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Hubble Discovers Birth of Galaxy

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the looking-back-in-time dept.

Science 57

Joerg gave us the link-up to the latest NASA success. The Hubble Space Telescope has begun peering into the formation of a galaxy, with spectecular results. One of the questions they are currently trying to answer is whether the central bulge or stellar disk came first.

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I know! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631516)

It was, certainly, the central bugle which came first. After that, the other bits and pieces were awoken in short order.

Loverly typo, that.

Re:Hubble find new galaxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631517)

Nasa has more telescopes like 'Hubble' - but they all look down on Earth.

So Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631518)

This is News For Nerds.

I think you're looking for Nonsense for Nincompoops, which is down the hall and to the left.

Re:Hubble find new galaxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631519)

Actually, it's not NASA that owns those other telescopes.
As for the tanks, they're a necessary evil. It's awfully hard to appreciate the subtle beauties of astronomy while you're fighting off a country that's invaded you because it thought you were weak.

Definitive Answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631520)

"...a bulge of millions of stars that resemble a bulbous center yolk in the middle of a disk of egg white". "One of the questions they are currently trying to answer is whether the central bulge or stellar disk came first". Every knows...the chicken ccomes before the "egg" "You can run, but you can't hide"

Re:I doubt that's possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631521)

The universe DID expand faster than the speed of light, according to many cosmologists. They refer to it as supraluminal expansion, and it occurred in only the first few seconds after the big bang. Mind you, matter wasn't travelling faster than the speed of light, but the space-time fabric was expanding faster than light.

Re:Hubble find new galaxy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631522)

Who do you mean by 'we'?

As far as I know the US and the former USSR have both decreased funding for the army since the end of the cold war. Also a lot of West-European country's are spending less money on tanks then they used to.

The development of science (also in space) has always been stimulated by the desire the create new and better weapons...

bye, an Anonymous Coward

Re:Woe is Humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631523)

The 30th aniversary of the moon landing was a hot topic in the Netherlands. Films, documentaries, newspapers etc. were all present. bye, A.C.

Which came first (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631524)

It had to be the Stellar Disk!

Mrs Universe: "That's a mighty Central Bulge you got there."
Mr Universe: "Thanks! It's all due to my Stellar Disk!"
Mrs Universe: "oh my"

Puh-leease (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631525)

You and some other posters here imply that we should cut back on this foolish military spending and concentrate on reaching for the stars.

Those are wonderful sentiments. They are only surpassed by the people who say we should give up NASA funding until we have fed all of the hungry people in the world.

There is only SO MUCH money to go around. Too much tax money is wasted on bureaucracy. Some is lost to out-and-out fraud. Big surprise -- all government agencies are guilty of it. The military has their $100 hammers. The human services departments have their welfare and foodstamp frauds. NASA loses a $1 million + satellite because they forget to convert metric to imperial units.

Whine about budget unfairness all you want, but the fact is that military spending has been severely cut over the last few years. Soldiers don't train like they used to. Planes don't fly as much as they used to. Disgruntled pilots are choosing not to re-enlist. At the same time, U.S. forces are being deployed more on missions of questionable national interest. How much more do you want?

I know it's fashionable in an intellectual forum such as slashdot to whine about spending on tanks and bombers. I'm sorry to inform you, though, that there are still countries which would like to harm the United States. National defense is still a necessity -- like it or not.

Furthermore, for better or worse, the rest of the world has come to depend on U.S. military force every time a new mini-Hitler comes to power and threatens world peace. Personally, I have lost patience with the "enlightened" countries who snicker at the U.S. "wild west/Rambo" mentality, but come begging for help at every threat. Maybe if they picked up the bill for their own defense, we COULD get by with a reduced naitonal security budget.

I see no loss of interest in space exploration, only a more careful, deliberate approach. At this point, we're asking, "So what do we do now?" Everything outside of our little blue rock looks pretty inhospitable. Asking why we don't go to the moon anymore is a little like asking why no one visits that pile of gravel in the vacant lot out back. Sadly, Mars doesn't look much better. The really interesting stuff in space seems to be way out there and it will take a while to get there. Sorry, we just had the misfortune to be born in a rather boring period of mankind's quest to leave earth.

