Friday, June 12, 2009

Shrinkage

Shrinking star puzzles scientists

"We really don't know," said Nobel Prize-winning physicist Charles Townes. "It's a puzzle."

Betelgeuse, about 600 light-years away according to NASA, has lost in its radius a distance comparable to the orbit of Venus, according to Townes.


[. . .]

Over the past 15 years, Townes said, Betelgeuse has shrunk in diameter more rapidly each year. It is the first time, using a consistent measuring tool, that scientists have noticed a marked change in the size of the red supergiant, said Berkeley physicist Edward Wishnow, who has studied the star with Townes for three years.


I'm struck by the prospect of an ET civilization engaged in some unguessable act of astro-engineering . . .

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6 comments:

XiXiDu said...

That's what I too always think when reading such stories. Or that we simply haven't understood much about how the universe works yet. Then I remind myself that there is probably a much less spectacular reason...

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority that Betelgeuse is being moved to a neighboring slice of reality, where its output is generally more efficient for local orbiting bodies. The process takes a short 50 years.

...honest ;)

-Denny

kcotae said...

Well there is a recession. Maybe it affects space objects as well.;-)

CJ said...

Clearly a result of collapsing hrungs.

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