Astronomy

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A lot of you are probably already aware of our meta site, but I wanted to take the time to remind you that it only requires 5 reputation points to participate--and this is a critical part of our site. Meta is where we decide what kinds of questions we like in the community, it is where we pick our topic of the week, it is where we can deal with different issues of site growth. Did you know that we can suggest revisions to the help center? These are the types of things that meta allows us to discuss. In fact, this post would be best suited on meta because it is not about the field of astronomy, but about this site. I have posted it here so that you (especially new users) can see it. Maintaining activity on our meta site is important to the long term health of our site. If we don't have activity there, we could wither and ultimately get shut down. I appreciate the recent surge of questions, but I hope that many of you will stick around and participate in making this site work!

For more on Meta, read this blog post. Though, note that the link to meta is now located under the This Site dropdown on the black top bar.

Also check out this blog post on the important questions to ask on Meta.

Thanks for your continued contribution to Astronomy This Site!


If by "general proximity" you mean "reasonably close", i.e. a few light minutes away (Earth is 8 light minutes away from the Sun), then people on Earth would see the star evolve in the future, the time dictated by how far away the star is.

Our closest neighboring star (besides the Sun) is Alpha Centauri, around 4.37 light years away from Earth, so if it turned into a neutron star or something else right now, we wouldn't notice that until January 2020. A similar reasoning can be applied to any star in our galaxy (extragalactical time measurement is a bit more complicated because you have to put Hubble's law, i.e. the expansion of the Universe, into view).

Note, however, that all three stars in the Alpha Centauri complex aren't really material for a spectacle, unlike Betelguese in Orion (which may even explode during our lifetime), or some other examples I can't think of currently.

No one ever sees a black hole form without going inside.

Instead you see something evolve into something that looks more and more like a black hole. And eventually it looks so similar than if a friend casually asked about it you might tell your friend it is a black hole because the difference hardly matters to your friend. But you'd know that you haven't seen it yet.

In particular, reactions that normally take place during shorter and shorter time intervals would be forever newly visible to you. So when your funding agency asks if you need more money to watch the star transition you'd always say yes since there is new physics to see. The physics of the very fast and high frequency slowed down and red shifted for easy observation. Which very much is happening before any black hole forms.

If it just forms a neutron star, then if earth sends a "is it a neutron star yet, the time here is xx:yy:zz" every second then they will wait around 9 years before the time stamp they send out is sent back with a "yes it it became a neutron star when I got your xx:yy:zz message." And it takes about nine years since that is about how long a round trip light signal takes to get near the nearest non sun star and back.


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Is it time for your club to open up?

I don’t know about you, but I’m really tired of Zoom meetings. Fortunately, here in Michigan, covid cases are down, and in Washtenaw County, where I live, the vaccination rates are quite high. So, instead of trying to twist someone’s arm to speak to us via Zoom, I felt it was time that our club, ARROW, met face to face.

Instead of cramming into a University of Michigan classroom—which we haven’t yet gotten permission to do anyway—I decided that meeting in one of Ann Arbor’s lovely parks would be just the ticket. I’m not a big planner, so my original thought would be for everyone to just show up, maybe bring a radio, and a bag lunch.

Nick, W8XM, wasn’t having any of that, though. He volunteered to head over to Costco and purchase what we needed for a real cookout. He bought burgers, brats, cheese, onions, lettuce, buns, and a cooler full of Coke (both regular and diet) and water. He even brought his pop-up canopy. Dinesh AB3DC brought a pop-up gas grill, Jack N8PMG brought some snacks, Don AC8TO also brought some beverages, and 18 of us had a real feast.

Some guys brought radios. Dave N8SBE brought his KX2 and worked some FT4. Ed AB8OJ brought his AREDN node, and Thom W8TAM showed up in what he calls his “POTA pursuit vehicle,” a former cop car, with an IC-7300 and screwdriver antenna installed. I brought my KX-3, but never did get around to setting it up.

The weather cooperated, too. At 4 pm, it started pouring, and it looked like it was going to be a wet evening, but the rain cleared out by 5 pm, and stayed nice, if a little humid, throughout the rest of the evening.

This event turned out a lot better than I had planned. It was great seeing everyone face-to-face again. We may just have to do this again next month.

If your club hasn’t yet gathered in person yet, consider doing something similar to what we just did. As long as you’re all vaccinated, there’s not much risk in meeting outdoors, and the summertime is the time to do it.

Our next event is going to be a small gathering at the same park for Field Day in a couple of weeks. Instead of our usual 4A + GOTA operation, we’ll be either 1A or 2A, and probably only operate from 2pm until 10pm on Saturday, when we’re supposed to be out of the park.

How’s your club doing as far as getting back together again? I’d like to know.


#8toAbolition

At its root, policing and prisons are systems designed to uphold oppression. One thousand people are killed by police every year, and Black people are murdered at three times the rate of white people. Up to fifty percent of people murdered by the police have disabilities. Up to 40% of police officers have perpetrated intimate partner violence, and sexual violence is the second most common form of police brutality, primarily targeting Black women and especially those who are sex workers and drug users. Many of these incidents of police violence are undocumented by studies and only uplifted through grassroots movements. Prisons, police, and prosecutors work closely together to sustain white supremacist, capitalist, ableist, and cisheteropatriarchal systems of extraction and death.

