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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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  • Civilisation (Score:1, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @04:06PM (#18743625) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Re:Optical illusion? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by barakn ( 641218 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @05:10PM (#18744091)
    First of all, I'd suggest looking at this higher resolution image [], available from this page [] 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 wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Sunday April 15, 2007 @05:42PM (#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.
  • by pln2bz ( 449850 ) * on Sunday April 15, 2007 @08:28PM (#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.
  • by pln2bz ( 449850 ) * on Monday April 16, 2007 @11:54AM (#18751357)
    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 that are too small and cool on their surface to have internal fusion reactions (T-type Brown Dwarfs). It's hardly a rebuttal to Don Scott's book either temporally or even topically.

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