So what? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1631526)

This is news for nerds? This is OLD news! This galaxy formed over 100 million years ago! Talk about recycling a story! I remember posting about this on Urk's cave wall, next to the double-headed buffalo icon. Bah! Humbug! As for Hubble's Telescope, they should give it back to Hubble and buy their own!

Story with Pictures as well (4)

Ben Rigas (767) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631527)

I found this on the nasa homepage:

Pr-Photos page [stsci.edu]

damnit, hemos (0)

PHroD (1018) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631528)

[RANTNRAVE]
learn to spell, for god's sake!

i thought you had to preview what you wrote at least once b4 you could post it...there are no central bugles in space, just central bulges
[/RANTNRAVE]


"There is no spoon" - Neo, The Matrix

I hope you understand that was funny (nt) (1)

crayz (1056) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631529)

I really hope so

Re:Woe is Humanity (1)

crayz (1056) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631530)

God those people are awful. And when you're in some public arguement, it's hard to disagree with them.

"Yes, I do think we should give money to NASA while people are starving somewhere."

It's a way of distorting the truth to make it impossible to take other positions. Like "so what you are saying is that we should kill babies"

Some people are just idiots. If you want to take that position, fine. Just don't distort the truth.

a bumpersticker, no? (nt) (1)

crayz (1056) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631531)

nt == no text

I doubt that's possible (1)

crayz (1056) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631532)

Wouldn't that mean that the universe expanded faster than the speed of light? I don't think it will ever be possible to see the big bang with a telescope.

Re:Interstellar dust? (1)

JetJaguar (1539) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631533)

Reddening due to intersteller dust is not the same thing as a redshift. The redshift refers to an actual shift in the spectrum of an object as result of it's recession velocity. Intersteller reddening is a result of dust that more readily absorbs/scatters blue light than red light. Intersteller reddening doesn't cause spectral lines to shift, it just attenuates the blue end of the spectrum as "seen" by the dust doing the absorbing. For a good example of interstellar redening go outside tonight and watch the sun set, what happens there is exactly the same process that happens in an interstellar dust cloud.

C'mon! (1)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631534)

Which is geekier? A galaxy with a central bulge, or a central bugle? :)

Besides, it complements the article on the nanotech guitar nicely. :)

Re:central bugle vs. outer regions? what gives? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631535)

True enough, or "what came first, the mountains or the valley?" Here, it's even less meaningful to seperate them, as they are dependent on each other. No mountains, no valley, and vice versa.

In this case, no disk, no bulge. There'd be nothing to bulge =from=. Likewise, no bulge, no disk. Actually, in this case, it's possible to imagine a disk without the bulge (they're called "Ring Galaxies"), so that's not entirely accurate, but it's close enough.

Re:Woe is Humanity (2)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631536)


I agree. If the Royal advisors said to Columbus "but there are starving people in Africa", I guess America would be 'discovered' later so that the American Indians wouldn't have been shuffled into reservations so quickly. (I am kidding, don't flame me)

Seriously:
--------------
Face it, in no time period will you find people that AREN'T poor, in the past, present or ever in the future. Communism tried to make one class, it always ended in one poor class with a few filthy rich politicians, and a destroyed economy. The hugest fraction of poverty and starvation is due to corruption, mismanagement, greed, etc. Granted, famines do occur due to climate and weather, but this earth is very capable of feeeding its inhabitants. Even if enough money was sent to Chad or where else, it will simply be wasted even worse than the US government wastes its own money. We shouldn't use our money in a futile attempt to feed countries that simply refuse to function properly.

Theories of flavor revised due to Hubble discovery (3)

haaz (3346) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631537)

October 7, 1999 -- Pasadena, CA -- Scientists were stunned to discover the tasty cheese flavor of Bugles brand snacks in a galaxy forming deep in the Milky Way. The most compelling revelation: we can find great cheesy flavor almost anywhere in the universe.

"This is a real breakthrough in snackonomy," said Gerald Swoboda, senior astronomer at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "Not only that, but it solves the burning issue: what did Mike Nelson eat during all those years on the Satellite of Love? If Bugles form naturally in outer space, we can only dream of what else may discovered."

In his 1975 book "The Artificial Flavor of the Universe," science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke forsaw this very event. "While there may be diamonds falling to the core of the outer gas giants of our solar system, imagine wholesome, filling showers of Ho-Hos or Ding Dongs. These delicous, tempting snack cakes are formed under much the same conditions as outer space diamonds."

