View Full Version : Bad Astronomy in National Geographic Show

2006-Feb-01, 05:58 AM
The show, on last night, was called Moon Mysteries. The part of it I caught had to do with a California geologist who was using the Moon to predict earthquakes. The narrator rattled off a number of his prediction hits, but, predictably, didn't mention any of the misses.

The thing that really caught my eye was the sketch the geologist drew when explaining why the Moon was influencing earthquakes at perigee. It looked like this:

http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/1546/lunarapogeeandperigee4ss.th.jpg (http://img19.imageshack.us/my.php?image=lunarapogeeandperigee4ss.jpg)

That's right. The Earth was placed in the center of the lunar orbit ellipse (not at one of the two foci), which resulted in an erroneous depiction of the apogee and perigee locations, i.e., ~ 1/4 orbit apart, instead of the ~1/2 orbit separation that is the actual case. And as one might have expected this faulty sketch was faithfully reproduced in the animated computer graphic that followed.

At this point I muttered something like, "This guy should stick with geology." and changed the channel.

Anyone else see this show? Any other blunders worth mentioning?

2006-Feb-01, 08:37 AM
I didn't see this, but have seen similar errors on NG. It's quite disappointing.