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BBC: Jupiter: How to see the planet in the sky on Thursday - Agggghhhh....


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I love the BBC and love that they are trying to get people, especially kids, interested in astronomy, but for goodness sake get the basics right.

"Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye on Thursday evening and it promises to be an even more spectacular sight through a pair of binoculars or a telescope."

Jupiter is visible to the naked eye for much of the year. Okay, opposition is a great time to look, but this suggests that if you don't see it Thursday you'll miss it.

"The astronomer added that planets are usually in opposition for a very short length of time but, during that brief window, they are visible to the naked eye."

No, no, no.... The opposition might be for a very short length of time, but they are visible for much, much longer.

I get that this is for children and they have to make it simple and exciting, but come on.  😭

Is this just me being picky, or does it rub anyone else up the wrong way?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/58256430

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1 minute ago, Starwatcher2001 said:

I love the BBC and love that they are trying to get people, especially kids, interested in astronomy, but for goodness sake get the basics right.

"Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye on Thursday evening and it promises to be an even more spectacular sight through a pair of binoculars or a telescope."

Jupiter is visible to the naked eye for much of the year. Okay, opposition is a great time to look, but this suggests that if you don't see it Thursday you'll miss it.

"The astronomer added that planets are usually in opposition for a very short length of time but, during that brief window, they are visible to the naked eye."

No, no, no.... The opposition might be for a very short length of time, but they are visible for much, much longer.

I get that this is for children and they have to make it simple and exciting, but come on.  😭

Is this just me being picky, or does it rub anyone else up the wrong way?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/58256430

I agree! Written by, or with input from, an astronomer too so should know better! I wonder what I could see shining  brightly in the South the other night? Can’t have been Jupiter!!

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15 minutes ago, Starwatcher2001 said:

Is this just me being picky, or does it rub anyone else up the wrong way?

No, there are at least two of us.

Another favourite with popular journalists is that " [some object millions of km away] ... will be visible all over the UK!"
(oh thank god that it's not yet another one of those astronomical phenomena that shows itself only from inside the M25)

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Can I lay claim to discovering a new planet then? I spotted one recently (on a rare, clear night). It's bright and had 4 attendant moons. If it wasn't Jupiter, I'm bagging it first!

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1 hour ago, wulfrun said:

Can I lay claim to discovering a new planet then? I spotted one recently (on a rare, clear night). It's bright and had 4 attendant moons. If it wasn't Jupiter, I'm bagging it first!

If the ancient Greeks could have both Hesperus and Phosphorus, then there's a precedent.  Just give your planet a new name.

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Totally to be expected from the BBC which is no better than tabloid headlines these days. If the article did indeed have input from a "real" astronomer, hold on because the very fabric of society is about to crumble.

Surprised that Aldi and Lidl haven't taken advantage of this "rare" occasion and put their 650x National Geographic wonky telescopes on sale....again!

 

Edited by StuartJPP
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3 hours ago, Starwatcher2001 said:

I love the BBC and love that they are trying to get people, especially kids, interested in astronomy, but for goodness sake get the basics right.

"Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye on Thursday evening and it promises to be an even more spectacular sight through a pair of binoculars or a telescope."

Jupiter is visible to the naked eye for much of the year. Okay, opposition is a great time to look, but this suggests that if you don't see it Thursday you'll miss it.

"The astronomer added that planets are usually in opposition for a very short length of time but, during that brief window, they are visible to the naked eye."

No, no, no.... The opposition might be for a very short length of time, but they are visible for much, much longer.

I get that this is for children and they have to make it simple and exciting, but come on.  😭

Is this just me being picky, or does it rub anyone else up the wrong way?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/58256430

Oh, fer goodness' sake ...

Did they credit 'the astronomer' , or was it some random bloke authority on facebook ? I can't bear to read the original .

Maybe it was an astrologer they consulted , plenty of folk don't know there's a difference ... 

