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DirkSteele

Gaia reveals Albireo is a chance alignment only

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Seeing reports this morning that arguably the most famous double star in the sky is in fact only an optical double with the two stars actually separated by c.60 light years.  I have certainly said at outreach events "we don't know if it is a real double, and if it is the orbital period is measured in thousands of years."  Still pretty though, and nice demonstration of star colours.

 

I guess Almach is now the undisputed king of pretty, colourful (real) double stars.   Always been my favourite ?

Edited by DirkSteele
typo in the title. Lets call it a fat finger mistake and not me misspelling the most famous not double star in the sky!
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Thanks for the info- I said the same thing as you just last week. I dismissed non binary doubles but a thread here made me think again. Maybe it was @cotterless45 who said we are privileged to be the only observers in the universe of those two stars aligned in that way, which I thought was a lovely way of looking at it. I also read on skyandtelescope that the colours of Alberio actually look like that to us because of their proximity in our eyepiece and on their own the blue one wouldn't look so blue. I know you are an expert so please correct me if I misremembered.

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I'm pretty sure I read years ago that this indeed was suspected, but without certainty.. GAIA confirmation...

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On 14/08/2018 at 09:52, DirkSteele said:

I guess Almach is now the undisputed king of pretty, colourful (real) double stars.   Always been my favourite ?

And even that is actually a quadruple star system, apparently. ;)

It's all fake news! :D

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21 hours ago, Peter Drew said:

Alberio is the famous double star in Scorpio.    ?

? You’ve got me flummoxed with that one, Peter?

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If it's true then I'm sad, as I've always thought of it as physically a pair.

No less beautiful though, binary or not..

Dave

Edited by F15Rules

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22 hours ago, Floater said:

It’s Albireo. ?

Whoops.  We will call that a fat finger mistake rather than me just misspelling the name of the most famous (not) double star in the night sky!

 

Corrected now by the mercy of the edit button.

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1 hour ago, Floater said:

? You’ve got me flummoxed with that one, Peter?

They're both fictitious.     ?

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On 14/08/2018 at 16:38, Floater said:

It’s Albireo. ?

Far be it for me to blame other people for my own mistakes (my wife's speciality ?) but........ I had been reading your previous posts about this so I made a special effort to check. Unfortunately, I used Matthew's @DirkSteele spelling. Now he's edited it and I feel like a fool. If I hadn't read your posts on another thread, I probably would've spelt it correctly in the first place.  

Anyway, Gordon, it's not the first time I've hung my head in shame on this forum (the Trapezium galaxy instead of Triangulum springs to mind). Hope the sun is shining for you today.

Dominic

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On 15/08/2018 at 16:27, Peter Drew said:

They're both fictitious.     ?

What? Now Scorpio doesn't exist. I'm gutted and confused. 

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3 minutes ago, domstar said:

What? Now Scorpio doesn't exist. I'm gutted and confused. 

No it exists, it's an astrological sign :grin:

Dave

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Oh dear!

One minute Pluto gets demoted then the next my favorite double becomes a "pairing".

Is nothing certain in this Universe?  (answers in a new thread please :) ) 

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59 minutes ago, domstar said:

... it's not the first time I've hung my head in shame on this forum ...

No need for that, Dominic. Anyhow, I certainly would not be able ‘to cast the first stone’ since I have made myself appear a chump on more than one occasion. ???

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1 hour ago, domstar said:

Hope the sun is shining for you today.

Dominic

 

The sun has been “shining” for about 5 billion years so the odds are high that it’s still “shining” today........

Sorry mate, couldn’t resist..............???..............and hoping you don’t mind a leg-pull..............???

Ed.

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Got a really good look at Albireo for the first time seeing wise last week with my Flexitube 130P. Still looks beautiful, despite it 'only' being an optical double. :)

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Very disappointed by this news... I had been hoping that as technology improved they might find a desert planet in orbit around the pair... and that on further investigation it would turn out to have a spaceport with dodgy bars, some moisture farms and various alien life forms living there. And a young man watching those twin suns set...

No? Just me then...

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I spotted the headline on Phil Plaits site the other day but I was working and didn't have time to read. It's still my favourite double.

And yes I think we can still call it a double. In the traditional sense of the designation used by amateurs, double can mean optical pairings and that's good enough for me - I'm not measuring anything, just enjoying the view :)

BTW I've just read the article and it's well written if you've got a few minutes.

https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/long-standing-astronomical-mystery-solved-albireo-is-not-a-binary-star

Edited by johnfosteruk

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