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Dave Spart

Bbc : Discovery Of Massive Star.

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You may have seen the news report on BBC Breakfast (Wednesday 21st July) about a massive star being discovered 265 times bigger than our sun.

Despite repeating the story every 15 minutes or so yesterday morning, BBC Breakfast didn't clarify if the figure of 265 related to the volume of the new star or its radius or something else.

(1) If it related to its volume, then the new star would have a radius of only 4 times that of our own sun, making it nothing special whatsoever in cosmological terms, in which case why report it?

(2) If it related to its radius then the new star would have a volume nearly 19 million times that of our sun, making it a hum-dinger, in which case why miss out on the chance to report such a headline grabbing number?

Either they were filling space on the agenda, were set up Brass Eye style, or testing if their viewers were wide awake. Such are the mysteries of the Universe.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10707416

(Using the formula V = (4/3) * PI * R^3 where R is the radius)

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You may have seen the news report on BBC Breakfast (Wednesday 21st July) about a massive star being discovered 265 times bigger than our sun.

Despite repeating the story every 15 minutes or so yesterday morning, BBC Breakfast didn't clarify if the figure of 265 related to the volume of the new star or its radius or something else.

(1) If it related to its volume, then the new star would have a radius of only 4 times that of our own sun, making it nothing special whatsoever in cosmological terms, in which case why report it?

(2) If it related to its radius then the new star would have a volume nearly 19 million times that of our sun, making it a hum-dinger, in which case why miss out on the chance to report such a headline grabbing number?

Either they were filling space on the agenda, were set up Brass Eye style, or testing if their viewers were wide awake. Such are the mysteries of the Universe.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10707416

(Using the formula V = (4/3) * PI * R^3 where R is the radius)

The way I seem to recall hearing it reported was that it was 300 times the weight of our sun. I'm sure I heard that yesterday on the beeb.

In fact in the article you link to it refers to mass.

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Guest Noodle

You may have seen the news report on BBC Breakfast (Wednesday 21st July) about a massive star being discovered 265 times bigger than our sun.

Despite repeating the story every 15 minutes or so yesterday morning, BBC Breakfast didn't clarify if the figure of 265 related to the volume of the new star or its radius or something else.

(1) If it related to its volume, then the new star would have a radius of only 4 times that of our own sun, making it nothing special whatsoever in cosmological terms, in which case why report it?

(2) If it related to its radius then the new star would have a volume nearly 19 million times that of our sun, making it a hum-dinger, in which case why miss out on the chance to report such a headline grabbing number?

Either they were filling space on the agenda, were set up Brass Eye style, or testing if their viewers were wide awake. Such are the mysteries of the Universe.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-10707416

(Using the formula V = (4/3) * PI * R^3 where R is the radius)

But did they mention it's estimated market value?

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The way I seem to recall hearing it reported was that it was 300 times the weight of our sun. I'm sure I heard that yesterday on the beeb.

In fact in the article you link to it refers to mass.

The article does indeed refer to mass (important distinction from weight) but the three times I heard the story they quote size instead of mass.

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Guest Noodle

Will it affect house prices in the region?

Is it in a catchment area for a school with a good Ofsted report?

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The article does indeed refer to mass (important distinction from weight) but the three times I heard the story they quote size instead of mass.

Journalists are lazy. Particularly the BBC.

Saying something is 300 times the size of the Sun sounds waaay better than 300 times the weight. The fact that it is, as you say, essentially meaningless would in no way concern them.

I think other sites are using the terms 'weight' and 'mass' interchangeably, not scientifically as bringing gravity and motion in to things would take some effort to explain rather than just say 'look at the ******in' size of that!!!'

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Is this artists impression consistent with 260x the mass? Looks much more to me...unless it is much less dense than our sun:

new-largest-star-size_23713_600x450.jpg

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Is this artists impression consistent with 260x the mass? Looks much more to me...unless it is much less dense than our sun:

new-largest-star-size_23713_600x450.jpg

I don't think the 'size' of a star is very well-defined, especially for very big ones like this. They're just big balls of gas that are extremely dense at the centre but get less ans less dense as you move outwards: there isn't really any kind of edge where you can say that the star stops.

Edit: in fact the BBC article says

Up close the stars would look a mess, however. Unlike our Sun which appears as a defined disc on the sky, the giants identified by Professor Crowther and colleagues would be losing so much material through powerful winds from their puffed up atmospheres that they would have a fuzzy look about them.

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Guest Noodle

I don't think the 'size' of a star is very well-defined, especially for very big ones like this. They're just big balls of gas that are extremely dense at the centre but get less ans less dense as you move outwards: there isn't really any kind of edge where you can say that the star stops.

