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Scorpio rising

For the astronomically inclined there have been interesting goings on in the constellation of Scorpio these last three years. The star Delta Scorpii, a constant magnitude 2.3 for as long as anyone can remember, changed habits in July 2000. It has been a variable star ever since and not only that, seems to get a bit brighter on each cycle. It is now just a hair under becoming a first magnitude star. That means it is nearly bright enough to be seen in Manhattan and London.

As to exactly what is going on, no one seems quite sure, but it shows the sky is a changeable thing even on a human timescale.

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9 comments to Scorpio rising

  • I blame the Yanks and their turning of space into a junkyard.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I blame global warming.

  • mad dog barker

    At least space junk offsets global warming by restricting the suns rays from heating up our dear old “greenhouse”. It’s a brilliant scheme, produce more carbon dioxide and moderate the climatic effects by dumping your garbage in space. An economic miracle…

    A true American dream! ;0)

  • Matthew O'Keeffe

    Have you read “A Deepness in the Sky” by Vernor Vinge? I am half-way through it at the moment and it really is a cracking story. It won the Prometheus Award for best libertarian fiction. The story is set around “On-Off”, a star variable in the extreme. You will probably find it very interesting (if you haven’t already read it of course!)

  • Interesting goings on in Scorpio? Ahhh – that explains the tall, dark, blue-eyed strangers I keep meeting.

    Now all we need is for Mars to move into – oh I don’t know – Pisces (see above post) for all sorts of astonishing atrological events to occur. I’m thinking unexpected trips, I’m thinking new financial possibilities, I’m thinking whatever other pap the horoscope columns like feeding us.

    way hey!

  • Merlin

    Dale,
    I’m a bit of an amatuer astronomer myself, though I don’t get to do it as often as I’ld like, on the road to much. One of these days I’m going to have to get myself a nice, portable scope to carry around with me.

    But anyway, I understand the general consensus is that delta scorp is a sun-like star in the final stages of it’s life. These fairly rapid fluctuations are predicted by astrophysics in the last stages of the red giant phase of sunlike stars. If correct, a planetary nebula around the star should become visible in the next several years. Be interesting to see if that happens and who will be the first to spot it. Could be some vigilant amatuer.

  • The Stars Are Right!

    I&auml! Iä! Cthulhu fhtagn!

    Don’t tell me that wasn’t really a Shoggoth washed up on the coast of Chile a few weeks ago.

  • Dale Amon

    However there have also been suggestions that it is a binary and that the change in behavior might be connected to a recent close approach. I’ll wait for the dust to settle from the battling journal papers…

  • Tim Hall: Shhhhhhushhhh you idiot! The normals are listening.