Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

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Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#1  Postby Spearthrower » May 06, 2012 9:54 am

So there's a perfectly normal article on the 'supermoon' visible at the moment.

It talks a bit about the phenomenon and perigrees and the like; has a quote from the Royal Astronomical Society... and then suddenly, for no apparent reason whatsoever, it devotes a paragraph to informing the reader that:

Scientists have dismissed the idea the perigee could cause strange behaviour - like lycanthropy - or natural disasters.


link

I really have no idea where that came from or who decided that was an appropriately useful factlet to round off the article!
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#2  Postby jim » May 06, 2012 9:58 am

Zero chance of werewolves then. Lets count our blessings, coulda been messy.
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#3  Postby John P. M. » May 06, 2012 10:09 am

Maybe they mean clinical lycanthropy (thinking one is a wolf/animal), or maybe meant to refer to lunacy.

Otherwise I think they should have mentioned cheese as well in an article about the moon.
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#4  Postby Precambrian Rabbi » May 06, 2012 11:21 am

So - to use the opportunity to slip in a reference to my favourite ever line of movie dialogue - no expectation of an increase in carnivorous lunar activity then?
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#5  Postby Shrunk » May 06, 2012 11:28 am

Spearthrower wrote:So there's a perfectly normal article on the 'supermoon' visible at the moment.

It talks a bit about the phenomenon and perigrees and the like; has a quote from the Royal Astronomical Society... and then suddenly, for no apparent reason whatsoever, it devotes a paragraph to informing the reader that:

Scientists have dismissed the idea the perigee could cause strange behaviour - like lycanthropy - or natural disasters.


link

I really have no idea where that came from or who decided that was an appropriately useful factlet to round off the article!


It's still a pretty wildly held belief, and there seems to be many who think it has been scientifically verified. On the psychiatric ward where I work, when the patients are particularly difficult to manage I'll often hear one of the staff saying, in earnest, "Must be a full moon."
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#6  Postby DavidMcC » May 06, 2012 12:21 pm

Spearthrower wrote:So there's a perfectly normal article on the 'supermoon' visible at the moment.

It talks a bit about the phenomenon and perigrees and the like; has a quote from the Royal Astronomical Society... and then suddenly, for no apparent reason whatsoever, it devotes a paragraph to informing the reader that:

Scientists have dismissed the idea the perigee could cause strange behaviour - like lycanthropy - or natural disasters.


link

I really have no idea where that came from or who decided that was an appropriately useful factlet to round off the article!

Spearthrower, I would distinguish between the "lycanthropy" and the "natural disasters". At least the natural disaster issue can be dealt with scientifically, because it was not irrational, just wrong, because of the numbers, if you like. Lycanthropy, on the other hand, is just superstitious nonsense. Therefore, IMO, it was only the lycanthropy that had no place there.
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#7  Postby Varangian » May 06, 2012 12:24 pm

The funny thing is that the Moon is "full" all the time - it is just a difference in how much we see of the part exposed to the Sun...
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#8  Postby Regina » May 06, 2012 12:28 pm

That's akin to people saying: "Shitty weather, the sun isn't shining." To which I usually reply: "Of course it is, otherwise it'd be pitch dark and more than a little cold."
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#9  Postby campermon » May 06, 2012 12:33 pm

Regina wrote:That's akin to people saying: "Shitty weather, the sun isn't shining." To which I usually reply: "Of course it is, otherwise it'd be pitch dark and more than a little cold."


What is this 'Sun' you talk of?

I'm from the UK.
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#10  Postby Regina » May 06, 2012 12:45 pm

Campermon: The sun is a celestial body, which you shouldn't look at directly as it's a bit bright, especially around noon.
But if you have it behind you, it looks like that:

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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#11  Postby twistor59 » May 06, 2012 1:01 pm

Talking of which, from the Guardian:
(I've pasted a quote, because surely they'll correct it?)

Supermoon makes photographers go crazy

Perigee moon appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter as planet passes closer to Earth


Now I'm not an expert astronomer but.....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/may/06/supermoon-makes-photographers-crazy?CMP=twt_fd
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#12  Postby Ironclad » May 06, 2012 1:51 pm

That BBC 'boob' is actually appalling. Totally out of the blue, and stoopid.

