Intensely cool things I learned about astronomy

I have a passing interest in astronomy, in my usual passive know-things-but-don’t-do-much-about-them way. I’ve been editing the entries on constellations on Wikipedia, during which time I’ve learned some truly cool trivia:

  • If we lived on a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri, most of the constellations would be the same, but Earth’s sun would be in the constellation Cassiopeia.

  • Alpha Centauri’s proper motion will make it and Beta Centauri into a brilliant double star four thousand years hence.

  • Beta Comae Berenices is approximately the same magnitude as our sun; its faintness gives an impression of how our sun would appear at only 27 lightyears away.

  • Barnard’s Star is in Ophiuchus; Wolf 359 is in Leo.

Wooooooooooooooowwwwwww. Anyone else care to contribute?

Umm… some stars don’t exist anymore?

And us puny humans don’t understand that size doesn’t matter. The Galaxy is on Orian’s belt.

In space no one can hear you scream.

Tachyon emissions tell us all kinds of things about all kinds of stuff in space, especially enemy ships.

… Sorry - I couldn’t help it - I’m clueless when it comes to space. I just go “Ooooh those are pretty.” But that’s cool stuff to know.

“Mars needs women!”

The star Castor, in Gemini the Twins, appears to be a double star in a small telescope. Each of those two stars are actually themselves double stars in orbit of each other. Those four stars are in turn orbited by another fainter pair of stars. Castor is a sextuple star!

Albereo is another double star, at the head of Cygnus the Swan. In a telescope you can see one star is blue, and the other yellow.

In about 100,000 years, the Big Dipper will look more like a Big Frying Pan.