Go Back   IceInSpace > General Astronomy > General Chat

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread
  #1  
Old 20-02-2019, 12:45 AM
Stonius's Avatar
Stonius (Markus)
Registered User

Stonius is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 922
Supermoon hype is negative for outreach

Have to agree with Niel DeGrassi Tyson on this one. All the supermoon crap doesnt bring people into astronomy. It turns them off when it looks exactly the same as every other moon.

@neiltysonís Tweet: https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status...147854338?s=09
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 20-02-2019, 05:40 AM
astro744
Registered User

astro744 is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 788
But it's not exactly the same as every other moon. See http://spaceweather.com/archive.php?...h=02&year=2019

(If the image of moon is not there look in archive for Feb 18, 2019 - Perigee Supermoon).

See also https://www.timeanddate.com/astronom...ee-apogee.html and http://www.moonconnection.com/apogee_perigee.phtml and many other sites. (Search for apogee and perigee moon).

I do agree though that sometimes the exuberance of the often professional astronomer is disproportionate to the event and often taken out of context.

E.g. In 1986 it was reported that Comet Halley would fly past at 200,000km/h. (I even have a t-shirt saying so). So many people went out on one evening night only to see a comet race past them only to see a faint fuzz ball appearing stationary. This was April 1986 after the comet swung around the Sun and was supposed to be brighter. In the pre dawn hours in March before the comet reached perihelion it put on s spectacular show with a lovely long tail and was visible any clear morning a couple of hours before morning twilight. This sight many people missed because all the reported hype (including from professionals) was to look after perihelion to see the comet at its best. I cannot blame the astronomers for the comet not putting on a show when it was reasonable to expect but somehow all reported hype led to many people out on the evening of closest approach to Earth to watch Comet Halley race past. It is this type of hype that can be discouraging as many people were so disappointed because they expected more.

My all time favourite is "Mars will be bigger than a full Moon". I even raised this with an astronomer once and he said anything that gets people interested is good. BUT NOT MISLEADING FACTS! Yes when at a favourable opposition, Mars as viewed in a telescope, will appear larger than a full Moon viewed unaided. The last two words of the previous sentence are often (nearly always omitted).

You can work this out yourself.
Mars is 25 arcsec in diameter at closest. Moon is approx 30 arcmin or 30 x 60 = 1800 arcsec in diameter. 1800/25 = 72. Therefore at a magnification of 72x, Mars will appear the same size in a telescope as the Moon appears unaided. If Mars is not at closest approach and say 18 arcsec then you need 1800/18 = 100x magnification. You may think this cannot be right as Mars just looks so small but have a look next time and try for a night when the full Moon is near Mars in the sky and then do the comparison with one eye on Mars through the telescope and one eye on the Moon in the sky.

Whenever you come across this 'publicity' about Mars just remember you're not comparing unaided views or magnified views of both at the same time. It is then that you realise it is not really such a wow moment all the hype makes it out to be and this is when one could easily be discouraged rather than encouraged.

Back to the Supermoon what is annoying me now is reports on the early news saying that this Supermoon is also known as the Snow moon; well not in the Southern Hemisphere as this title has no relevance. Aside from all of the hype over Supermoons yes there is a difference in size between apogee and perigee moons and it is significant when comparing photographs of the two side by side but is difficult to see visually with the moon in the sky.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 20-02-2019, 06:23 AM
assbutt94
Registered User

assbutt94 is offline
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Sydney
Posts: 63
The differences to size with the unaided eyes are mostly indistinguishable, let alone to the average person who doesn't really care or pay attention to the size of the moon.

I have to agree with NDT
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 20-02-2019, 09:22 AM
Rob_K
Registered User

Rob_K is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Bright, Vic, Australia
Posts: 2,098
'Supermoon' has astrological origins, coined by astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979 but not taken up by the popular press until the 'supermoon' total lunar eclipse of 2011. It has no strict astronomical definition, various cut-offs as to closeness being applied randomly. I certainly can't tell the difference (ie if shown a full moon in the sky I couldn't tell you if it's apogee or perigee or anywhere in between). And why don't perigee New Moons get a guernsey?

People seem to be happy though, viewing the moon illusion as the 'supermoon' rises above the horizon and then banging on about how HUGE it was!