Until this day, we didn't know just how right Clarke was.

NASA is planning on launching a deep space probe to the nearby Magellenic Cluster to find out if it too is packed full of nutty goodness and giant interstellar squirrels that all-too-cleverly steal mankind's galactic breakfast cereal.

Re:I know! (1)

jim (3666) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631538)

Is that what they mean by "the music of the spheres"?

Interstellar dust? (1)

greg_barton (5551) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631539)

Using Hubble's visible-light and infrared cameras to penetrate deep into the cores of the galaxies, astronomers were able to untangle the stars' true colors -- a measure of age -- from their apparent colors, which are made redder by interstellar dust.

What ever happened to the red shift? I thought distant stellar objects appeared redder because they were speeding away from us at a speed siginificantly near the speed of light. What gives?

Re:Puh-leease (1)

gjp (7460) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631540)

While I agree with your points, the pedant in me makes me point out that the $100 hammers weren't your garden-variety claw hammers avalable from home despot, but were made of a special alloy to be non-sparking (so they could be used around fuel), yet tough enough to not deform (brass would be used otherwise). You can put this to rest with the '$1000 toilet seat' myth...it's another media simplification to grab headlines.

Mil-Spec'ing things can be a bitch, cost-wise, but that's another topic entirely. Rest assured that this, at least, isn't a case of gov't fraud.

Re:Woe is Humanity (2)

gjp (7460) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631541)

You're pointing your finger in the wrong direction.
It's the jackasses bitching about "wasting money in space while millions starve on Earth" that stop the space program, not government. As if there were some clearing house you could go to to trade a Titan-IV booster and feed Chad.
But hey, at least they're being politically correct.

Re:Hubble find new galaxy (1)

Prince of Amber (12393) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631542)

I look forward to the day when education has enough money and the army has to hold a cookie sale to buy more weapons.

Re:Woe is Humanity (1)

Traksius Egas (12395) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631543)

Well, IMHO, I think that one of the reasons that the general populace seems to have lost interest in space is directly related to movies/television. Our technology in these fields has risen to the point that the average person is flooded with (spacecraft, aliens, other worlds, "insert future tech. here") almost on a daily basis and they can't tell what's real or what's Memorex.

Ex. How many people thought when they found the Titanic (for real) that it had already been discovered a few years before in that show "Raising the Titanic"?

Basically the general public (at least the soon to be voting public) , IMO, is thinking "Has'nt that already been done/discovered?" They are not real concerned with "IF we can make it to Mars" but "When". Because they've seen it hundreds of times at the movies.

But then again, I could be totally wrong. :)

Bigger mirror needed (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631544)

Bah, forget HTTP mirrors. Gimme a parabolic mirror about 10 meters wide, and I won't need the stinking web site...


---

Re:Mirror needed - Here's the Full Text: (1)

Serk (17156) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631545)

Per request, here's the full text of the article:

Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington, DC Oct. 6, 1999
(Phone: 202/358-1547)

Nancy Neal
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
(Phone: 301/286-0039)

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD
(Phone: 410/338-4514)

RELEASE: 99-107

STARRY BULGES YIELD SECRETS TO GALAXY GROWTH

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is uncovering important new
clues to a galaxy's birth and growth by peering into its heart --
a bulge of millions of stars that resemble a bulbous center yolk
in the middle of a disk of egg white.

Hubble astronomers are trying to solve the mystery of which
came first: the stellar disk or the central bulge?

Two complementary surveys by independent teams of astronomers
using Hubble show that the hubs of some galaxies formed early in
the Universe, while others formed more slowly, across a long
stretch of time.

Hubble confirms that the evolutionary paths of bulges and
disks are connected. The central bulge stabilizes a galaxy's
development and largely controls the ebb and flow of star birth in
the core. The central bulge holds secrets as to how and when a
galaxy formed. Before Hubble, astronomers had detailed
information only about the complex core of our galaxy, which has a
small bulge peppered with massive young star clusters and a
telltale bar structure funneling gas to the center. Hubble allows
astronomers to see bright star clusters, bars and other structures
deep inside the bulges of other galaxies.