It makes me angry. Disinformation for adults, well, growing up ought to include developing the faculty to assess silly season news fillers like this in a suitably critical way, but disinformation to children is unforgivable.

Oi beeb ! I want my licence fee greatly reduced if this is the best you can manage .

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Well,  in terms of equal bias an' all.....  there are a few professional astronomers and astro-physicists out there  who would not know what a planet looks like in the sky, where to find it and what

a telescope would show.   

Research fields are so narrow and specific these days I imagine that the good ol' amateur stargazers, especially here on SGL have a much wider and interrelated knowledge than they do.

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Oh my.

It's worse than just the beeb.

I disregarded the damage to my mood and blood pressure and followed the link ... the astronomer was Bryony Lanigan from ... The Royal Observatory Greenwich ! Pretty much every news outlet is parroting the same briefing , as I found when cyber stalking Bryony, because the beeb said 'he' and I thought, surely that's a female name ? And it is .

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffcm&q=Bryony+Lanigan&atb=v96-1&ia=web

Astronomy Education Assistant at Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

 

Edit: in the beeb page, it actually refers to 'the astronomer' as both he and she .

 

Edited by Tiny Clanger
s/he
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18 minutes ago, russ said:

It really gets on my nerves. It was worse last year with Mars. Not just the Beeb but all the daily rags too. 

Indeed, this suggests the "interview" quote was probably from a press release (standard practice for science reporting) - so the Royal Observatory rather than BBC is probably the institution to get annoyed with / complain to....

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Here is the direct quote from the article

Quote

"When a planet is at opposition, it is on the opposite side of the Earth to the Sun - if you were looking down on the Solar System from above and drew a line from Jupiter to the Sun, when Jupiter is at opposition it would pass through the Earth," said Bryony Lanigan, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

The astronomer added that planets are usually in opposition for a very short length of time but, during that brief window, they are visible to the naked eye.

"Jupiter should be visible low above the south-eastern horizon from sunset on the days around opposition on the 19th, but if planet-hunters wait until a few hours after sunset then it will have risen a little higher - around 20-25 degrees altitude - and so will be easier to spot," she said.

 

In defence of Lanigan the middle sentence is not a direct quote, so probably she was misreported. Most likely there were two statements, that oppositions last very short  time and that the planet is visible with the naked eye. When they put them in one sentence it became garbage.

Having dealt with journalists before I know it's very difficult to quality control what they actually publish. They always try to oversimplify and compress everything into soundbites. A friend of mine was attached one summer to a national newspaper in a science advisory role and despaired. All science stories had to be at most 50 words long to fit with the rest of the style of the paper. 

The BBC at least get good stuff now and then: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-57998940

Some reporters at least know their stuff and properly research a story.

 

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Anyone fancy putting the press office straight ?

"Press and media

The Royal Museums Greenwich press office handles all media enquiries for the Royal Observatory, the Peter Harrison Planetarium, Cutty Sark, the National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House.

For further information or images or to arrange a press visit, filming or photography, contact the press office:

Email: press@rmg.co.uk | Tel: 020 8312 6790 "

or maybe

"If you can’t find what you’re looking for…

Please email RMGenquiries@rmg.co.uk "

Most of the site seems preoccupied with selling tickets .

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21 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

Oh my.

It's worse than just the beeb.

I disregarded the damage to my mood and blood pressure and followed the link ... the astronomer was Bryony Lanigan from ... The Royal Observatory Greenwich ! Pretty much every news outlet is parroting the same briefing , as I found when cyber stalking Bryony, because the beeb said 'he' and I thought, surely that's a female name ? And it is .

https://duckduckgo.com/?t=ffcm&q=Bryony+Lanigan&atb=v96-1&ia=web

Astronomy Education Assistant at Royal Observatory, Greenwich.

 

Either the journo wasn't taking much notice down the pub or I fear for our youth! They would have got a better answer popping to a park.

