Constellations change so fast!

General physics and astronomy discussions not directly related to Celestia
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STARNIGHTER
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Constellations change so fast!

Post #1by STARNIGHTER » 06.02.2007, 14:38

It's amazing how much the constellation patterns change in just a few short light years outward! Most of us spent our childhood looking at the stars, becoming familiar with our favorite constellations, and taking for granted that they won't change in our lifetime. However, even if we know how far away many of the stars in these contellations are, we somehow don't realize how different these constellations will look from a small distance outward from earth!

Using this program, I was shocked to see constellations like Scorpius alter in pattern as seen from Sirius! It's interesting to experiment and view our favorite constellations from other nearby stars! I guess that until we see things from a 3D point of view(i.e. Celestia), we don't realize how unique our star pattterns appear from Earth.

d.m.falk
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Post #2by d.m.falk » 11.02.2007, 13:29

(Yeah, been a long time since I posted/replied to anything here...)

A big reason why this is so is that constellations are not necessarily in relatively flat planes or in clusters; they just happen to be in positions that we discern from our vantage point as such groups. It's very easy to have stars in the same constellation be between 5 and 5000 ly from Earth, and if you voyage to another star. some of these stars may actually be closer- or in another location in the night sky because of their respective relative positions. It's not movement, although that's another matter altogether, since not all stars travel around the galaxy at the same speed.

Even our own Sun is part of some constellation as seen from other stars- even from our nearest neighbours, the Alpha Centauri system.

d.m.f.
There IS such a thing as a stupid question, but it's not the question first asked. It's the question repeated when the answer has already been given. -d.m.f.

Topic author
STARNIGHTER
Posts: 64
Joined: 04.06.2006
With us: 13 years 8 months
Location: Midwest(USA)

Post #3by STARNIGHTER » 11.02.2007, 13:56

Thanks, D.M.Falk. I know, but simply meant that often one's mind can not fully imagine the depth of the constellations, and how fragile their shape is. That is, a person could fully know all the distances of every star in a constellation, but not fully see or appreciate the true depth until we get the 3d view! It's like seeing a landscape from a distance all your life, then get the chance to actually go out there and explore that landscape. All of a sudden, your concept changes....more realistic!

Thanks for the reply!

d.m.falk
Posts: 105
Joined: 03.07.2005
With us: 14 years 7 months
Location: Eureka, California

Post #4by d.m.falk » 12.02.2007, 01:55

We're quite blessed with the view we do have. :) It's actually a relatively recent concept we have now about the true depth of this field of stars we look to on every clear night- It used to be thought of as just a shell in the sky, because, at their true distance, the difference between our eyes is far too slight to ever be able to notice.* It's thanks to long-baseline parallax that we can make reasonable guesses about just how far away even our closes stellar neighbours are. :)

(* Then there are those of us- such as myself- with absolutely NO depth perception.....)

d.m.f.
There IS such a thing as a stupid question, but it's not the question first asked. It's the question repeated when the answer has already been given. -d.m.f.

Topic author
STARNIGHTER
Posts: 64
Joined: 04.06.2006
With us: 13 years 8 months
Location: Midwest(USA)

Post #5by STARNIGHTER » 12.02.2007, 14:57

I suppose that if a person had a lot of spare time on their hands, they could explore the views of stars from various locations, and discover their own "constellation" patterns. Using Celestia, I went to locations like Sirius, Vega, Arcturus, etc., and viewed classics like Orion from those locations......but the further out one goes (and the more basic constellation shapes fall apart), I'm sure someone could detect completely new patterns.

If life exists out there, and they have their own constellations, I hope that if our star Sol is among the pattern(as faint as it might be), they don't know what kind of planet exists near Sol. Haha.


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