back to article Astroboffins discover when white and brown dwarfs mix, the results are rather explosive

Astrophysicists have finally solved a mystery lasting almost 350 years to uncover the first documented merger between a white and brown dwarf star. Père Dom Anthelme, a French astronomer and monk, described a vivid outburst in the skies below the constellation Cygnus, which is allegedly shaped like a swan, back in 1670. …

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What Fun

At some point we're going to be able to figure out how often these sort of events occur by simply looking at the distribution of elements in our local environment. I like looking at my wedding ring and thinking that about 6 billion years ago the metal was created when something went BANG!

Nice story - thanks!

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Re: What Fun

Not just your wedding ring, important parts of your fingers (eg the calcium in your bones) came from novae too.

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Pint

Re: What Fun

Don't forget the creation of Special Brew!

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Anonymous Coward

Alcohol ?

One of them must have been driving under the influence then. Yeah, I know it's methyl but stars are able to withstand any substance as long as it makes them feel good.

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Cygnus, which is shaped like a swan

...if you selected ten random stars, superimposed a rough cruciform on them and described that as "shaped like a swan".

All I can say is how pleased I am by the invention of telly, cinema, computers and beer as alternative forms of entertainment to sitting around in the dark for thousands of years inventing ridiculous names for made up star groupings.

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(Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

Re: Cygnus, which is shaped like a swan

All right, grumpy. To the people who first clocked it a few millennia ago, it looked a bit like a swan. Y'know, hence the name Cygnus.

This is why we don't have time machines. Otherwise, we'd have people from the future coming back in time to give us an ear-bashing all day, every day.

C.

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Re: Cygnus, which is shaped like a swan

This is why we don't have time machines. Otherwise, we'd have people from the future coming back in time to give us an ear-bashing all day, every day.

I don't know, I think that'd be fun as long as I was the one doing the time-travel ear-bashing. I'd be like Bowerick Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged.

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Childcatcher

Re: Cygnus, which is shaped like a swan

This is why we don't have time machines. Otherwise, we'd have people from the future coming back in time to give us an ear-bashing all day, every day.

I think it is more likely that future historians regard this period as toxic and avoid it completely. This was most likely caused by some of them showing up to say nasty things and then being exposed to cat videos. Once the rot had set in, future society wouldn't have them back.

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Re: Cygnus, which is shaped like a swan

It's quite true though; constellations hold the absolute worse record at pareidolia. Compared to how much most of them actually resemble their names to any degree, perceived images of Jesus on knotted wood or toast are practically photorealistic stuff. Which is probably why the constellations are named wildly different things in different cultures, even when the formation is distinctive enough to consist of pretty much the same stars in most of its variants. Is it a dipper, is it a cart or is it a bear then...? Screw that nonsense, I get that we're stuck with it but it's still indefensible...

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Re: Cygnus, which is shaped like a swan

"Is it a dipper, is it a cart or is it a bear then...?"

Part of the problem there is that those aren't actually the same thing. The stars making up the saucepan/plough/dipper/cart are only a fraction of Ursa Major; less than half the stars and maybe 1/4-1/3 of the total area. The Big Dipper doesn't look anything like a bear because it's not supposed to and no-one ever claimed it did. Ursa Major, on the other hand, has a clear body, legs and head that looks at least as much like a bear as anything I can draw - not all that much, but you can at least see the general form if someone tells you it's there.

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Pint

Interesting what a range of chemcials you can make just banging some near stars together

IE mostly Hydrogen.

Raising a pint of another interesting mix of chemicals in appreciation.

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Re: Interesting what a range of chemcials you can make just banging some near stars together

well, you star with Hydrogen, but than, after fusing some together to get Helium, you can use those to create Beryllium, and so on... if you wait long enough you'll get to Iron. And that's when the fun starts! (Unless the star is the Sun. There will be no fun for Earth then)

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Re: Interesting what a range of chemcials you can make just banging some near stars together

For some reason I now have the "Elements Song" in my head. Sigh.

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Trollface

Re: Interesting what a range of chemcials you can make just banging some near stars together

"if you wait long enough you'll get to Iron"

Oh thank heavens, we finally found something we can call "ironic" without fear of being immediately contradicted...

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Re: Interesting what a range of chemcials you can make just banging some near stars together

Actually, if my memory serves me correctly, beryllium isn't produced in stellar nucleosynthesis (or in the Big Bang for that matter) in any appreciable amount for some reason or other to do with the relative energies of fusion of the light elements. It's actually a lot rarer in the universe than any of the other light elements as a result, apparently being largely synthesised from cosmic ray collisions, according to Wikipedia.

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