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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."

FreeNAS Switching From FreeBSD To Debian Linux 206

dnaumov writes "FreeNAS, a popular, free NAS solution, is moving away from using FreeBSD as its underlying core OS and switching to Debian Linux. Version 0.8 of FreeNAS as well as all further releases are going to be based on Linux, while the FreeBSD-based 0.7 branch of FreeNAS is going into maintenance-only mode, according to main developer Volker Theile. A discussion about the switch, including comments from the developers, can be found on the FreeNAS SourceForge discussion forum. Some users applaud the change, which promises improved hardware compatibility, while others voice concerns regarding the future of their existing setups and lack of ZFS support in Linux."
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Submission + - Centos Lead is back (

epedersen writes: The CentOS Development team had a normal meeting today and Lance Davis was in attendance. In the meeting a majority of issues were resolved right away and a working agreement was reached with deadlines for any unresolved issues. There should be no impact to any CentOS users moving forward. The CentOS project is now in control of the CentOS,org and domains and owns all trademarks, materials and in the CentOS distributions. We look forward to working with Lance quickly to complete all the agreed upon issues. More information should follow very early next week.

Comment Re:Old computers boot from USB? (Score 1) 146

They have a solutions for that: "If you have an older machine or you just want things to immediately work without fussing with the BIOS, you can burn a "Boot Helper" CD using the .iso below. This will start the boot from the CD, then read files from the USB stick:"

Submission + - What to do with 700 used 9V batteries

Dunkirk writes: "At our medium-sized church, we have 7 Shure wireless microphones. Five are newer, SLX-based models, which use 2 AA batteries. Two are older, UC-based models, which use a single 9V. The SLX's are very easy on their batteries. They can go several weeks before needing to be replaced. The UC's only last one week before losing enough voltage that they'll start dropping signal. Now, I don't want to just throw the 9V's in the trash, for fear that their contacts will touch, the batteries will heat up, and they'll cause a fire, so I've collect many hundreds of batteries, all connected in a chain, 2 batteries wide, with all of their opposing contacts connected. (I got my hands across one of those chains once. I'm always cautious around them now...) I thought about recycling them, but the only place I could find wants to charge me about $60/pound for the "privilege." It's been suggested that we could recharge these things with newer, alkaline rechargers, but that idea has a bad reputation from my youth. Have times changed? Can we recharge them, knowing that we need the _voltage_ to drive the signal? (It has to get them back to their 1.5V+ level.) Or is this a waste of time, and someone can point me to a place that actually recycles this stuff, gets some value out of it, and doesn't charge me for that service?"

Submission + - NASA Returning to the Moon with First Lunar Launch (

epedersen writes: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter launched at 5:32 p.m. EDT Thursday aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The satellite will relay more information about the lunar environment than any other previous mission to the moon. The orbiter, known as LRO, separated from the Atlas V rocket carrying it and a companion mission, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, or LCROSS, and immediately began powering up the components necessary to control the spacecraft. The flight operations team established communication with LRO and commanded the successful deployment of the solar array at 7:40 p.m. The operations team continues to check out the spacecraft subsystems and prepare for the first mid-course correction maneuver. NASA scientists expect to establish communications with LCROSS about four hours after launch, at approximately 9:30 p.m.

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