A group led by Reynier Peletier from the University of
Nottingham, in the United Kingdom, has confirmed that the central
bulges of more tightly wound spirals were all created at more or
less the same time in the early universe.

A second team, led by C. Marcella Carollo of Columbia
University in New York, surveyed galaxies that have small bulges
and bar-like structures that bisect the nucleus like the slash
across a no-smoking sign. They found that the bulges in these
galaxies grew more recently, through markedly different processes
happening within the galaxy's disk.

Both surveys used Hubble's precise resolution to peer into
bulbous hubs of more than 200 neighboring galaxies, out to a
distance of 100 million light-years. Using Hubble's visible-light
and infrared cameras to penetrate deep into the cores of the
galaxies, astronomers were able to untangle the stars' true colors
-- a measure of age -- from their apparent colors, which are made
redder by interstellar dust.

Peletier's team used Hubble to look into the center of 20
spiral galaxies that have large bulges. The team found that
elliptical bulges of stars formed over a relatively brief period
very early in the young universe. This could have happened
through the collapse of a single cloud of hydrogen or merger of
primeval star clusters.

"Apparently everywhere in the universe these intermediate-
sized galaxies must have started forming early on," reports
Peletier in a paper to be published in the Monthly Notices of the
Royal Astronomical Society. "The bulges of early spiral galaxies
are old, and at least the outer parts of their disks are
considerably younger."

Carollo's team found that in a different class of spiral
galaxy, a small bulge probably formed early on, but was later fed
by gas flowing into the galaxy's core, likely along a bar-like
structure caused by instabilities in the surrounding disk of
stars. The gas fueled the birth of new stars, and the bulge
inflated like a beach ball as brilliant star clusters populated
the center.

Carollo's results, to be published in the Astrophysical
Journal, show young and old stars in the bulge. The researchers
say that these types of bulges can continue to grow in galaxies in
the present universe, but it is unlikely that they will ever
become as big as those giant bulges that formed when the universe
was young.

The Space Telescope Science Institute is operated by the
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. for
NASA, under contract with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, MD. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of
international cooperation between NASA and the European Space
Agency.

- end -

NOTE TO EDITORS: Image files are available on the Internet at:

http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/latest.html and

http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/1999/34/pr-pho tos.html

But if you had never BUILT the booster..... (1)

tweek (18111) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631546)

You could have gotten the food in the first place. I'm not bashing space research by any means. I'm actually pretty torn between where our(U.S.) government currently invests its money. I would prefere that more benvolency (is that even a word?) inside our borders take place but I can't deny my own natural curiousity and desire to see what is really "out there". It's as if most people are hoping that we will discover something in space that will fix all of our problems back home.

Looking back in time (1)

Pyr (18277) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631547)

For those who didn't catch it, the hubble telescope is literally looking back in time to when the galaxy was formed. Because light /does/ take time to travel these immense distances it takes an incredible amount of time to reach us from the very edge. Just to make it to the Earth from the Sun light takes somewhere around 8 minutes.

For a while now when they pointed telescopes at the very farthest edges they've been able to see very young galaxies, peppered with quasars ("White Holes", "Superstars" whatever you want to call them). It's really quite amazing that we have a telescope powerful enough to look that far to see the very creation of galaxies. Maybe soon enough we'll have an even bigger telescope up there and we'll be able to see all the way to the Big Bang.

Mirror needed (1)

Migrant Programmer (19727) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631548)

Could someone please post the text of the article here or at an http mirror? There are those of us who are without FTP access due to firewalls.

Central bugle? (2)

Gorak (26235) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631550)

Is it really a stellar disc? Or is it just some kind of cosmic cymbal? I don't want to bang the drum on this too much, but it's easy to get snared when harping on such matters.

Re:Central Bugle (1)

meersan (26609) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631551)

I think we need to learn to respect the universe's privacy. All these scientists poking and prodding, trying to figure out how old it is, how fast it's expanding -- how embarrassing! You hear consumer advocates screaming about the latest computer chip ID, but nobody cares about galaxies. If I were that galaxy, I'd be mortified. Imagine your parents showing everybody your naked baby pictures. And now they're debating about mysterious disks and bulges. How would you feel if it were you being scoped by the Hubble all day? Outrageous.

When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained...

