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article imageOp-Ed: Hysteria, the Hyades star cluster, and not enough answers

By Paul Wallis     Apr 5, 2021 in Science
Sydney - The Hyades cluster is big, and only153 light-years from Earth. Something turned it into a pretzel. The result is hysteria, based on 200-year-old astrophysical gossip.
According to Anton Petrov, the mercifully clear astrophysics guy on the YouTube video, who can turn anything into a meaningful discussion, something with “10 million solar masses” a very questionable figure, did that to the Hyades cluster. Data from the Gaia telescope indicates a very new ball game here. Something DID twist the entire cluster, and it must have been big.
So what was it? It was invisible. There’s no sign, or sign of looking for, whatever it was or wherever it went. It may have been dark matter, that endearingly still-sloppily-and-inexcusably-undefined “reason” for everything. The simple fact is that entire star clusters don’t turn into acrobats without a reason. This is also a new ballpark, with attached parking lot for theories.
Let’s try a few basics:
• 10 million solar masses would have affected anything around it, including anything a mere few 153 light-years away. Did it or didn’t it?
• What else did this huge mass do, Goober? Well, gosh, Ellie May Higgs Boson…
• Where did this thing go?
• Is anyone looking for a trail?
This isn’t good enough. It’s nothing like good enough. There should be a trail of destruction and distortion around this thing, and it should still be in the vicinity somewhere, or at least traces of it. Something just displaced an entire star cluster, and didn’t upset the other local groups of stars? Like hell.
Let’s be clear about this. The Hyades cluster has definitely been severely affected by something. It now has a stellar tail like a mass interaction event, on a much smaller scale but similar to colliding galaxies.
...Which leaves us with a few stridently unasked questions:
• Where did the 10 million solar masses figure come from?
• What would 10 million solar masses do in any given area of a galaxy?
• Another figure being cited as a result of the 10 million solar masses is “twice the mass of Sagittarius A”, the black hole at the middle of our galaxy? Nothing that big would just rearrange a few stars; it’d turn the entire area into a sort of subatomic slush for thousands of light-years around it. …Unless it was walking on tippy-toes and being very nice.
And of course, (yawn) dark matter. Anything inexplicable, however sadly researched with gigantic theoretical and practical holes in it, must have something to do with dark matter.
Consider this equation: Whatever = mc2
Not exactly satisfactory, is it? For anything to interact at all with any kind of matter or energy, it has to relate to the laws of physics in some way, known or not. Something that can do macramé with a star cluster would have to do that, too. How can “Whatever” be adequate?
The ESA s Gaia satellite will measure the positions of a very large number of stars with unprecedent...
The ESA's Gaia satellite will measure the positions of a very large number of stars with unprecedented accuracy. The distances and motions of stars in the Milky Way will be determined with extraordinary precision, allowing astronomers to determine our Galaxy's 3-dimensional structure, space velocities of its constituent stars and, from these data, further our understanding of our Galaxy's origin and evolution.
European Space Agency - ESA Gaia Project
The "reporting"
Equally unsatisfactory is the reporting, which is banal to the point of being farcical. The reporting of the extremely important Hyades cluster finding is, to put it mildly tedious, and less mildly, illiterate. Something tore the Hyades cluster apart or destroyed it, etc. Hyades cluster in death throes, will soon disappear, etc, etc. Massive dark matter monster destroys Hyades, and so on. Awfully sweet of you, dearies. Utterly useless as any sort of information, but obviously you mean well.
Clusters do come and go. Tidal forces and interactions change them, and they disappear or reconfigure. None of which has anything at all to do with this supposed and thoroughly unexplained “cataclysm” encounter with whatever it was. (Well, what do you expect from the Daily Express, anyway? A few years ago everything was about asteroids.)
The one bit of solid news out of all this regarding the Hyades cluster was that stellar acceleration is breaking up the cluster. This apparently stems from the encounter with Whatever, that new scientific definition.
I expect a hell of a lot more than an infantile headline spelling bee and total lack of correlative information from such important data.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Hyades cluster event, Sagittarius A, Dark matter, basic physics and dark matter theory, Whatever mc2
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