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The Future of the Orion Constellation

30 Jun 2017, 03:41 UTC
The Future of the Orion Constellation
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

ESA dixit:
“Video, based on measurements by ESA’s Gaia and Hipparcos satellites, shows how our view of the Orion constellation will evolve over the next 450 000 years. Stars are not motionless in the sky: their positions change continuously as they move through our Galaxy, the Milky Way. These motions, too slow to be appreciated with the naked eye over a human lifetime, can be captured by high-precision observations like those performed by ESA’s billion-star surveyor, Gaia. By measuring their current movements, we can reconstruct the past trajectories of stars through the Milky Way to study the origins of our Galaxy, and even estimate stellar paths millions of years into the future. This video provides us with a glimpse over the coming 450 000 years, showing the expected evolution of a familiar patch of the sky, featuring the constellation of Orion, the Hunter.
The portion of the sky depicted in the video measures 40 x 20º – as a comparison, the diameter of the full Moon in the sky is about half a degree. Amid a myriad of drifting stars, the shape of Orion as defined by its brightest stars is slowly rearranged into a new pattern as time goes ...

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