Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Space Science

How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years? 69

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

How Will the Constellations Change In 50K Years?

Comments Filter:
  • That's pretty cool (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BadAnalogyGuy ( 945258 ) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Saturday October 02, 2010 @03:31AM (#33768824)

    In 50,000 years, humans will probably not even be on Earth anymore. Either we will have annihilated ourselves, or we will have migrated to other worlds. In 6,000 years we have gone from the dawn of history to a worldwide information network and space travel. In 9 times that time, we should be much further along!

    What would those constellations look like from our new homes near other star systems?

  • by MartinSchou ( 1360093 ) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @04:18AM (#33768932)

    Not so much what the constellations looked like, when they were first dreamed up, but more what the fuck they were smoking?

    I can't draw stick figures (even XKCD), and yet I can easily tell that none of the constellations look like what they're supposed to.

  • ... and Celestia (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @04:37AM (#33769000)

    And if someone wants to know what the constellations look like from 5k light years away today (or in 50k years), please run Celestia (http://www.shatters.net/celestia/)

    Bonus -- modpacks allow real time simulation of spacecraft from Star Wreck to Blake's 7 and from Red Dwarf via Battlestar Galactica to Star Wars.

    Everyone's chance to make the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs.

  • Betelguese (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mister_playboy ( 1474163 ) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @06:06AM (#33769252)

    A more interesting change to Orion would be Betelguese going supernova [wikipedia.org] (and that event becoming visible on Earth) in the next 50,000 years.

    Betelgeuse is already old for its size class and will explode relatively soon compared to its age. At the current distance of Betelgeuse from the Earth, such a supernova explosion would be the brightest recorded; outshining the Moon in the night sky and becoming easily visible in broad daylight.

  • by tommituura ( 1346233 ) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @07:01AM (#33769380)
    I sure hope someone could tell me if these findings tell us if the stars will be right during the next 50k years... It would make me at ease knowing how much time we have left before the great old ones... unless, of course, they are coming soon. Even then, I'd like to have the information so I could make preparations (namely, leave this world.)
  • by ladoga ( 931420 ) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @09:23AM (#33769742)
    You could also say that the empire shifted it's capital to Konstantinopolis, which was a central trade hub and easily defendable. Meanwhile the city of Rome became increasingly irrelevant and was lost to germanic tribes in 410 and 472AD. It was captured back by the Roman Empire, which later in medieval times the Pope (previously one of bishops of orthodox christian church)and his western vassals began to call Byzantine or Greek empire due to propaganda reasons. Interestingly it was the Pope who ruled the city of Rome after the Empire finally lost it to Lombards in 751 AD.

    The empire that was centered in Konstantinopolis was ruled by emperors in direct succession to the ancient Roman emperors and the name of the state remained Imperium Romanum until it's very end in 1461 (fall of Trebizond). Their neighbors called them Romans as well (Rom, in turkish and so forth). Greek had been de facto language of the eastern part of the Roman empire during its whole existence so it's not suprising that use of latin lessened in administrative tasks during the centuries as the western parts of the empire were lost. This ofcourse gave good fuel to papal propaganda of "Greek empire".

    It wasn't the barbarians, but the Crusaders who by sacking Constantinople during the 4th Crusade, dealt the Roman Empire the blow from which it never recovered. Constantinople finally fell to Turks in 1453.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_empire [wikipedia.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Crusade [wikipedia.org]

    When it comes to Greek civilization and culture, it's still alive and kicking. So don't call it dead yet.

"To take a significant step forward, you must make a series of finite improvements." -- Donald J. Atwood, General Motors