« Jacquiiii Smith - Your paymasters are calling | Main | How the CAP money should be spent »

Twinkle Twinkle Hurray!

Twinkle twinkle Northern Star - Scotsman.com News The North Star has thrown astronomers into confusion with some unexpected activity.

The star is not, it seems, quite as constant as was previously thought.

Polaris had long been known to be a Cepheid variable star, changing in brightness about every four days. But in recent decades astronomers have noticed the star's vibrations were dying away.

Now they have been stunned to discover the star seems to have come back to life again.

Dr Alan Penny from the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of St Andrews said: "One hundred years ago Polaris varied by 10 per cent, but over the last century the variations became smaller and smaller until ten years ago it only varied by 2 per cent.

"It was thought the structure of the star was changing to switch off the vibration. Yet the team has found that about ten years ago the vibrations started picking up and are now back up at the 4 per cent level."

"Now we know it's doing this we will watch it for another 100 years and see what it does," he said. "We have found something new that we need to understand. That means we can make progress. We are very excited when we are proved wrong."

I was going to mock his pleasure at finding work to do for the next 100 years, a good pension policy! But his proper reaction of joy at being proven wrong is so refreshing and welcome I can only share it with him.

That is how a scientist should react. - if only it was more common, in say, the climate research field.....

Comments

"That is how a scientist should react."
Quite so. Good ones do. And just how are Mann and Co. doing these days? Did they move to Canada or Russia where [ice] hockey sticks are truly appreciated?

Post a comment