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Thread: Stars go missing.

  1. Top | #31
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post

    It depends on the angle of traversal and amount of travel. If the angle is as narrow as possible (i.e. the rock came from our moon and headed straight at the "now missing" star a million years ago), then the star will not be visible for many 100's of thousands of years while it is in the "sweet spot".
    But the article says that there are a hundred "missing stars". Your suggestion would be a real stretch for explaining just one missing star.

    The biggest problem I see is lack of information. Journalists that write such articles generally know squat about science. They write the articles, not to convey the science but, to attract eyes (or clicks) so the stress is on writing a provocative or controversial article rather than an informative article.
    Maybe... how long have the stars gone "missing"? If only a day or a month... then I would totally expect this... NOT "missing" a star once in a while (and "hundreds" out of the trillions visible is quite the once in a rare while), I would find that quite odd. In my day to day experience, it is a rare occurrence that all things around me are not occluded by any other thing.
    A very big rock, very far away from us, moving very slowly, should be expected to occlude a star or two for a year or so.. or century or so even..
    There are fewer than 2,500 stars visible to the naked eye at any one time from any given location on Earth with good viewing conditions. There's about 5,000 visible stars if you ignore the fact that the Earth blocks your view of more than half of them at any given time. Of course, that depends on how good your eyesight is; A magnitude 6 star is visible to most people, in good viewing conditions away from light pollution, but some can see dimmer stars - if you set your limit at magnitude 6.8, there's as many as about 9,000 visible stars.

    From a suburban location, you would be lucky to be able to see more than a few hundred stars; From a large city, it's quite possible that only a few dozen stars are visible even on the clearest of moonless nights.

    Certainly there's a lot fewer than "trillions" of visible stars. There's only about 0.1 trillion stars in our galaxy, most not visible from Earth even with the Hubble Space Telescope; and while Hubble can see a lot of galaxies, it can't resolve individual stars at intergalactic distances.

  2. Top | #32
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post

    It depends on the angle of traversal and amount of travel. If the angle is as narrow as possible (i.e. the rock came from our moon and headed straight at the "now missing" star a million years ago), then the star will not be visible for many 100's of thousands of years while it is in the "sweet spot".
    But the article says that there are a hundred "missing stars". Your suggestion would be a real stretch for explaining just one missing star.

    The biggest problem I see is lack of information. Journalists that write such articles generally know squat about science. They write the articles, not to convey the science but, to attract eyes (or clicks) so the stress is on writing a provocative or controversial article rather than an informative article.
    Maybe... how long have the stars gone "missing"? If only a day or a month... then I would totally expect this... NOT "missing" a star once in a while (and "hundreds" out of the trillions visible is quite the once in a rare while), I would find that quite odd. In my day to day experience, it is a rare occurrence that all things around me are not occluded by any other thing.
    A very big rock, very far away from us, moving very slowly, should be expected to occlude a star or two for a year or so.. or century or so even..
    That was a hundred "missing" stars in a full sky map, not all together. But your question does address my problem that the article gave no real information. It gives two data points, a sky map taken in 1950 compared to a sky map taken recently, two maps taken about seventy years apart. No info on movement of the stars against the background stars, no info on if maybe the 1950 map caught the stars' during a flaring phase, no info on much of anything.

    There were about a quarter million stars with "irregularities" between these two maps. There has been reasonable speculation to explain most but not yet a consensus on these one hundred.

  3. Top | #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post

    Maybe... how long have the stars gone "missing"? If only a day or a month... then I would totally expect this... NOT "missing" a star once in a while (and "hundreds" out of the trillions visible is quite the once in a rare while), I would find that quite odd. In my day to day experience, it is a rare occurrence that all things around me are not occluded by any other thing.
    A very big rock, very far away from us, moving very slowly, should be expected to occlude a star or two for a year or so.. or century or so even..
    There are fewer than 2,500 stars visible to the naked eye at any one time from any given location on Earth with good viewing conditions. There's about 5,000 visible stars if you ignore the fact that the Earth blocks your view of more than half of them at any given time. Of course, that depends on how good your eyesight is; A magnitude 6 star is visible to most people, in good viewing conditions away from light pollution, but some can see dimmer stars - if you set your limit at magnitude 6.8, there's as many as about 9,000 visible stars.

    From a suburban location, you would be lucky to be able to see more than a few hundred stars; From a large city, it's quite possible that only a few dozen stars are visible even on the clearest of moonless nights.