Re:Looking back in time (1)

Betelgeuse (35904) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631552)

We _can_ see the Big Bang. . . well, sort of. The 3 degree Cosmic Background Radiation is as far as we can see back. The CBR is actually the point at which space became translucent, so there is no way that we can see further back than that.

Re:I doubt that's possible (1)

Betelgeuse (35904) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631553)

Why would that imply that the universe expanded faster than the speed of light? We are able to see Galaxies at high red shift as they were being formed (billions of years ago), so why not the Big Bang?

Drat! (1)

BootHead (41384) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631554)

Well that did not take long too die. Slashdotted in record time for a gov. site! Can't wait to see some pictures though.

For those w/o FTP access. Your welcome. (4)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631555)

Donald Savage
Headquarters, Washington, DC Oct. 6, 1999
(Phone: 202/358-1547)

Nancy Neal
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
(Phone: 301/286-0039)

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD
(Phone: 410/338-4514)

RELEASE: 99-107

STARRY BULGES YIELD SECRETS TO GALAXY GROWTH

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is uncovering important new
clues to a galaxy's birth and growth by peering into its heart --
a bulge of millions of stars that resemble a bulbous center yolk
in the middle of a disk of egg white.

Hubble astronomers are trying to solve the mystery of which
came first: the stellar disk or the central bulge?

Two complementary surveys by independent teams of astronomers
using Hubble show that the hubs of some galaxies formed early in
the Universe, while others formed more slowly, across a long
stretch of time.

Hubble confirms that the evolutionary paths of bulges and
disks are connected. The central bulge stabilizes a galaxy's
development and largely controls the ebb and flow of star birth in
the core. The central bulge holds secrets as to how and when a
galaxy formed. Before Hubble, astronomers had detailed
information only about the complex core of our galaxy, which has a
small bulge peppered with massive young star clusters and a
telltale bar structure funneling gas to the center. Hubble allows
astronomers to see bright star clusters, bars and other structures
deep inside the bulges of other galaxies.

A group led by Reynier Peletier from the University of
Nottingham, in the United Kingdom, has confirmed that the central
bulges of more tightly wound spirals were all created at more or
less the same time in the early universe.

A second team, led by C. Marcella Carollo of Columbia
University in New York, surveyed galaxies that have small bulges
and bar-like structures that bisect the nucleus like the slash
across a no-smoking sign. They found that the bulges in these
galaxies grew more recently, through markedly different processes
happening within the galaxy's disk.

Both surveys used Hubble's precise resolution to peer into
bulbous hubs of more than 200 neighboring galaxies, out to a
distance of 100 million light-years. Using Hubble's visible-light
and infrared cameras to penetrate deep into the cores of the
galaxies, astronomers were able to untangle the stars' true colors
-- a measure of age -- from their apparent colors, which are made
redder by interstellar dust.

Peletier's team used Hubble to look into the center of 20
spiral galaxies that have large bulges. The team found that
elliptical bulges of stars formed over a relatively brief period
very early in the young universe. This could have happened
through the collapse of a single cloud of hydrogen or merger of
primeval star clusters.

"Apparently everywhere in the universe these intermediate-
sized galaxies must have started forming early on," reports
Peletier in a paper to be published in the Monthly Notices of the
Royal Astronomical Society. "The bulges of early spiral galaxies
are old, and at least the outer parts of their disks are
considerably younger."

Carollo's team found that in a different class of spiral
galaxy, a small bulge probably formed early on, but was later fed
by gas flowing into the galaxy's core, likely along a bar-like
structure caused by instabilities in the surrounding disk of
stars. The gas fueled the birth of new stars, and the bulge
inflated like a beach ball as brilliant star clusters populated
the center.

Carollo's results, to be published in the Astrophysical
Journal, show young and old stars in the bulge. The researchers
say that these types of bulges can continue to grow in galaxies in
the present universe, but it is unlikely that they will ever
become as big as those giant bulges that formed when the universe
was young.

The Space Telescope Science Institute is operated by the
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. for
NASA, under contract with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,
Greenbelt, MD. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of
international cooperation between NASA and the European Space
Agency.

- end -

NOTE TO EDITORS: Image files are available on the Internet at:

http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/latest.html and

http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/1999/34/pr-pho tos.html

Pretty (1)

BradyB (52090) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631556)

Wow. I like looking at pictures of space. I wish they had a site that you could see pictures that Hubble is taking in like real time or something. Now that would rule. Call it Hubble.org or something.

