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Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

Mozilla Thunderbird 3 Released 272

supersloshy writes Today Mozilla released Thunderbird 3. Many new features are available, including Tabs and enhanced search features, a message archive for emails you don't want to delete but still want to keep, Firefox 3's improved Add-ons Manager, Personas support, and many other improvements. Download here."

Canadian Blood Services Promotes Pseudoscience 219

trianglecat writes "The not-for-profit agency Canadian Blood Services has a section of their website based on the Japanese cultural belief of ketsueki-gata, which claims that a person's blood group determines or predicts their personality type. Disappointing for a self-proclaimed 'science-based' organization. The Ottawa Skeptics, based in the nation's capital, appear to be taking some action."

Comment Re:Ladies and gentlemen (Score 1) 224

yes they are greedy b****** they have just insured that i will not buy their products, I can get along without their products, they are NOT essential to my life today or in the future, they can go to hell. I don't watch tv it's all Ruperts f****** propaganda and if if it's not him, it's some another b*******D trying to influence the sheeple. I'm glad we exported that prick to the US, (oh sorry, he exported himself) good f***ing riddance)

Comment Re:News (Score 1) 425

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) is publicly funded. The 'TV Licence' was done away with here in the late 1960's IIRC. In the 1980's, the ABC had a promo campaign that said it cost the Aussie taxpayer 8 cents a day. Probably much more than that now. It is similar to the BBC in that it is independent of whatever govt is in power (although both major parties have attempted to stack the ABC board with people sympathetic to them).

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"