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View Full Version : Error in National Geographic: the new universe (I think)



m74z00219
2010-Aug-09, 01:21 PM
On page 10 of this issue of NatGeo, it seems there is an instance of bad astronomy. Over a beautiful backdrop of the Orion Nebula, there is a statement that seems erroneous: "1 million years old is the age of light from the center of the milky way that reaches Earth."

isn't light that reaches us from the center of the Milky Way only 27,000 years old?


M74

grapes
2010-Aug-09, 02:58 PM
That seems correct, depending on which figure you use for the distance.

I'll have to check that issue of Nat Geo--that seems like clumsy english too

grant hutchison
2010-Aug-09, 07:49 PM
I'll have to check that issue of Nat Geo--that seems like clumsy english tooIs that unusual in Nat Geo these days? I haven't picked up a copy in years, but the reason I abandoned it at an early age was because of prose so purple that it disappeared into the ultraviolet.

Grant Hutchison

m74z00219
2010-Aug-11, 07:19 AM
I'll have to check that issue of Nat Geo--that seems like clumsy english too



Is that unusual in Nat Geo these days? I haven't picked up a copy in years, but the reason I abandoned it at an early age was because of prose so purple that it disappeared into the ultraviolet.

I'm not too familiar with the magazine's editing history, but I was very perplexed when I saw that. I almost didn't want to post it for fear that I was completely misinterpreting the quote. I literally stared for ten minutes. Fortunately, the pictures were gorgeous.

Is there a chance they're referring (in a very round about or moot way) to the age of certain objects at the core region of the galaxy?

M74

HenrikOlsen
2010-Aug-13, 01:31 PM
I wonder if they confuse milky way for galaxy and are referring to something not quite obvious in the picture, or for that matter are confusing the Orion Nebula for one.

EricFD
2010-Aug-13, 03:13 PM
Though disconcerting, it is not uncommon to find errors like that in sources such as NatGeo, unfortunately. I have found similar errors from other sources including the HubbleSite. I, in fact, wrote to the Webmaster of the Hubblesite pointing out a similar error a few years back.

grapes
2010-Aug-26, 06:57 PM
I don't have a copy yet of the current issue but I checked a couple libraries, and they don't have their copy yet either. But in the recent past issues, page 10 is always in the Letters section, which starts on page 8. The Your Shot section (reader photo submissions) always starts on page 12 (and a couple issues had no page 9/10, the pages just went from page 8 to an unnumbered advertisement on the back of page 12).

Jeff Root
2010-Aug-30, 11:38 AM
I saw the issue on the magazine stand in the grocery store in July.
It is a special issue entirely about astronomical discoveries of the
last decade or thereabouts. It is not the regular monthy issue.

I also saw the price tag, so put it back on the shelf after being
careful not to drool on any of the lovely pictures.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

grapes
2010-Aug-31, 03:51 AM
I realized that today when I saw the September issue on the shelves. The New Universe edition had a September date, in some online reference I found back when, so I thought it was the upcoming edition.

Wayner
2010-Sep-06, 08:28 PM
Hi all; Just a comment about the NG error (I think), as far as I know, light from the center of our Milky Way Galaxy does not reach Earth, due to the obscuring dust, however, radio telescopes can penetrate the dust and allow us to "see" the central area, 25,000 - 30,000 light years away.
BTW, another error is on page 62 in the NG New Universe 2010 special edition, discovered by Hugh, a friend and fellow amateur astronomer, states that Saturn's distance is 1.43 million kilometres, when it should read 1.43 BILLION kilometres. Otherwise, it has some good info and amazing photos.
Clear skies,
Wayner.

PhillipJFry
2010-Sep-08, 09:16 PM
Forgive me. I know it's old but this is still one of my favorites:

http://www.myupload.dk/showfile/r6058290e1f6.jpg

Hungry4info
2010-Sep-19, 03:20 AM
@ PhillipJFry

Nice!!! Saved that one to my hard drive!

grapes
2010-Sep-19, 03:13 PM
I did find the New Universe edition on the shelves at a bookstore last week, and even took a phone-camera photo of the quote in the OP. Weird, I wonder what they meant to say.

Even weirder, on the previous page, is an image of Saturn, that says "13 million kilometers (8 million miles) is the distance between Saturn and its outermost ring." The image shows Saturn and its ring system and is almost certainly this one (http://solarviews.com/cap/pia/PIA08329.htm). The outermost ring in the photo is the E ring, isn't it? This webpage (http://solarviews.com/eng/saturnrings.htm) says the E ring extends from 180,000 kilometers to 640,000 kilometers from Saturn.

Phoebe, the moon of Saturn discovered in 1898, is right at 13 million kilometers out. Is there a right associated with it?

Jeff Root
2010-Sep-19, 06:52 PM
A right? As opposed to a left? Or a wrong? The right to moonlight?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

grapes
2010-Sep-19, 06:56 PM
Is there a right associated with it?Heheh, my mistake. I meant, is there a ring associated with Phoebe?

grant hutchison
2010-Sep-19, 06:59 PM
Heheh, my mistake. I meant, is there a ring associated with Phoebe?That'd be the Phoebe Ring (http://www.planetary.org/blog/article/00002165/).

Grant Hutchison

grapes
2010-Sep-19, 07:08 PM
That must be what was meant. Too bad the illustration doesn't show it...