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ZachTc2011
2010-Dec-15, 07:50 PM
Im new to this forum but i was wondering what is the most controversial astronomical event that has happened that has REAL scientific evidence behind it?

antoniseb
2010-Dec-15, 08:24 PM
Controversial? You mean something that some astronomers interpret the data to mean one event occurred, and other astronomers read it as an entirely different event? ...
or are you wondering about something where non-astronomers have some unsupportable idea?

Swift
2010-Dec-15, 08:42 PM
Just to echo antoniseb, "events" are not usually controversial in astronomy, but their interpretation may be.

And welcome to BAUT ZachTc2011

wd40
2010-Dec-15, 08:44 PM
For the purpose of this thread, is it essential to have an actual BSc, MSc or PhD in astronomy from a recognized institution to be in the category of warranting the title of being a contemporary 'astronomer'?

Or are unqualified 'amateur' astronomers included too?

antoniseb
2010-Dec-15, 08:55 PM
For the purpose of this thread, is it essential to have an actual BSc, MSc or PhD in astronomy from a recognized institution to be in the category of warranting the title of being a contemporary 'astronomer'?

Or are unqualified 'amateur' astronomers included too?

I'm just trying to figure out if he means things that belong in ATM or CT, or whether he's wondering about something like broadening of quintuply ionized Carbon in Type 1a SN is interpreted by some as thermal and others as non-thermal (magnetic) leading to slightly different conclusions about the distribution of the ejecta (n.b. I'm making something up here).

baric
2010-Dec-15, 09:58 PM
I'm just trying to figure out if he means things that belong in ATM or CT, or whether he's wondering about something like broadening of quintuply ionized Carbon in Type 1a SN is interpreted by some as thermal and others as non-thermal (magnetic) leading to slightly different conclusions about the distribution of the ejecta (n.b. I'm making something up here).

The broadening is obviously non-thermal. Anyone who believes it is thermal is a heretic and a witch... BURN THEM!

ummm... what are we talking about?

Probably the most recent major controversy had to do with how to properly define a 'planet'.

Swift
2010-Dec-15, 10:05 PM
Probably the most recent major controversy had to do with how to properly define a 'planet'.
I would tend to agree with that. But I also note Zack didn't say 'recently' or give any time frame. Given that, I would say the idea of a non-Earth-centered universe. ;)

Jeff Root
2010-Dec-16, 12:00 AM
Hello, Zach.

Did you mean "controversial"? Or did you mean "sensational"?

Ideas are controversial; events are sensational.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

astromark
2010-Dec-16, 12:54 AM
We went to the Moon., and we did not. Would be the argument I would site...
That there are idiots a plenty to argue such has always astounded me....
Then you could add all those that pro port to have been abducted by aliens.... Oh yaa... controversial
Is this what you were thinking of ? and welcome Zach.

Solfe
2010-Dec-16, 01:11 AM
I suspect that the Tunguska event would rate as would the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event. Tunguska has been "put away" I think, but there seems to be a debate as to if an impact event was the "end all, be all" to the extinction. The LGM-1 discovery would be another surprising event, as pulsars hadn't been seen before that one. Even the name was selected as if to drum up headlines.

Of course, these are all my personal observations from the media. Carl Sagan in the early eighties offered an array of possible causes of the Tunguska event. For a short period of time the Nemesis Star was "popular" and a vehicle for discussion about astronomy; of course this was a big "what if" sort of proposal so I don't know how serious it was taken in scientific circles.

I seem to recall scientific types being seriously annoyed by the discovery of a planet (and then several planets) around "Pegasus 51". That was a terminology and decorum sort of controversy fueled by a news show. I suppose it depends on what you mean by controversy and who is answering the question.

swampyankee
2010-Dec-16, 02:09 AM
Most controversial? It would be hard to beat heliocentricism.

wd40
2010-Dec-16, 02:16 AM
The change to the Gregorian calendar: "Give us back our 11 days", followed by riots!

Jens
2010-Dec-16, 02:33 AM
Im new to this forum but i was wondering what is the most controversial astronomical event that has happened that has REAL scientific evidence behind it?

I'm not sure if this interpretation is correct, but I think you may mean to ask, what is the astronomical event that is the most puzzling? If that is what you mean, I think there are many. The Pioneer anomaly might be one, the flyby anomaly another, maybe the results of the WMAP survey.

Superluminal
2010-Dec-16, 03:02 AM
Epanding and accelarating Universe.