Amazingly, this finding is also discussion on the BBC TV news! In front of a Royal Astronomical Society spokesman (who didn't facepalm) the newsreader made the same wolf-free observation.
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#13  Postby campermon » May 06, 2012 2:00 pm

twistor59 wrote:Talking of which, from the Guardian:
(I've pasted a quote, because surely they'll correct it?)

Supermoon makes photographers go crazy

Perigee moon appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter as planet passes closer to Earth


Now I'm not an expert astronomer but.....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/may/06/supermoon-makes-photographers-crazy?CMP=twt_fd


From here; http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/moon_ap_per.html

The angular size;

Perigee - Angle subtended: 0.5548°

Apogee - Angle subtended: 0.4923°

So at perigee it appears to be about 14% wider than at apogee.

Not sure about the moon been 30% brighter.

:ask:


edit - the same link also says that it's about 30% brighter.

;)
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Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#14  Postby Precambrian Rabbi » May 06, 2012 2:57 pm

twistor59 wrote:Talking of which, from the Guardian:
(I've pasted a quote, because surely they'll correct it?)

Supermoon makes photographers go crazy

Perigee moon appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter as planet passes closer to Earth


Now I'm not an expert astronomer but.....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/may/06/supermoon-makes-photographers-crazy?CMP=twt_fd

Pluto must be fuming! :lol:
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#15  Postby Spearthrower » May 06, 2012 3:22 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Spearthrower wrote:So there's a perfectly normal article on the 'supermoon' visible at the moment.

It talks a bit about the phenomenon and perigrees and the like; has a quote from the Royal Astronomical Society... and then suddenly, for no apparent reason whatsoever, it devotes a paragraph to informing the reader that:

Scientists have dismissed the idea the perigee could cause strange behaviour - like lycanthropy - or natural disasters.


link

I really have no idea where that came from or who decided that was an appropriately useful factlet to round off the article!

Spearthrower, I would distinguish between the "lycanthropy" and the "natural disasters". At least the natural disaster issue can be dealt with scientifically, because it was not irrational, just wrong, because of the numbers, if you like. Lycanthropy, on the other hand, is just superstitious nonsense. Therefore, IMO, it was only the lycanthropy that had no place there.



To be clear, I was referring to the lycanthropy! ;)
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#16  Postby tolman » Jun 13, 2012 4:11 pm

campermon wrote:
Not sure about the moon been 30% brighter.

edit - the same link also says that it's about 30% brighter.
;)

Depends what is meant by 'brighter', I suppose.

Looking through a telescope of fixed magnification at a small part of it, the 'brightness' will be unchanged, since that doesn't vary with observer distance, but since there is more overall angular area the 'total light output' will be larger in proportion to the increased area.
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Re: Sharing a WTF from the BBC.

#17  Postby Calilasseia » Jul 03, 2012 9:12 am

campermon wrote:
twistor59 wrote:Talking of which, from the Guardian:
(I've pasted a quote, because surely they'll correct it?)

Supermoon makes photographers go crazy

Perigee moon appears 14% bigger and 30% brighter as planet passes closer to Earth


Now I'm not an expert astronomer but.....

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/may/06/supermoon-makes-photographers-crazy?CMP=twt_fd


From here; http://www.fourmilab.ch/earthview/moon_ap_per.html

The angular size;

Perigee - Angle subtended: 0.5548°

Apogee - Angle subtended: 0.4923°

So at perigee it appears to be about 14% wider than at apogee.

Not sure about the moon been 30% brighter.

:ask:


edit - the same link also says that it's about 30% brighter.

;)


We can apply some basic geometry here.

Let us approximate the appearance of the Moon by a disc. This disc will have a certain radius, r. This disc will have a certain surface area, said surface area being given by A = 4πr2. The apparent brightness will be proportional to the surface area - a larger reflecting surface will appear brighter than a smaller surface, because it's reflecting more incident light rays in our direction, and the number of incident light rays reflected in our direction will be proportional to the area.

So, let us increase the radius by 14%. This means that the radius is now 114r/100. Feeding this into the equation for area, we have that the new area is 4π[114r/100]2

= 4πr2 × (114/100)2

= 4πr2 × (129.96/100)

So the new area is 29.96% greater than the old area - approximately 30%.

QED.
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