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Space Science

How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years? 69

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the late-night-slide-show dept.
astroengine writes "The stars are not static points in the sky; they move over time. That means the constellations are shifting too. With the help of NASA astronomer Robert Hurt, five famous constellations are visualized 50,000 years in the future."
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How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years?

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  • by pthisis (27352) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @02:39AM (#33768842) Homepage Journal

    The conclusion is: not very much. The little dipper will become sort of triangular instead of rectangular. The Big Dipper and Orion will be mostly unchanged as far as anyone cares (Orion's shield will warp, but the belt--which is the only thing most people look at--will remain identical), and the only other changes discussed are to incredibly ancillary constellations like Hydra.

    OTOH, there's absolutely zero discussion of a few of the stars most people have heard of and care about or any of the widely recognizable constellations outside of the big/little dippers. Will Polaris still be the North Star, or will it be replaced? Cassiopeia's Chair has famously become more and more W shaped--what will it look like as time passes? Will the Southern Cross--the flag of Australia, New Zealand, and several other southern hemisphere countries--remain the same?

    Focusing on one small star in Taurus drifting slightly? Really?

  • by Liquidrage (640463) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @05:01AM (#33769238)
    Considering the growth of light pollution, the easiest way to visualize what constellations will look like in 50k years is to picture a giant purple sky that's slightly pinkish at the horizons.

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