Middenrat
2010-Dec-16, 04:26 AM
I think the Big Bang theory had evidence to support it yet met with a great deal of inertia from the Steady State brigade for a couple of decades at least before mainstream acceptance. That was so controversial that publishers, I recall, had a default position of giving both points of view in astronomy books all through my school years during the 1960s and 70s.

mantiss
2010-Dec-16, 05:12 AM
I'm with swampyankee on this one, beating heliocentrism and geocentrism will be hard to do.

Cougar
2010-Dec-16, 12:55 PM
what is the most controversial astronomical event that has happened that has REAL scientific evidence behind it?

Events that are supported by evidence should no longer be controversial, at least to people of good will and mental flexibility.

baric
2010-Dec-16, 01:25 PM
I'm with swampyankee on this one, beating heliocentrism and geocentrism will be hard to do.

Was heliocentrism really a controversy among astronomers or among the church?

After all, when we talk about the first astronomers with telescopes, we are talking about heliocentrists.

edit: I would like to add steady state vs. expanding universe as a long-standing controversy among astronomers.

Jeff Root
2010-Dec-16, 01:39 PM
Cougar,

When an event is supported by evidence is when it becomes
controversial. If there is no evidence to support it, there is
nothing to controvert.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Jens
2010-Dec-16, 03:32 PM
Im new to this forum but i was wondering what is the most controversial astronomical event that has happened that has REAL scientific evidence behind it?

To be honest, I would suggest we wait to get some clarification from ZachTc2011 on what exactly it is asking.

baric
2010-Dec-16, 03:38 PM
To be honest, I would suggest we wait to get some clarification from ZachTc2011 on what exactly it is asking.

This thread has too much potential interest to wait on that. This might be the first time I've ever seen someone use the word 'controvert'.

Centaur
2010-Dec-16, 05:34 PM
Hello, Zach.

Did you mean "controversial"? Or did you mean "sensational"?

Ideas are controversial; events are sensational.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


To be honest, I would suggest we wait to get some clarification from ZachTc2011 on what exactly it is asking.

I suspect that Jeff may have discovered a wording problem that itself could have inspired a controversy in this thread. As Jens suggests, we may want to wait for clarification from Zach before adding to the controversy.

BTW, welcome to the discussion group, Zach.

Hornblower
2010-Dec-16, 09:14 PM
I would say that during Galileo's time, the Copernican heliocentric theory was about as controversial as anything can get.

antoniseb
2010-Dec-17, 03:31 PM
I would say that during Galileo's time, the Copernican heliocentric theory was about as controversial as anything can get.

Yes, Much more controversial than whether Price et al. discovered a magnetic monopole, or whether ALH 84001 contained fossilized bacteria spores from Mars.

baric
2010-Dec-17, 03:38 PM
Yes, Much more controversial than whether Price et al. discovered a magnetic monopole, or whether ALH 84001 contained fossilized bacteria spores from Mars.

But heliocentrism was not controversial among astronomers. It was controversial among the uneducated, just as are evolution, the moon landing, etc.

Ilya
2010-Dec-17, 03:47 PM
Im new to this forum but i was wondering what is the most controversial astronomical event that has happened that has REAL scientific evidence behind it?
Assuming "event" means "something someone observed" rather than "idea", then the most controversial event was probably Galileo observing moons of Jupiter, and thus providing example of something that clearly does not revolve around Earth.

Ilya
2010-Dec-17, 03:48 PM
But heliocentrism was not controversial among astronomers. It was controversial among the uneducated, just as are evolution, the moon landing, etc.
During Copernic's time heliocentrism certainly was controversial among astronomers. Tycho Brahe was a geocentrist.

grapes
2010-Dec-17, 04:08 PM
The change to the Gregorian calendar: "Give us back our 11 days", followed by riots!I know you're joking, but I just want to point out that the disgruntlement was because landlords were charging one month's rent for just twenty days, not because the "time" was lost.

Except for Ketish, he was mad about everything

parejkoj
2010-Dec-17, 04:15 PM
I'd say The Great Debate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Debate) ranks up there with the best of the controversies. It's settled now, but certainly wasn't at that time.

Strange
2010-Dec-17, 04:36 PM
I'd say The Great Debate (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Debate) ranks up there with the best of the controversies. It's settled now, but certainly wasn't at that time.

Interesting. I wasn't aware of that. I'm surprised we haven't had some Shapleyists in ATM...