CNN story from yesterday (1)

Queen Amidala (53958) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631557)

Here's a link to a related story reported on yesterday by CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/TECH/space/9910/06/hubble.pic tures/index.html

Central Bugle (2)

balneary (56298) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631558)

The central bugle comes first so that it can trumpet
the announcement of the stellar disk's birth.

The Chicken and The Egg. (1)

kaniff (63108) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631559)

When I saw it stated that they were trying to answer the question, "which came first, the
stellar disk or the central bulge," of course the first thing that came to mind was the chicken or
the egg question.

But no. They even make references to the galaxy as an egg.

a bulge of millions of stars that resemble a bulbous center yolk in the middle of a disk of egg white.

I'm starting to wonder if that was just an innocent commment or a subtle NASA geek joke.

Whatever. Laugh. It's funny.

kaniff -- Ralph Hart Jr

children's song (1)

bendawg (72695) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631560)

As if it wasn't bad enough to have the age old question, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" now we get another one.
That could be the new version of the children's song, though.
I can just see little kids walking around...
"Which came first, the central bulge or the stellar disk?"

Re:children's song (1)

bendawg (72695) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631561)

ok, take out bulge and put in bugle...
Sorry, typo.

/. vs. Washington (was Re:Woe is Humanity) (1)

acaben (80896) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631562)

While I think some of AngryMob's post may have been a bit over-dramatic, one of his suggestions really leaps out: The idea of allowing /. users to contact their legislators about issues important to the community.

This seems like it would be a perfect fit for the Your Rights Online section, and one that I'd definitely find useful.

Some quick ideas for what it might include:

  • Current Bills
  • Links to action groups (EFF, ACLU, etc)
  • Congressional contact info look-up (By ZIP code?)
  • A "Technology Report Card" for each Senator/Representative
  • Sample letters
  • Facts and statistics to use in letters
  • A forum to post responses from congressmen

What do you think? Any other ideas from anyone out there?

Re:Hubble find new galaxy (1)

doubleyou (89602) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631563)

For the same reason dogs piss on lampposts.

central bugle vs. outer regions? what gives? (1)

doubleyou (89602) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631564)

I don't think either one "came first". It's like asking "What came first: the peak of the mountain or the hills surrounding it?" It doesn't make any sense to separate them, because they're not separate objects. If you have a black hole, eventually things will pile-up and spiral around in its gravitational field. And if you have a black hole that's "big" enough, or old enough, then *BAM*, you've got a galaxy. End of story.

Re:Woe is Humanity (1)

AngryMob (89923) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631565)

Hm, in hindsight, I have to agree, I was a bit too melodramatic. So I'll respond here in my normal, sober, cynical voice:

As far as the uselessness of anniversaries, I'd agree, in most cases. The 50th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor is a meaningless event and probably doesn't deserve celebration. But my point was, given the tendency to celebrate meaningless anniversaries, what do we gather from the fact that the moon landing - certainly a landmark event in human history - doesn't get any notice? I'd say this is more than an indication the space program has dropped out of public interest.

As to CNN airing shuttle launches, that's a load of crap - the fact that they do doesn't indicate at all that there's public interest in space. And my point is -precisely- that there's only scientific interest these days. There's no longer the romanticism there was when Kennedy was around.

The fact that you remember the moon landing? Irrelevant. I don't mean LITERALLY remember - i mean spce no longer figures in the public consciousness. They don't care about it. It's like the Carter Presidency: sure, you remember what it was like, but you don't really care about it anymore.

And no, you dweeb, I don't mean a suggestion box. I mean an actual lobbying force. Everyone else has a congressional lobby - Christian fundamentalists, gun manufacturers, orange farmers, you name it. Why not geeks? I'd consider their viewpoints for the most part far more rational than others, and certainly a lot of what they feel doesn't get represented adequately. It's easy enough to naysay it into nothingness, but i'd consider this sort of pessimism extremely misplaced. If you try it and it succeeds, you have a powerful tool to project your viewpoint. If it fails, you have some congressional mailboxes filled with spam. Which might succeed in getting that anti-spam legislation through. We can't lose.

