Parallax Patterns

The third step towards solving the puzzle of the Stellar Parallax Clusterfuck involves assembling the pieces of the puzzle to see the fudge hit the fan.

After Bessel broke the arc-second-barrier in 1838 the astronomers started to scope out our Stellar Neighbourhood.

The first successful measurements of stellar parallax were made by Friedrich Bessel in 1838 for the star 61 Cygni using a heliometer.


By 1911 they had pieced together a picture featuring 17 stars.

By the time the televised astronauts bunny hopped beneath a starless lunar sky the telescoped astronomers had stretched out our Stellar Neighbourhood to 43 stars.

Piet van de Kamp (1901-1995), known as Peter van de Kamp in the United States, was a Dutch astronomer who lived in the United States most of his life.

He was professor of astronomy at Swarthmore College and director of the college’s Sproul Observatory from 1937 until 1972.

He specialized in astrometry, studying parallax and proper motions of stars.

Apollo 11 was the spaceflight that first landed humans on the Moon.

Armstrong and Aldrin spent 21 hours, 36 minutes on the lunar surface at a site they named Tranquility Base before lifting off to rejoin Columbia in lunar orbit.

YouTube: The Test Pilot

In the scoped out space of 1969 a strange shape stands-out.

Stars Nearer than Five Parsecs – Piet van de Kamp – 1969

Out of the opaque proper motion data a symmetrical Christmas Tree sparkles with starry baubles having Stellar Parallaxes between 150 and 350 mas.

From the darkness of the declination data a cheery Christmas Tree is crowned with a wandering Barnard’s Star that “wobbles” as it wombles.

Piet van de Kamp … came to public attention in the 1960s when he announced that Barnard’s star had a planetary system based on observed “wobbles” in of its motion, but this is now known to be false.

In statistics, Wombling is any of a number of techniques used for identifying zones of rapid change, typically in some quantity as it varies across some geographical or Euclidean space. It is named for statistician William H. Womble.

YouTube: The Wombling Song

Overall, the data artefacts from 1969 reinforce the view that Stellar Parallaxes are a trigonometrical tragedy in the guise of a colossal coniferous Christmas Tree Clusterfuck.

The 1969 data provides a basis for discovering whether the astronomers developed a taste for adjusted data like the Great Cnuts of Climate.



And it came to pass in the late 20th century that [just like their climate cousins] the astronomers busied themselves adjusting their old data.

The Big Bang theory is a cosmological model for the observable universe from the earliest known periods through its subsequent large-scale evolution.

In 1968 and 1970 Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking, and George F. R. Ellis published papers where they showed that mathematical singularities were an inevitable initial condition of general relativistic models of the Big Bang.

Then, from the 1970s to the 1990s, cosmologists worked on characterizing the features of the Big Bang universe and resolving outstanding problems.


YouTube: M*A*S*H Theme Song – Suicide is Painless – 1970

Director Robert Altman had two stipulations about the song for Mandel: it had to be called “Suicide Is Painless” and it had to be the “stupidest song ever written”. Altman attempted to write the lyrics himself, but upon finding it too difficult for his 45-year-old brain to write “stupid enough,” he gave the task to his 14-year-old-son Michael, who wrote the lyrics in five minutes.

The astronomers predominantly revised downwards their Stellar Parallaxes and the very nearest stars continued to slowly slip slide away.

On the plus side the astronomers finally found their sense of humour and had a good laugh reporting milliarcsecond measurements to four decimal places.

Milliarcsecond: 0.001 arcsecond = 1/3,600,000 degree


On the far side the astronomers busied themselves with their calculators creating clouds of dubious derived data from their proper motion data.

Proper motion is the astronomical measure of the observed changes in the apparent places of stars or other celestial objects in the sky, as seen from the center of mass of the Solar System, compared to the abstract background of the more distant stars.

Barnard’s Star has the largest proper motion of all stars, moving at 10.3 seconds of arc per year (arcsec/a).

A proper motion of 1 arcsec per year at a distance of 1 light-year corresponds to a relative transverse speed of 1.45 km/s.

Barnard’s Star’s transverse speed is 90 km/s and its radial velocity is 111 km/s (which is at right angles to the transverse velocity), which gives a true motion of 142 km/s.

True or absolute motion is more difficult to measure than the proper motion, because the true transverse velocity involves the product of the proper motion times the distance. As shown by this formula, true velocity measurements depend on distance measurements, which are difficult in general.

A peculiarity of their dubious derived data is it’s pronounced negative bias.

The negative bias suggests the astronomers have under-estimated the Sun’s positive motion by negatively offsetting the motion of the Stellar Neighbourhood.

Either way:

The declination data still contains a Christmas Tree crowned by Barnard’s Star which has acquired a “super-Earth-like exoplanet and ice planet” candidate that may [or may not] exist.

Barnard’s Star b (also designated GJ 699 b) is a candidate super-Earth-like exoplanet and ice planet that orbits Barnard’s Star in the constellation of Ophiuchus.

The exoplanet’s discovery by an international team of astronomers – including the European Southern Observatory and Carnegie Institution for Science – was officially announced on 14 November 2018.

Barnard’s Star b technically remains a planet candidate as it has been proposed with a confidence figure of 99%.

Direct imaging opportunities of the planet from large ground-based telescopes, or potentially the WFIRST telescope, are expected within ten years of 2018.

YouTube: High Hopes – Frank Sinatra – 1959

High Hopes” is a popular song first popularized by Frank Sinatra, with music written by James Van Heusen and lyrics by Sammy Cahn. It was introduced by Sinatra and child actor Eddie Hodges in the 1959 film A Hole in the Head, nominated for a Grammy and won an Oscar for Best Original Song at the 32nd Academy Awards.

Perhaps it’s time to peruse a Parallax Proxy

Gallery | This entry was posted in Astrophysics, Parallax, Science, Solar System. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Parallax Patterns

  1. Pingback: Parallax Problems | MalagaBay

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