    Certainly there's a lot fewer than "trillions" of visible stars. There's only about 0.1 trillion stars in our galaxy, most not visible from Earth even with the Hubble Space Telescope; and while Hubble can see a lot of galaxies, it can't resolve individual stars at intergalactic distances.
    Hubble can't resolve individual stars from other galaxies? Oh. Yea, then much lower number. I strongly doubt scientists are freaking out over what their "naked eyes" are able to resolve or not. I'd be pretty surprised if they declared a star "missing" because they personally didn't rub the sleep out of their eyes that morning.

  4. Top | #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post

    Maybe... how long have the stars gone "missing"? If only a day or a month... then I would totally expect this... NOT "missing" a star once in a while (and "hundreds" out of the trillions visible is quite the once in a rare while), I would find that quite odd. In my day to day experience, it is a rare occurrence that all things around me are not occluded by any other thing.
    A very big rock, very far away from us, moving very slowly, should be expected to occlude a star or two for a year or so.. or century or so even..
    That was a hundred "missing" stars in a full sky map, not all together. But your question does address my problem that the article gave no real information. It gives two data points, a sky map taken in 1950 compared to a sky map taken recently, two maps taken about seventy years apart. No info on movement of the stars against the background stars, no info on if maybe the 1950 map caught the stars' during a flaring phase, no info on much of anything.

    There were about a quarter million stars with "irregularities" between these two maps. There has been reasonable speculation to explain most but not yet a consensus on these one hundred.
    I was thinking that if I took a still picture of the traffic in the city at night, I would probably determine from any given still image that approximately half the drivers out there were not using their turn signal. Think about it.

  5. Top | #35
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    The 24/7 news media has to fill time.

  6. Top | #36
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Yet it appears that it was astronomers who brought 'missing stars' to the attention of the media.

  7. Top | #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post

    Maybe... how long have the stars gone "missing"? If only a day or a month... then I would totally expect this... NOT "missing" a star once in a while (and "hundreds" out of the trillions visible is quite the once in a rare while), I would find that quite odd. In my day to day experience, it is a rare occurrence that all things around me are not occluded by any other thing.
    A very big rock, very far away from us, moving very slowly, should be expected to occlude a star or two for a year or so.. or century or so even..
    That was a hundred "missing" stars in a full sky map, not all together. But your question does address my problem that the article gave no real information. It gives two data points, a sky map taken in 1950 compared to a sky map taken recently, two maps taken about seventy years apart. No info on movement of the stars against the background stars, no info on if maybe the 1950 map caught the stars' during a flaring phase, no info on much of anything.

    There were about a quarter million stars with "irregularities" between these two maps. There has been reasonable speculation to explain most but not yet a consensus on these one hundred.
    I was thinking that if I took a still picture of the traffic in the city at night, I would probably determine from any given still image that approximately half the drivers out there were not using their turn signal. Think about it.
    Wouldn't professional astronomists take such things into consideration?

  8. Top | #38
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    I find the story intriguing because it seems to show that there are always things throwing astronomers for a loop. Predictions, observations, etc... indicating what was originally thought wasn't spot-on. Helps in the growing process.
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post

    I was thinking that if I took a still picture of the traffic in the city at night, I would probably determine from any given still image that approximately half the drivers out there were not using their turn signal. Think about it.
    Wouldn't professional astronomists take such things into consideration?
    No. Professional scientists always do occasional research on web boards to find answers to problems they can't solve because they just aren't as smart and educated in the field of gut science.

  9. Top | #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post

    I was thinking that if I took a still picture of the traffic in the city at night, I would probably determine from any given still image that approximately half the drivers out there were not using their turn signal. Think about it.
    Wouldn't professional astronomists take such things into consideration?
    Maybe. I'm not a professional "astronomist". That's why I asked how long any given star was missing. It sounds like we are talking about two data points. Not very professional to draw conclusions based on two data points.

  10. Top | #40
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post

    I was thinking that if I took a still picture of the traffic in the city at night, I would probably determine from any given still image that approximately half the drivers out there were not using their turn signal. Think about it.
    Wouldn't professional astronomists take such things into consideration?
    Maybe. I'm not a professional "astronomist". That's why I asked how long any given star was missing. It sounds like we are talking about two data points. Not very professional to draw conclusions based on two data points.
    The media story gives us the readers only two data points. Presumably the astronomers have more information to work with. After all, the story says that the original list was in the thousands and that through a process of elimination it was reduced to a hundred missing stars.

    Which, presumably, means that they had something more to work on than what we have in a brief story, and that professional astronomists are not complete idiots.

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