Wednesday, 9 March 2016

101) “Sigma Octantis is claimed to be a Southern central pole star similar to Polaris, around which the Southern hemisphere stars all rotate around the opposite direction. Unlike Polaris, however, Sigma Octantis can NOT be seen simultaneously from every point along the same latitude, it is NOT central but allegedly 1 degree off-center, it is NOT motionless, and in fact cannot be seen at all using publicly available telescopes! There is legitimate speculation regarding whether Sigma Octantis even exists. Either way, the direction in which stars move overhead is based on perspective and the exact direction you’re facing, not which hemisphere you are in.”



Let's bash Brazil's flag.


So here they claim that there is `legitimate speculation' whether sigma octantis exists. No surprise there; the star is very dim. You'll need some equipment to see it, which you can of course do.

It's on the flag of Brazil, which is a hint to how legitimate the speculation is.

As for 'cannot be seen using publicly available telescopes', it is of the same apparent magnitude as Uranus, which can be seen by both the naked eye and telescope, even in a Urban Area. It was easier with the telescope, though. The naked eye can discern up to +6.5 magnitude, while octantis is at +5.42. It is visible.

As for 'not motionless', 
Wikipedia tells us:

To an observer in the southern hemisphere, Sigma Octantis appears almost motionless and all the other stars in the Southern sky appear to rotate around it.


 False claim
Again, nobody claims that Sigma Octantis is sitting exactly on the southern celestial pole. Nobody says that. It's only the CLOSEST star to the pole. That's why it moves! (Just like Polaris)

At nighttime, there are three people in Brazil, South Africa and Australia. Have them look due south at the same time, looking up at an altitude equal to their latitude. Everybody sees Sigma Octantis at the very same time in this position, only with the tiny offset which is its distance to the celestial pole (roughly 1°).

It CAN be seen using "publicly available telescopes"! Even with binoculars. You only have to be in the south and go to a dark place because it's faint! In a very dark place it is even visible to the naked eye. Only people who have never tried this can speculate on that.


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