SA

Woe is Humanity (3)

AngryMob (89923) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631566)

It's only been 30 years since the moon landing. And yet we've already forgotten about it - the thirtieth anniversary passed by mostly uncelebrated. I don't recall a single mention of it in the press other than a fleeting mention on NPR. Why is space no longer interesting to anyone? There was a time, not long back, when people looked up at the stars and were consumed with the desire to explore and know what was out there - or so I like to think. Is what drove the space race of the sixties only the paranoia and jingoism of the cold war? Was there no trace of nobility, no desire to explore the unexplored? No burning curiousity? Things like Star Trek and the host of other popular space-opera shows around that time make me believe otherwise - people genuinely WERE captivated by space, and by the thought that man might, one day, pierce that star-studded blackness and live amongst comets and asteroids and pulsars and black holes and other galactic marvels. Where did that die? Why is the current generation so apathetic about space? Is it just that it's 'unimportant', that we find it non-critical and would rather devote interest to more important investments, like national security? Was the only reason NASA got any funding was that it furthered the development of ICBMs, or was it because the people had a genuine interest in it then and don't any longer? Finally, what can we do to rekindle interest in space? Are we reduced to just crowing about the latest NASA victories on /. and lamenting the fact that they don't get any funding? I'd like to think there's something more we geeks can do of substance. I propose a 'NASA box' that helps /.'ers send comments to Congressional individuals encouraging to direct funding to NASA. If we can't bring it to other people, at least the (potentially powerful) Geek Lobby can do something. SA

Re:Woe is Humanity (1)

Megaboz (90527) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631567)

Insightful? How about melodromatic. I have not forgotten the moon landing, and I'm 23 years old; I wasn't even alive for it. I may not have been born yet when JFK was shot, but I still remember where I was when the Challenger exploded.

Personally, I'm sick of all these anniversaries for this and for that. Does it really matter that we put on a big show? Would it make you feel better if a bunch of morning news shows put on a slew of feel-good segments just because something happened some arbitrary number of years ago?

It's funny that you mention Star Trek and its popularity. There have been quite a number of very popular and very successful scifi shows lately, some pretty soap opera-esque, some not. We've had Star Trek: TNG, Voyager, DS9, Babylon 5, Stargate just to name a few.

CNN still airs every shuttle launch we have. We still have quite a public interest in space. We live in a different society than that from the Cold War, and as such, that interest takes on a different form. It's much more scientific, not patriotic.

And flamebait aside, talking about your 'Geek Lobby' has to be one of the most braindead things I've heard in a long time. You want /.'ers to fill up suggestion boxes? You'll probably find them full of: "Make the shuttle run Linux!" or "Let's make a beowulf cluster out of these!"

Please, I'm trying to eat my lunch here.
-Dan

Red shift (1)

Megaboz (90527) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631568)

The red shift (or even blue shift possibly) doesn't measure the actual colors of stars. It instead measures the wavelengths of absorbtion lines in star spectra. These will be offset a certain amount due to the doppler affect. And by measuring the shift, we can get the star's/glaxy's relative speed to us. And from that, we can measure it's approximate distance.

Sorry to do this but... (1)

Howard Beale (92386) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631569)

Bugles are a *corn* flavored snack (possibly with real corn, but most likely corn meal, corn stalks, corn husks, corn syrup...). I think you're confusing them with the more aptly named 'Cheesit'.

BTW - Here's a puzzle for you, find the Debian program in the above paragraph!

NASA success (1)

anthrax82 (97511) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631570)

You see this success for NASA could not have been accomplished without the aid of Canadians (you know the people who understand Metric). You see parts of the Hubble Space Telescope are Canadian made, and we all know how well NASA handels the metric system.

Re:Interstellar dust? (1)

Chocky2 (99588) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631571)

Light can be redshifted by a variety of means, although the most well known cause is recession. Other causes include interstellar gas and dust (which soak up some of the energy), gravity (photons escaping from high-gravity are less energetic) and expansion of space (the wavelength of the photon gets stretched out, tied into the recession when your talking about things on this sort of scale).

Tricky thing #3174 in astronomy is figuring out which of many possible causes is actually redening the light.

Callum

Hubble find new galaxy (1)

UltraSPARC (99634) | more than 14 years ago | (#1631572)

I think that we should creat more satalites like hubble to increase our understanding of space. Instead we buy only more tanks. Why?
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