Supermoons are common events, surely we'll get bored with it soon and drop the "Super"?

Cheers -
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 20-02-2019, 11:15 AM
mental4astro's Avatar
mental4astro (Alexander)
kids+wife+scopes=happyman

mental4astro is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: sydney, australia
Posts: 4,528
Guys, you have it all wrong! This is awesome for outreach!

While the hype can be disturbing, poor is us if we give in cynically to our own disdain of it, and not see it as an opportunity!

Of course the blooming Moon looks EXACTLY the same! But here you now have a captive audience!! A rare moment in our favour to talk to people about astro when they are actually excited at something they can actually see and even relate to!

I LOVE outreach. Heck, I've even started doing sidewalk astronomy as I just don't get enough outreach!

<hello, my name is Alex, and I have an astro problem...">

The supermoon is blooming GOLD! for me! It should be the same for you too.

Put up all your links. Post all your equations. Voice your disgust. All you are doing is hurting all of us and what we enjoy doing.

A couple of years ago I went to the north headland at Maroubra Beach for another supermoon event. I couldn't believe the HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of people, singles, couples, FAMILIES all standing along the coast where I was. It was blooming AMAZING! So many people all curious about what WE take for granted. How can this be bad for outreach??? My only regret about that night was not having a scope with me to share with people.

Alex.

Last edited by mental4astro; 20-02-2019 at 11:30 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 20-02-2019, 11:33 AM
The_bluester's Avatar
The_bluester (Paul)
Registered User

The_bluester is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Kilmore, Australia
Posts: 1,806
I don’t mind the “its going to be huge” stuff, it is the “it’s gonna cause earthquakes and floods and tsunami and volcanic eruptions” rubbish that I could do without.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 20-02-2019, 11:34 AM
multiweb's Avatar
multiweb (Marc)
ze frogginator

multiweb is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Hinchinbrook
Posts: 17,836
Indeed, no such thing as bad publicity. Anything that exposes astro related events in mainstream media is a plus and a step in the right direction. When enough people care about it we'll hopefully start reclaiming our dark skies.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 20-02-2019, 11:38 AM
mental4astro's Avatar
mental4astro (Alexander)
kids+wife+scopes=happyman

mental4astro is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: sydney, australia
Posts: 4,528
Quote:
Originally Posted by The_bluester View Post
it is the “it’s gonna cause earthquakes and floods and tsunami and volcanic eruptions” rubbish that I could do without.
Of course that is dumb. Grumbling and sulking here about it won't change things. Getting out there with a scope and engaging with people will!

I too get annoyed with the implied Doomsday nonsense. You have a choice, crumble, or grab the bull by the horns with one hand and a scope in the other.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 20-02-2019, 11:56 AM
The_bluester's Avatar
The_bluester (Paul)
Registered User

The_bluester is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Kilmore, Australia
Posts: 1,806
Unfortunately most of the time getting them out there to have a look has not been an option, I live far enough away from town and have limited enough time that outreach and/or sidewalk astronomy is not really an option for me.

I fight the battles I can win and bring those I can into the fold, usually they are the people misled by the press about the yuuggggee supermoon, which is really not much more concept wise than the Hubble pictures on the side of the box of a cheap telescope, the only thing is that when the tabloid TV programs grab it, it reaches a lot more people.

The only advantage of the supermoon hype rubbish is that at least if you can get people to the eyepiece, to a complete newcomer the moon is actually an impressive sight through almost any telescope. Far less chance of disappointment than comparing M42 to the picture on the box in a discount store.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 20-02-2019, 02:15 PM
Stonius's Avatar
Stonius (Markus)
Registered User

Stonius is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 922
The thing is, if we make a big deal about something that isn't ultimately all that impressive, we may get their attention once, but the takeaway will be 'oh, I tried astronomy once, but it wasn't that impressive'

I therefore dub it 'the Wolf Supermoon' after the boy who cried 'Wolf'.