Black people who are women, trans, gender non-conforming, sex working, and queer are often criminalized for actions they take to survive gendered violence, as we have seen in the cases of Tracy McCarter , Alisha Walker, GiGi Thomas , Marissa Alexander, Bresha Meadows, Cyntoia Brown, and many others. We reject the notion of a “perfect survivor” we do not believe anyone deserves to be caged, nor do we prescribe to the state’s notions of “innocence” and culpability. We recognize that the system of policing is intertwined with the prison and military industrial complex, both here and abroad. In abolishing policing, we seek to abolish imperialist forms of police, such as militaries responsible for generations of violence against Black and brown people worldwide.

We believe in a world where there are zero police murders because there are zero police

Abolition can’t wait.

The end goal of these reforms is not to create better, friendlier, or more community-oriented police or prisons. Instead, we hope to build toward a society without police or prisons, where communities are equipped to provide for their safety and wellbeing.


3 Answers 3

You are wrong, here is why.

Astronomy is an observational science. Its program is to collect data which will be of potential use to astrophysicists and cosmologists, and to determine the presence or absence of specific objects whose existence is predicted in models proposed by astrophysicists and cosmologists. Accomplishing these goals requires the continuous invention of new observational methods and continuous improvement of existing ones, both of which are themselves products of the scientific method and require extensive experimentation.

Astrophysics and cosmology are both grounded in physics and mathematics and these fields have become experimental with the advent of supercomputers, which allow astrophysicists and cosmologists to create and then computationally test models of things like the evolution of galactic structure- and then compare the predictions of those experimental models with observations made by the astronomers.

In addition, high energy particle collider experiments duplicate the conditions present in the very very early universe, and the results of those scientific experiments inform the model-making efforts of the astrophysicists and cosmologists.

That's a high school level chart for lab work, not the scientific method.

"In these fields, one just simply observes nature and accepts whatever it gives you, and then one formulates conclusions based off of their observations."

No, this is not what you do. The point is to make models that make predictions, then test those predictions against recorded data (not experiments). Note that "prediction" doesn't always mean predicting things that have not happened yet. It also means also predicting results, even if those results were recorded at the same time you collected your input data. That's how you check. You run your recorded input data through your model and see whether the model's output matches (predicts) the recorded result.

The crux here is recorded data not experiments. It doesn't matter how you get it as long as it is real and accurate. Consider that an experiment is just observing how nature behaves to get recorded data. Just a more convenient one than observing natural events. But if you can't make an experiment, then you have to search and wait for an appropriate natural event to occur to collect data to test your model against.

This makes sense. After all, do you care how a wing flies in a wind tunnel? Do you care how a star forms in a lab? I sure don't. I care how the wing flies in the sky and how a real star forms in space. The ultimate goal is to apply the model to real things outside of a lab so there's literally zero point if you're only ever going to apply your model in a lab. But experiments in a lab, if you can do them, are super convenient and controlled compared to the real world so they are very helpful to speed things along. The control makes them easier to interpret but you have to be careful because it also makes them unnatural which matters because what we ultimately care about is what happens in the real world, not a lab.

If your model output doesn't match the result, you tweak your model so it does and then you have to test it against data that was not used to make your model, otherwise it would be circular reasoning. This data might be new, but could also be old having been recorded previously as long as it wasn't used to formulate your model.

Also, let's not forget that making a model that accounts for all observations within its framework, which is full of moving pieces, without needing special cases, is much more difficult than just "making conclusions."


2 Answers 2

[Apparently, I'm not permitted to add comments to the previous answer, so here is another answer that goes with the above].

We looked into this, and the region "command" syntax appears to have a bug in it. Instead, you should use canonical xpa syntax, in which you pass the string "regions" in the paramlist and the actual region string in the data buffer. In the unix shell, this would be done as follows:

The data is sent to xpaset's stdin and the paramlist is placed on the command line, after the target.

In python, this is done as follows:

Here, the first argument is the paramlist ("regions") and the second argument is the data buffer to send to DS9, in this case containing the region string.

As you see above, you can send a region with arc-second size units using a double-quote to specify arc-seconds. You can look at the regions specification for more syntactic info:

Finally, and sorry, but it's not possible to edit a region from the shell or pyds9.


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Open Dome 9th May 7pm – Black Holes and Revelations

The next open dome event at the Malcolm Parry Observatory Long Eaton is this coming Thursday evening, 9th May 2019 at 7pm.

Mr M. Perkins will be presenting a talk about Black Holes. Concentrating on the recent breaking news of a Black Hole being imaged for the first time, the talk will also cover a brief history of the understanding of these truly massive objects.

Weather permitting there will be chance for some solar observing prior to the talk which itself will start around 7.30pm. Doors open at 6.30pm and refreshments will be available. Admission is open to anybody, a suggested donation of £2 per adult is greatly appreciated towards running costs. Under 16’s to be accompanied by an adult please.



Comments:

  1. Hieronim

    Got it, thanks for the explanation.

  2. Spear

    I apologize for interfering ... I am familiar with this situation. I invite you to a discussion. Write here or in PM.

  3. Niu

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  4. Scottas

    In my opinion you commit an error. Let's discuss it.



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