Atlas shrugged
2010-Dec-17, 05:04 PM
I would offer the debate between an "Open or Closed Universe", of which the jury is still out.

eburacum45
2010-Dec-17, 05:08 PM
The Chandrasekhar Limit was the subject of long and seemingly quite bitter controversy between Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Arthur Eddington
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrasekhar_limit
more of an astrophysical debate, but resolved by astronomy.

Cougar
2010-Dec-20, 01:56 PM
The Chandrasekhar Limit was the subject of long and seemingly quite bitter controversy between Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Arthur Eddington
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandrasekhar_limit
more of an astrophysical debate, but resolved by astronomy.

Quite. As wiki notes:

The drama associated with this disagreement is one of the main themes of Empire of the Stars, Arthur I. Miller's biography of Chandrasekhar. In Miller's view:



Chandra's discovery might well have transformed and accelerated developments in both physics and astrophysics in the 1930s. Instead, Eddington's heavy-handed intervention lent weighty support to the conservative community astrophysicists, who steadfastly refused even to consider the idea that stars might collapse to nothing. As a result, Chandra's work was almost forgotten.

Empire of the Stars is pretty good. Eddington was very nasty to Chandra, who was devastated by the opposition. I guess Eddington did a lot of good things for astronomy. His treatment of Chandra is not one of them.

nota
2010-Dec-23, 05:04 AM
Arp

Cougar
2010-Dec-23, 09:39 PM
Arp

Yes, Arp was certainly controversial....





The work of Hazard and Arp slowly increased the number of strange pairings and alignments, which Hoyle felt strongly must mean that quasars are expelled from galaxies at very high velocities. But he never convinced his Cambridge colleagues or the wider astronomical community... Hoyle received the [Russell] prize and delivered the lecture in Seattle at the [American Astronomical] society's April 1972 meeting. Arp took the opportunity to read a short observational paper arguing an extreme proposition: The excess redshifts were related to the age of the objects, and the atomic constants were changing with time!... [Hoyle] concluded, "This concept appears necessary if we are to understand the result reported by Arp... Martin Schwarzchild scolded the pair of them: "You are both crazy!" -- Conflict in the Cosmos, Fred Hoyle's Life in Science - Simon Mitton (2005)

Robert Tulip
2010-Dec-27, 07:42 AM
Epanding and accelerating Universe.Agree. For mine the idea that expansion can accelerate remains the most mind-bending of all, with the inference that the universe is a one-off and will not repeat in endless cycles.

ZachTc2011
2011-Jan-03, 07:35 PM
For the purpose of this thread, is it essential to have an actual BSc, MSc or PhD in astronomy from a recognized institution to be in the category of warranting the title of being a contemporary 'astronomer'?

Or are unqualified 'amateur' astronomers included too?

i meant both

ZachTc2011
2011-Jan-03, 07:38 PM
Hello, Zach.

Did you mean "controversial"? Or did you mean "sensational"?

Ideas are controversial; events are sensational.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

in that case i meant sensational

ZachTc2011
2011-Jan-03, 07:43 PM
To be honest, I would suggest we wait to get some clarification from ZachTc2011 on what exactly it is asking.

I meant which event do you think has both scientific evidence supporting it and not supporting it if that makes any sense

ZachTc2011
2011-Jan-03, 07:57 PM
Thank you to all that have replied and made me realize i meant to ask what event has both scientific evidence supporting it and disproving it? idk why i wrote "what is the most controversial astronomical event that has happened that has REAL scientific evidence behind it?". it made no sense sorry it took me so long to reply I dont have any internet resource at home right now so i can only reply when im at school. Thank you and please answer my improved question.

Hornblower
2011-Jan-05, 12:20 AM
Thank you to all that have replied and made me realize i meant to ask what event has both scientific evidence supporting it and disproving it? idk why i wrote "what is the most controversial astronomical event that has happened that has REAL scientific evidence behind it?". it made no sense sorry it took me so long to reply I dont have any internet resource at home right now so i can only reply when im at school. Thank you and please answer my improved question.

What do you mean by "scientific evidence disproving it" when an event is known to have happened?

ZachTc2011
2011-Jan-05, 07:24 PM
like some things have evidence proving it or making it possible and disproving it like Roswell but thats the only one i know about

caveman1917
2011-Jan-06, 10:25 AM
I suppose you mean an event that first disproves the then-accepted scientific theory?
Plenty of them in that case, since there's one at the end of every scientific theory that has been discarded up until now.