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Of course, there's the famous Mars as big as the Moon to the naked eye during opposition email that stemmed from someone shortening this factual statement "At a modest 75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye" to simply "Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye" to make it fit the narrative style.  The original quote was apparently too wordy.

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10 minutes ago, Louis D said:

Of course, there's the famous Mars as big as the Moon to the naked eye during opposition email that stemmed from someone shortening this factual statement "At a modest 75-power magnification Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye" to simply "Mars will look as large as the full moon to the naked eye" to make it fit the narrative style.  The original quote was apparently too wordy.

To be fair to the unfortunate education assistant, this is probably the same scenario. Just terrible journalism and/or clickbait. Another sad truth is millions of people do not know that bright star they see for months is Jupiter.

It's the same with the stupid full moon stories. The number of colleagues and family who read those then strike up an excited conversation with me about the Orange Squash Moon drives me mental. They're all surprised when I tell them it's nonsense, I don't really care and the bloody thing prevents me observing the good stuff! Every single time there's one of those, someone will cheerily bring it up! I've turned into the full moon grinch.

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The plot thickens ...

following a few of the links my search for Ms Lanigan brought up, I read the Jersey Evening Post  (largely identical) version of the enthralling story which credits it to

PA News agency , whose website promises subscribing 'news' outlets that they have available :

"Ready-to-publish multimedia content

Designed for organisations looking to access and publish complete multimedia articles on demand, Ready takes the complexities out of content production. With up to five rich media assets attached to every story, your platform can instantly access the latest stories, helping it to become more up-to-date, more engaging and more shareable."

I see The Jersey evening post went for the full package, complete with 3 rich media assets (or  pictures as we simple folk call them) attached to their story, and if you read on beyond the part the BBC printed ( the beeb maybe can't afford the full package ?) there is further,  more realistic information from another of these RGO astronomers, a man.  I'm embarrassed for my gender.

All those hands this 'information' went through, RGO press office, news agency , bbc, dozens of newspapers , and not a soul with any understanding intercepted it before it got out into the wild. Pathetic.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, ScouseSpaceCadet said:

To be fair to the unfortunate education assistant, this is probably the same scenario. Just terrible journalism and/or clickbait. Another sad truth is millions of people do not know that bright star they see for months is Jupiter.

It's the same with the stupid full moon stories. The number of colleagues and family who read those then strike up an excited conversation with me about the Orange Squash Moon drives me mental. They're all surprised when I tell them it's nonsense, I don't really care and the bloody thing prevents me observing the good stuff! Every single time there's one of those, someone will cheerily bring it up! I've turned into the full moon grinch.

Can't wait for the Grinch Full Moon Moon .... :evil4:

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41 minutes ago, Tiny Clanger said:

not a soul with any understanding intercepted it

I think that's the more damning aspect.  While it may be depressingly predictable that some intern journo with a degree in who-knows-what could produce some nonsense by "taking the complexities out" of something they didn't understand in the first place, there is no real quality control to pick up things like this, because very few people higher up the food chain have any more STEM knowledge than the perpetrator.

I sometimes read the online Daily Mail science feed, because (surprisingly) they seem to tap in to a lot of sources and produce a wide range of content. But the howlers they sometimes make are hilarious, and if I'm interested in a story I have to track down a reliable account.

 

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My favourite BBC example was from some years back.

I think it was Sue MacGregor (so it must have been on either Woman's Hour or Today) who was interviewing an astronomer about an approaching comet (I can't remember which one. The comet, I mean - the astronomer would almost certainly have been Heather Couper if it was on Woman's Hour, as no other women were allowed to talk about astronomy back then).

MacGregor (presumably with the assistance of a crib sheet from a researcher) was asking her guest various questions about the comet that seemed fair enough. But then she decided to go off piste for one final flourish: "... and if we try to look for it, we'll know that it's the comet and not a star, because we'll see it moving across the sky, won't we ...?"

Even on radio, I could see the tumbleweed roll across.

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