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Space Science

Dying Star Mimics Our Sun's Death 149

coondoggie writes "In about 5 billion years, our Sun will face a nasty death. Scientists with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics this week released dramatic new pictures of a dying star much like the Sun, about 550 light-years from Earth. According to the researchers, Chi Cygni has swollen in size to become a red giant star so large that if it were in our solar system it would swallow every planet out to Mars and cook the asteroid belt. The star has started to pulse dramatically, beating like a giant heart with a period of 408 days." The research team produced a video of the pulsating star, using infrared images captured via very long baseline interferometry.
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Dying Star Mimics Our Sun's Death

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  • Re:Do we care? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:10AM (#30454910) Homepage Journal

    Sometimes we study things just to scratch an itch, or possibly because the object under study might be of indirect relevance to us [].

  • Re:Do we care? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:10AM (#30454912) Journal

    and release enough long-lasting pollutants to make life unsustainable.

    Huh? I might buy that we could kill ourselves off but it seems to be giving us too much credit to assume that we could kill off all life on this rock. Life has been around in one form or another for billions of years and has survived far more cataclysmic events than anything we could ever hope to dish out.

  • Older than dirt (Score:1, Insightful)

    by iamapizza ( 1312801 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:12AM (#30454922)
    1) We learned about this in school
    2) The picture is an artist's conception, I didn't see multiple pictures in TFA.
    3) ???
    4) Profit
  • Re:Older than dirt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uid7306m ( 830787 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @04:42AM (#30455022)

    Yeah, the crime of the modern educational system is that it produces people who know all the answers and have no sense of wonder. That "older than dirt" guy probably looks at a computer and only sees a white box.

    You should look at a computer and see the thread of execution hopping between kernel routines and pausing at mutexes. You should see the electrons whooshing through the silicon, underneath an overhanging crystalline gate electrode. You should feel the electric field sucking at you: it's almost strong enough to rip electrons out of the SiO2 dielectric. And back up at higher level, those spin locks should be like an amusement park ride: puke your guts out if you go around in one for more than a few microseconds. :)

    Yah, we knew stars became red giants. But that's not the right way to look at it.

  • Re:Do we care? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @05:53AM (#30455242) Homepage

    I think you have a hard time (as all of us do) imagining the time periods involved. There was even no mammals 1/10th of that 5 billion years ago; heck, life hadn't really colonized land yet.

    And anyway, the Sun is slowly becoming brighter as time passes; in around 1 billion years theere will be no oceans left on Earth, no biosphere.

  • Re:Older than dirt (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @07:28AM (#30455792)

    I have one word for you: Babbage [].

  • Re:Older than dirt (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday December 16, 2009 @10:16AM (#30457142) Homepage Journal

    I'm a geezer, but I agree with you -- but it's not geezers that see a computer as a black box, it's those uneducated in its workings. How many young people do you know that have programmed in assembly?

    And I think you missed his main point, that the article's headline was disingenuous at least. If they have photos, why show an artist's conception? As he said, TFA didn't say anything I didn't read about when I was seven, and that was fifty years ago.

    TFA is pure bunk. It's only good point is that you can google for the actual photos.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.