Hungry4info
2011-Jan-09, 04:32 AM
like some things have evidence proving it or making it possible and disproving it like Roswell but thats the only one i know about

Let's get something straight -- the meaning of proof. You cannot have evidence proving it and evidence disproving it. This is a contradiction (and quite frankly, doesn't comprise a sensible statement). In fact, science doesn't deal with proof. Evidence is found that supports hypotheses.

There's plenty of evidence that Roswell exists, no evidence against it's existence that I know of.

neilzero
2011-Jan-12, 05:04 AM
I'd guess, very little mainstream support for closed universe remains. Open will result if the the accelerating expansion continues. Does anyone think the acceleration could end in the next billion years, or am I thinking wrong? Neil

Shaula
2011-Jan-12, 06:18 AM
I'd guess, very little mainstream support for closed universe remains. Open will result if the the accelerating expansion continues. Does anyone think the acceleration could end in the next billion years, or am I thinking wrong? Neil
Given how little we know about it who knows? It is currently accelerating. We don't know why we just observe it and give the agent of that acceleration a name. Better measurements are needed to work out how this acceleration has varied before any statements could be made about what its likely future is.

Jeff Root
2011-Jan-13, 08:19 PM
It is clear now exactly what Zach is asking about: Observed
phenomena which as yet have no explanation that does not
seem to contradict other observations, theory, or expectations.

An excellent example from an earlier time is the observation
that the speed of light is the same for all observers, nomatter
what their states of motion. That appeared to be nonsense.
It didn't seem to be possible. But then Fitzgerald and Lorentz
came up with a way to make it make sense, and Einstein
came up with a way for it to make even better sense.

What are the most perplexing observations that we are
currently trying to explain? That's what Zach wants to know.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

John Jaksich
2011-Jan-13, 09:20 PM
Im new to this forum but i was wondering what is the most controversial astronomical event that has happened that has REAL scientific evidence behind it?


Good --or real science is constantly changing---& is couched in math(s) --it is not so much that an observation or event that has happened but to ask in your own terms ---can i understand what i see without much fanfare and attempt to explain it without resorting to obfuscation?

IMO--most of us are capable of doing real and extraordinary science---

mikeg64
2011-Jan-14, 07:31 AM
Surprised that Dark matter has not be mentioned.
How controversial is this these days now we have dark energy and dark flow?

Here is an article about the MACHO collaboration dark matter controversy claim.
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/3172

Jerry
2011-Jan-30, 05:20 PM
There are always a few flurries within the community.

One mentioned above is WMAP interpretations: Are the 'cold spots' real or artifact, is their a dipole; and what about the alignment of the current map with the zodiac plane?

The first release of the Planck data, earlier this month should reignite some of this. Planck found evidence that the dust map used by WMAP is incomplete and has too shallow of an IR slope. Also, based soley on the first year data; Planck scientists have concluded that their is a dust-induced element that is not addressed in WMAP maps: spinning dust. (Spinning dust was discounted as a likely non-issue in WMAP data reduction.)

http://arxiv.org/abs/1101.2031 (3 mb)

Planck Early Results: New Light on Anomalous Microwave Emission from Spinning Dust Grains

"Spinning dust" is problematic, in that the microwaves emitted bump into the CMB region, and there is no obvious way to subtract out a background source that cannot be modeled 1:1 with spectral features in other wavelengths.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1101.2037

Title: Planck Early Results: Thermal dust in Nearby Molecular Clouds

Planck hasn't released a background map yet; and it will probably be a couple of years before one is introduced; but it will change some of the borderline features and may result in a lot of rescaling.

http://arxiv.org/abs/1101.2036 (7mb)

Planck Early Results: Dust in the diffuse interstellar medium and
the Galactic halo

A related argument is ongoing concerning the calculated baryonic oscillations as supportive evidence of WMAP cosmology.

Have Baryonic Acoustic Oscillations in the galaxy distribution really been measured?
http://arxiv.org/abs/1011.2729

Dalkeith
2011-Jan-30, 05:45 PM
The change to the Gregorian calendar: "Give us back our 11 days", followed by riots!

Apparently that was a mild alteration compared with going from the Lunar to the Julian calender.
In some circles Julius Ceasar was considered to have got a bit big for his boots.

chadwick2424
2011-Feb-04, 07:04 PM
I would have to say it would be the controversy of did NASA really land on the moon. That would meet the true definition of a controversy. I of course believe we did, but there are a few less than intelligent people that don't have a clue about how physics work and believe otherwise.

agingjb
2011-Feb-05, 01:18 PM
Lunar craters were believed, by some (including Patrick Moore), to be volcanoes rather than impacts remarkably recently - almost up to Apollo.