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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old May 10 2014, 07:19 AM   #1
Killer Frost
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Sun's 'Long-Lost Sibling'

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/...-lost-brother/

http://phys.org/news/2014-05-astrono...ther-pave.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/0...n_5295475.html

Sun's 'Long-Lost Sibling' Star Identified By Texas Astronomers
A University of Texas astronomer has identified a star 110 light-years from Earth as a probable "solar sibling." The star likely originated in the same star cluster as the sun, and that could yield fresh insights not only into how our home star was born about 4.5 billion years ago but also into how life on Earth got started.
Cool. If we could get there now!
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Old May 10 2014, 09:34 AM   #2
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Re: Sun's 'Long-Lost Sibling'

*puts suitcase in the car*

Hop in, but you better take your bathroom break now.


All joking aside, this is cool! It's nice to actually find a sister to our own Sun!
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Old May 10 2014, 12:43 PM   #3
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Re: Sun's 'Long-Lost Sibling'

Right. Astronomers do not know as much about stars as we are led to believe.

Around 1900, the star FG Sagittae was an inconspicuous hot star of temperature 50,000° K and magnitude 13. Over the next 60 years it cooled to about 8000° K and brightened to magnitude 9 as its radiation shifted from the far-UV to the visual region. Then, around 1970, spectral lines appeared of newly present elements—formed by some energetic process or liberated from the interior. The star cooled further in the 1970s and 80s, with a falling of magnitude to 16 in 1996. So, after abruptly brightening by four magnitudes, it dropped by seven magnitudes, changing from blue to yellow since 1955, and today appears as the central star of the planetary nebula (nova remnant?) He 1-5. It is unique in affording direct evidence of stellar evolution across the H-R diagram, but on a time scale comparable with the human lifetime—not at all the kind of slow stellar evolution that the mainstream theory envisions.
Actually, FG Sagittae is not unique in this dance up and down the H-R diagram. Others include V 605 Aquilae, V 4334 Sagittarii, V838 Monocerotis and Capella. Our ignorance concerning such stars is glossed over with terms like "variable star" and "late thermal pulse." The fact is, researchers have been trying for years to computer model stars and how they nova, yet all the models can produce is a fizzle, not a bang. Until that is worked out, I'd take any claims of stellar genealogy with a grain of salt.
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Last edited by Metryq; May 10 2014 at 01:04 PM.
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Old May 10 2014, 02:11 PM   #4
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Re: Sun's 'Long-Lost Sibling'

^It's a given that any scientific conclusion is not presented as inviolable fact, just the best model that we've been able to construct given current knowledge. The entire scientific process is designed to challenge and question such models, to test them to destruction if necessary in order to weed out the inaccuracies and mistakes and draw closer to the truth. When scientists issue a finding, they aren't saying "This is Truth and you must never question it." On the contrary, they're saying to other scientists, "This is the way things appear to us, now please try to prove us wrong." Only if a conclusion survives that peer-review process is it kept around, and only as long as it isn't contradicted by new evidence.

The problem is that the press and the public don't understand this, so they mistake scientific findings for being the same kind of assertions of Truth that politicians, pundits, and ideologues issue.
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Old May 10 2014, 04:30 PM   #5
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Re: Sun's 'Long-Lost Sibling'

Christopher wrote: View Post
^It's a given that any scientific conclusion is not presented as inviolable fact... The problem is that the press and the public don't understand this, so they mistake scientific findings for being the same kind of assertions of Truth that politicians, pundits, and ideologues issue.
That's called "science by press release." And the linked articles do present the conclusion as fact: "Astronomers discover Sun's long-lost brother." No "may," no "perhaps." To me the effort sounds like an a priori goal using statistical analysis to find a match that is "close enough." It also proceeds from the nebular hypothesis of star and planet formation, which has long been proven untenable.

The real problem is not the scientific method; the problem is that method is no longer followed as purely as we are all taught. There are budgets, grants and all other manner of pressures that affect the research. That's practically spelled out in the articles:

"If we can figure out in what part of the galaxy the sun formed, we can constrain conditions on the early solar system. That could help us understand why we are here."
...
"So it could be argued that solar siblings are key candidates in the search for extraterrestrial life," Ramirez said.
Translation: This is what we (allegedly) found, and what more we may find if our funding is continued.

Also note that the scientific paper has not yet been published. Announce spectacular results to the public press first.

EDIT

And the mainstream reverses itself: Stars on the outskirts actually are the oldest

Yet this does nothing to clarify the picture:

"Our findings are counterintuitive," said Konstantin Getman of Penn State University, University Park, who led the study. "It means we need to think harder and come up with more ideas of how stars like our sun are formed."
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Last edited by Metryq; May 10 2014 at 05:09 PM. Reason: added article
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Old May 10 2014, 05:11 PM   #6
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Re: Sun's 'Long-Lost Sibling'

J. Allen wrote: View Post
All joking aside, this is cool! It's nice to actually find a sister to our own Sun!
How can they tell it's a girl?
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Old May 10 2014, 07:52 PM   #7
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Re: Sun's 'Long-Lost Sibling'

Captrek wrote: View Post
J. Allen wrote: View Post
All joking aside, this is cool! It's nice to actually find a sister to our own Sun!
How can they tell it's a girl?
http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/...-lost-brother/

Fox obviously can't, since they think its a boy.
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Old May 10 2014, 09:06 PM   #8
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Re: Sun's 'Long-Lost Sibling'

Captrek wrote: View Post
How can they tell it's a girl?
Uh, depending on whether it's a B or G type star?

We may be on the wrong side. I've heard that if you can get behind a star and lift its tail...

No, no! That can be dangerous if it turns out to be a skunk star.
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