rix_scaedu (rix_scaedu) wrote,

Have We Defined The Problem?

“So why are all the stars turning blue?”

“That’s a generalisation, sir.”  Like every technical representative from NASA, the European Space Agency and the rest, the corrector looked nearly ill from fatigue.  “Almost all the night sky stars have turned blue.  Allowing for the difficulties in observing stars in the same portion of the sky as the sun, those seem to have turned red.”

“What’s that mean?”

“The blue ones are getting closer to us and the red ones are moving away.”  The astronomer sighed.  “As the chances of the universe moving around us are infinitesimal, it appears we’ve started moving differently.”  There were too many uncomprehending faces around the table, so some basics first.  “The earth orbits the sun, all the solar system does and it’s still doing that.  That’s very important.  Despite what some press elements have said, we’re not leaving the sun behind.”

His colleagues around the table nodded.

“What’s less appreciated,” he went on, “is that the solar system orbits the centre of the galaxy.  That’s the movement that’s changed and we don’t know why.”

“To complicate matters,” continued a Russian astronomer, “we are not moving alone.  A number of local stars have new paths that appear to be converging with ours: the Alpha-Proxima Centauri complex; Altair; Vega, and Fomalhaut.”

The politicians began to rhubarb anxiously among themselves until the Chinese delegation’s astronomer cut in, “Our observation-based calculations indicate converging but not colliding trajectories.  We believe these systems will travel in parallel.  Our naval comrades will wish to speak to the inconstancy of the navigational stars.”

“So,” said a politician low in the international pecking order, “It sounds like someone turned an engine on and we started moving.  Where’s the engine, who turned it on, where are we going and who’s steering?”

“We don’t know, yet.”

Tags: prompt request 31 dec 11
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