Edit: in fact the BBC article says

Wot, like Quorky? :P

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The article says it's probably 30 times the radius of our sun.

The article did but BBC Breakfast didn't.

A radius of 30 times that of our sun would make it 27,000 times the volume of our sun - surely a better number for grabbing headlines?

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Wikipedia list of largest stars.

Notice that the largest are thousands of times the radius of the Sun, so I guess many millions of solar masses, but I don't think their masses can be reliably measured yet. This one is the largest with a measured mass:

Wikipedia list of most massive stars.

Exactly, so what was so special about the report yesterday? Honestly I think the science community played a prank on the meeja.

Using the formula V = (4/3) * PI * R^3, suns with radii thousands of times the radius of our own sun's would be billions of times its volume.

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Exactly, so what was so special about the report yesterday? Honestly I think the science community played a prank on the meeja.

Using the formula V = (4/3) * PI * R^3, suns with radii thousands of times the radius of our own sun's would be billions of times its volume.

It is claimed that it is the biggest (by mass) known star in the Universe.

Personally my response to that is shrugging my shoulders and saying 'so' - but I'd guess anyone who cares about things billions of miles away would be interested.

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The interesting thing is that it's almost twice the mass of any other known star and more than twice the mass that is theoretically possible. This is probably "our understanding of the universe is probably completely wrong" stuff which may help to further our understanding of how the universe works and bring us closer to solving the unified theory which could lead to all sorts of cool and exciting things. Or it could just be a really big star.

Presumably the calculations would dictate that a star this size should collapse in on itself? Also such a mass should significantly warp space time around it? Anyone in the proximity of it would age slower, than anyone on say Earth (I think!).

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The interesting thing is that it's almost twice the mass of any other known star and more than twice the mass that is theoretically possible. This is probably "our understanding of the universe is probably completely wrong" stuff which may help to further our understanding of how the universe works and bring us closer to solving the unified theory which could lead to all sorts of cool and exciting things. Or it could just be a really big star.

Given that this claim is, and always has been, made about pretty much everything - plus the fact that I have absolutely zero faith that anything associated with this discovery will ever impact me .... I'm still shrugging my shoulders .. ;)

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Notice that the largest are thousands of times the radius of the Sun, so I guess many millions of solar masses, ...

No, that's not how it works. Red Giants can have huge radii, but they are extremely diffuse. The Sun will be a red giant one day and may expand to the orbit of the Earth. It will have a hugely increased volume but, obviously, still only 1 solar mass.

Supermassive stars like this won't become red giants though - when they've burnt through their hydrogen fuel they'll implode, and then explode as a super nova, and what's left will probably become a black hole.

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sir-patrick-moore-hs.jpg

What a legend that guy is. I don't know how old he is but I watch him on telly. He LOVES his stuff and still gets a lot out of presenting. I only hope I can still be into my work at that age.

Bruce Forsyth, another legend. Not my cup of tea personally, but still keeping old dears happy after over 50 years of entertainment. Why the hell does Queenie not make him Sir Bruce ?

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Guest Noodle

What a legend that guy is. I don't know how old he is but I watch him on telly. He LOVES his stuff and still gets a lot out of presenting. I only hope I can still be into my work at that age.

Bruce Forsyth, another legend. Not my cup of tea personally, but still keeping old dears happy after over 50 years of entertainment. Why the hell does Queenie not make him Sir Bruce ?

87 now I think.

Yes, he's one of those British institutions that makes Britain unique (in a good way).

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I thought you meant Jonathan Woss, and he's gone now. :blink:

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I knew that if it was as dense as the Sun the mass increase would be in the order of the volume increase (ie. the cube of a thousand times larger, or a billion), so I said millions, thinking I was being conservative, to allow it to be a thousandth as dense as the Sun. But your clear-sighted example of the Sun becoming a red giant makes me realise just how diffuse diffuse can really be. Thanks for making it clear for me.

I think your mistake was trying to be just a little too accurate rather than being more pragmatic and reporting that the thing is 'hariyballbaggingly-massive-as-fvck' which is how the National Geographic described it.

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I knew that if it was as dense as the Sun the mass increase would be in the order of the volume increase (ie. in the order of the cube of a thousand times larger, or a billion), so I said millions, thinking I was being conservative, to allow it to be a thousandth as dense as the Sun. But your clear-sighted example of the Sun becoming a red giant makes me realise just how diffuse diffuse can really be. Thanks for making it clear for me.

Bingo.

Remember basic physics, a ton of liquid hydrogen and a ton of hydrogen gas have the same mass but can take up very different volumes.

A red dwarf is more like a luminous fog than a planet and Saturn (gas giant) is less dense than water.

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  • 316 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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