“Wonderful” star, indeed

Excuse me while I drool over the wondrous images from NASA’s Galaxy Evolution Explorer of this “faster than a speeding bullet” star, Mira. As reported by the BBC. It’s a binary star with a smaller orbiting companion and was first recorded in 1596 but the tail is only revealed by imaging in the ultra-violet part of the electro-magnetic spectrum. NASA have also put together an amazing animation – Quicktime video 6 Mb or Hi-Res QT video here 74 Mb. In an attempt to bring some perspective to this, that stream of stellar material is 13 light-years-long.. which is less than half almost two thirds the distance between the Earth and the most recently discovered exo-planet with water.. Adds Lo-Res version on YouTube.

, , , , ,

  • Dewi

    Pete – I am honestly trying, and I read all your links but hell it’s hard work. And it’s your fault I got dumped cos she woke to an empty bed at 3.30 and found me googling Viking settlements in 7th century Ireland. !!!! (Ripped her hair out and ran home to Mam !)

  • Dawkins

    Awesome, Pete!

  • Pete Baker

    Education isn’t an easy path to follow, Dewi.. ;op

  • Twelve Monkeys

    I really enjoy these threads, thanks Pete.

  • IJP

    … which means if you were standing at the front of the stellar material, the light you are seeing from the back of it pre-dates the first IRA ceasefire.

    See, told you NI was the centre of the universe…

    Many thanks for these links, Pete, most interesting.

  • awesome…had just read this on BBC site before coming on, wonder how the fundamentalists (Earth born 4,000 years ago, no evolutuion etc) can explain away this type of galactic wonder without further revising their Holy Books to say some rubbish about how we forgot to mention the rest of the universe until Galileo, Einstien, Planck etc pointed it out to us. Sniping aside this is an awesome image that confounds our small-minded ideas of distance and lifespan.

  • Belfast Gonzo


    If you’re interested, google the story on the two German scientists who claim to have broken the speed of light. Not being a scientist, I’m not sure if this is another ‘perpetual motion’ story or not…

  • Pete Baker

    “who claim to have”

    That’s the part that causes me to step back and wait..

  • snakebrain

    I thought there’d already been an experiment somewhere that demonstrated light could be forced to move between two distant points with 0 passage of time. Hazy memory from Focus or suchlike..

  • Kevster

    I love the science and history threads as well and appreciate your posting them very much.

    I recommend the animation in this one to those who may have skipped it.

    all the best

  • pauljames

    keep ’em coming Pete

  • Wilde Rover

    Enlightening as always, Pete.

    I must say though, some of the images can be a little disquieting.

    I suppose the human brain is wired to shut out the fact that we are huddled on a lump of rock hurtling through the galaxy.

    Anyway, long may these stellar threads continue. By the way, Pete, will you be doing a thread on Venus’ next dance across the sun (or have I missed one)?

  • kensei

    Wonderful images isn’t science great etc but the more important point is your pic is screwing up the formatting on the site.