Markus
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 20-02-2019, 02:40 PM
Stonius's Avatar
Stonius (Markus)
Registered User

Stonius is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 922
I just posted this on my FB page;

"I don't want to be a spoilsport, but this is the maximum difference between the moon at its biggest, and at it's smallest. If you don't notice when the moon is especially small, you probably won't notice tonight when it's big. Moonrise is lovely - and for various reasons, the moon looks bigger at the horizon anyway. So go out and observe the moon by all means, but if you come away underwhelmed by tonight's 'Supermoon', remember, don't blame it on the moonlight; blame it on the boogie."
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (perigeemoon_strip.jpg)
162.5 KB18 views
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 20-02-2019, 04:01 PM
brucel
Registered User

brucel is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Adelaide
Posts: 5
"Any publicity is good publicity"

Whilst I'm not sure I always agree with this assertion, I do think any publicity that generates interest in Astronomy (or any Science) is a good thing.
We have to live with the 'over-hype' because that is the only way to get attention these days.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 20-02-2019, 06:22 PM
astro744
Registered User

astro744 is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 788
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucel View Post
Whilst I'm not sure I always agree with this assertion, I do think any publicity that generates interest in Astronomy (or any Science) is a good thing.
We have to live with the 'over-hype' because that is the only way to get attention these days.
Unfortunately the publicity is not always but often inaccurate, incomplete, or very biased just to get a boost in ratings or sales or to entertain public opinion. I remember when Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 smashed into Jupiter and the black impact sites on the clouds of the planet were very impressive.

Next morning the front page of a Sydney paper showed an infra-red image glowing brilliant white at the impact site with the associated artiicle describing how Jupiter looked in Sydney backyard telescopes. I knew the newspaper got it wrong but what about those that didn't know and thought they would see a similar sight when they looked at Jupiter when the next impact hit. (It took about a week for all the fragments to hit).

Now what if I read another article in that paper about a topic I know little about and think wow and then think that if they hyped up the Jupiter article by twisting the facts, what have they done to any other article. They no longer have any credibility and I think if astronomers too get down to that level just to get some publicity they too will have no credibility and the general public will learn this and eventually not bother.

The reason for the recent trend in the media to call every lunar eclipse a blood moon is simply beyond me for I never heard of the term growing up. Supermoon too is a modern description and then when combined with blood moon the media have a field day with the totally irrelevant descriptions. Have you noticed too that whenever there is a lunar eclipse it is being reported as the last one for many years. Then 6 months later we have another last one and then another last one. Each eclipse may have one aspect that won't be repeated for many years but that is not mentioned, only that it is the last eclipse for some time. Yet again incomplete and inaccurate reporting leading to hype.

I think astronomers can still be enthusiastic and inspirational and still tell the facts about something in an entertaining way, (the guy with the beard on Stargazing Live comes to mind). This type of reporting gives a great boost to public interest and I hope it continues especially in the teaching of basic night sky knowledge. I don't think any commercial network would ever consider such a show unless it had a reality television twist. (Maybe astronomer wants a wife or instead of big brother house it is big brother observatory or instead of dancing with the stars it is dance of the planets).
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 20-02-2019, 08:14 PM
AndyG's Avatar
AndyG (Andy)
No. I am a meat popsicle.

AndyG is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Townsville
Posts: 360
I think we, like many other hobbies/niches/professions/cults are just victims of increasingly lame "journalism". In true "chicken or the egg" style, I don't know if sensationalism lead to desensitisation, or declining interest in anything lead to journalists blowing things up to get attention.

Alex has it right in my opinion. If you're keen to share, then someone will be keen to take a look. If nobody looks, then more EP time for you. I can't see how anyone can lose.

Anyway, depending on the judging clique, name a more nerdy hobby than astro. Inb4 grown ups playing My Little Pony (yeah apparently that's a thing). Unless there's a major celestial of social event, we're always gonna be on the side. Never hurts to try though, especially if you enjoy the ride of outreach, rather than any presumed destination.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT +10. The time is now 05:42 AM.

Powered by vBulletin Version 3.8.7 | Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Advertisement
Celestron Australia
Advertisement
NexDome Observatories
Advertisement
Meade Australia
Advertisement
SkyWatcher Australia
Advertisement
Bintel
Advertisement
OzScopes Authorised Dealer
Advertisement
Lunatico Astronomical
Advertisement
Astronomy and Electronics Centre
Advertisement