The Galactic Times InDepth Issue 4 Preview

ID04: The Story of the Star That’s A’Comin’ and A’Goin’

A Semi-Personal Science Story, a Microquasar and Me

Welcome to the fourth issue of The Galactic Times InDepth Inbox Magazine. This article is a personal story as well as a scientific look at one of the most unusual objects in the universe, a microquasar, known as SS 433, originally called K16 if you want to know some trivia. Why? Read on and then pull down the PDF.

This article is free to all, and there is a reason for that. In the PDF/article you will learn why to that, too.

Enjoy the science, and the 50 years of history.

Dr. Larry Krumenaker


The Story of the Star that is A’Comin’ and A’Goin’

(A Semi-Personal Coming and Going Science Story)

by Dr. Larry Krumenaker

 In 1979 the eminent reporter for the Vatican newspaper, Father Guido Sarducci, reported on an astronomical discovery of note.  This object was a star that part of the time was approaching the Sun in space, and part of the time it was going away from us.  Most stars do one or the other, but not both.  Because of Einstein’s Relativity and that thing called time dilation, further investigation of the object in the Vatican Observatory archives revealed that inhabitants would age when moving away from us as it was moving at a high fraction of the speed of light, and then getting younger when approaching us.  This would create problems for, say, couples who were just a few years of age apart, like 30 and 40 years old, for as they got younger, soon they would be couples of ages like 20 and (you can guess this) and in serious legal trouble. 

Father Sarducci produced a photograph of the sky and pointed to the star-like object and mentioned its name; in his Italian accent it was named “Ess-uh Ess-uh Four-uh-Three-uh-Three.”  He called this The Star That is A’Comin’ and A’Goin’.

About the only things the Italian journalist (actually, comedian Don Novello, still doing this in his 80’s) was the name and the fact that something WAS moving towards and away from the object at speeds a significant fraction of the velocity of light.  The chart he held up can be compared to its discovery chart from a 1975 article in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

No matter how you orient the discovery chart on the right of the graphic above, or resize it, nothing matches the photograph that Sarducci holds up.

I should know.  I made the discovery and the chart, back in 1973 and 1974, respectively. 

Finding Microquasar #1




The rest was in a PDF file, below…..

  1. the actual discovery material from which the microquasar SS 433 was found, and how that was done
  2. what other researchers quickly found when they stumbled upon its unusual properties
  3. exactly what IS SS 433, its parts and how it works to make those properties and how it differs from a quasar
  4. Are there any more microquasars?
  5. SS 433 in popular culture and museums.
  6. SS 433 and me, and InDepth


Dr. Larry Krumenaker, Publisher