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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 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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  • Optical illusion? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RyanFenton ( 230700 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:05PM (#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

  • by PinkyGigglebrain ( 730753 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:30PM (#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.
  • Re:Right angles (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:33PM (#18743841) Homepage

    Objects that are extremely regular and have right angles are usually considered to be artificial in origin.
    Yeah, like a sodium chloride crystal. :)
  • by HuguesT ( 84078 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:57PM (#18744005)
    I essentially agree, this structure could simply be a cone like SR1987a, seen edge on.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 15, 2007 @05:32PM (#18744235)
    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 TapeCutter ( 624760 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @11:21PM (#18746701) Journal
    "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's book "Demon haunted world".
  • by Ginger Unicorn ( 952287 ) on Monday April 16, 2007 @08:19AM (#18748977)
    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 neon "CRACKPOT" sign mounted on your head.

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.