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View Full Version : Incredibly Incorrect Lunar Eclipse Article Published Today



Centaur
2016-Dec-21, 12:58 AM
Today BGR published and AT&T Yahoo further distributed an article called How to watch tonight's incredibly rare lunar eclipse.

There will be no lunar eclipse tonight. They only occur during Full Moons, and currently it is a waning Half Moon. The next lunar eclipse will be a penumbral event on 2017 FEB 10. Also the author should learn the difference between astronomical and astrological. I was thinking this must have been an old article or something on the Onion. It's not April Fools Day. The article is dated today. This seems a goof similar to the Mars appearing as big as a Full Moon silliness. Who nowadays hires reporters who are unable to properly fact check? Why can't an editor catch such nonsense?

Link: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/watch-tonight-incredibly-rare-solstice-lunar-eclipse-214418455.html

schlaugh
2016-Dec-21, 02:38 AM
Well, FWIW the link to the BGR source page is dead.

And speaking as a former reporter and editor, the BGR crew should have checked the facts but did not, for whatever reason. Likely they simply trusted the original source of the story. The start of winter (the solstice) is known by many people, maybe even the writer. Eclipses, not so much - and they should have checked.

Perhaps in this era of fact checking - with so much to check in a world of fake news - an incorrect story like this slips through the crack.

John Mendenhall
2016-Dec-21, 02:58 AM
Disgusting.

Jens
2016-Dec-21, 04:05 AM
Yeah, that's pretty shocking. I wonder how somebody could have made such a big mistake. In addition to that, though, the article itself seemed weird. The first paragraph goes like this:


Tonight, two astrological events will combine to create a truly rare occurrence. The winter solstice occurs tonight — or tomorrow morning, depending on where you happen to live — meaning that it’s the longest night of the year. Combine that with a lunar eclipse, which only occurs a few times per year, and you have the recipe for one of the longest, darkest nights that any living human has had the opportunity to witness.

It's true that the winter solstice is the longest night of the year, but having a lunar eclipse doesn't make the night any longer...

And having a lunar eclipse doesn't make the night any darker than a night with no moon at all...

So that whole sentence is screwy.

schlaugh
2016-Dec-21, 04:34 AM
And only in the NORTHERN hemisphere is it the longest night.


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Jens
2016-Dec-21, 04:40 AM
Yes, good point. And come to think about it, I think even this is wrong:


The winter solstice occurs tonight — or tomorrow morning, depending on where you happen to live — meaning that it’s the longest night of the year.

I don't think the solstice is a point in time, but rather "the longest night and shortest day in whichever hemisphere." So I don't think it occurs at a particular time of the day.

Hornblower
2016-Dec-21, 01:50 PM
Yes, good point. And come to think about it, I think even this is wrong:



I don't think the solstice is a point in time, but rather "the longest night and shortest day in whichever hemisphere." So I don't think it occurs at a particular time of the day.

The astronomical definition is the point in time at which the Sun reaches its maximum separation from the celestial equator. For all I know there could be customary definitions in various cultures in which the calendar day in which that occurs is commonly called "the solstice". I don't know one way or the other.

Hornblower
2016-Dec-21, 05:48 PM
Today BGR published and AT&T Yahoo further distributed an article called How to watch tonight's incredibly rare lunar eclipse.

There will be no lunar eclipse tonight. They only occur during Full Moons, and currently it is a waning Half Moon. The next lunar eclipse will be a penumbral event on 2017 FEB 10. Also the author should learn the difference between astronomical and astrological. I was thinking this must have been an old article or something on the Onion. It's not April Fools Day. The article is dated today. This seems a goof similar to the Mars appearing as big as a Full Moon silliness. Who nowadays hires reporters who are unable to properly fact check? Why can't an editor catch such nonsense?

Link: https://www.yahoo.com/tech/watch-tonight-incredibly-rare-solstice-lunar-eclipse-214418455.html
Once again, with online venues anybody and his uncle can "publish" anything, no matter how absurd, at very low cost and without having it vetted by a qualified editor.

01101001
2016-Dec-21, 09:13 PM
2010: NASA: Solstice Lunar Eclipse (https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/17dec_solsticeeclipse)


The eclipse begins on Tuesday morning, [2010] Dec. 21st, at 1:33 am EST (Monday, Dec. 20th, at 10:33 pm PST). At that time, Earth's shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the "bite" to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes.

Trebuchet
2016-Dec-22, 12:58 AM
2010: NASA: Solstice Lunar Eclipse (https://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/17dec_solsticeeclipse)

I was wondering if it was something like that. Quite reminiscent of the annual August "Mars as big as the Moon" stuff.

Jens
2016-Dec-22, 01:23 AM
I was wondering if it was something like that. Quite reminiscent of the annual August "Mars as big as the Moon" stuff.

I suspected initially too that somebody had just inadvertently recycled an article from six years ago. But if you look at the original article, it says, "the last time this happened was in 2010," so whoever wrote it did it recently.

schlaugh
2016-Dec-22, 02:13 AM
I suspected initially too that somebody had just inadvertently recycled an article from six years ago. But if you look at the original article, it says, "the last time this happened was in 2010," so whoever wrote it did it recently.
So much for the "honest mistake" theory. :rolleyes:

ETA: Some of the comments on the Yahoo page are interesting. Scathing too, and well-earned.

John Mendenhall
2016-Dec-22, 03:03 AM
I was wondering if it was something like that. Quite reminiscent of the annual August "Mars as big as the Moon" stuff.

Gve me but the Moon, and a catapult big enough, and I will cause an eclipse. :doh:

Trebuchet
2016-Dec-22, 10:00 PM
In similar vein, a reporter news reader talking head on CNN this morning announced "We all know the North Pole gets warmer this time of year, but...."

The actual story was that it's 50F there at the moment. I can't imagine where the preface came from.

schlaugh
2016-Dec-22, 10:27 PM
Did you mean 50 degrees warmer than normal?
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Trebuchet
2016-Dec-24, 05:36 AM
Did you mean 50 degrees warmer than normal?
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Dunno. They just said "fifty degrees". With no other qualifications. 50K, perhaps?

Jens
2016-Dec-24, 08:13 AM
I saw something on TV about it. I think they said 50F higher than usual.