you try to heat up your local monolith.

  • This is admittedly off topic, but does the word symmetrical bug anyone else besides me? Doesn't symmetric work just as well? Sure its commonly used, but what about the word dynamical? That's been popping up in scientific journals for at least the last decade or so. And orientated? wtf?
  • ...the celestial object in question is right at the corner where two edges of the universe meet. The edges are of course mirrored to fool astronomers. :-)
  • Do we know that it is symmetrical on all axes? Maybe our view to the nebula just happens to coincide with the one axis that exhibits that sort of symmetry?
  • The photo is 163x110 pixels. Is this supposed to be a photo of outer space or what?
  • How can these scientists prove this image is not an optical illusion caused by some object between us and it? I find it very hard to believe that an object actually exploded into such a shape, and the fact that the researchers involved do not even mention that as a possibility seems absurd to me.

    • I suspect that nobody mentions the possiblity of the appearance being an optical illusion caused by some object between us and it because where that the case, then signs of such would stick out and detection of such an object would be trivial. First off, it only affects this star. That it does not affect the other nearby stars and give similar appearance in the same wavelengths that this photo was taken, including other stars within the area of the nebula would seem to rule that out.
  • It's a beacon of light built by the inhabitants of Cydonia. How do I know then? Well, when it's examined closely, it will no longer look special, and instead look like a normal natural phenomenon. They're tricky that way, those cydonians.

    Or it could have been the egyptians.
  • by BoaZaur (451593)
    But why this is the "Route of Ages" as spoted by Andromeda's crew long ago in the futur year of 5017 bc

    Free Life
  • 4 faces (Score:2, Funny)

    by bronney (638318)
  • Somewhere, there's an unbelieveably advanced civilization trying to communicate across the unbridgeable distances of space. After beggaring their economy and pillaging their planet for resources, they finally were able to construct the "GIANT SIGNAL TO INTELLIGENT RACES ACROSS THE GALAXY", supposing that it was self-evidently clear that no natural stellar process can form such a perfect square shape.

    I mean, sure, it might confuse the more primitive, stupider races. But how important are they?
  • Am I the only person that thinks it looks like standard lense glare? All of the other stars around it have similar effects, but they aren't nearly as drastic because they aren't nearly as bright, thus they simply look like blurry rings instead of prismatic (is that the right word???) effects.
  • Speaking of the Hexagon on Saturn, one of my co-workers found this math paper that sems to describe the phenomenon. At the time, the article stated that they were still looking for a cause for the pattern. Anyone with a subscription to the chaos journal want to see if the paper really applies?
  • Looks to me like it's two stars that slammed into each other, creating a double splash, which we just happen to be seeing from the side - so an hourglass shape if viewed in 3D.

The 11 is for people with the pride of a 10 and the pocketbook of an 8. -- R.B. Greenberg [referring to PDPs?]