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Jetlack
2008-Jan-03, 10:58 AM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article3123427.ece

This is really funny and shows just how ignorant science writers for some mainstream newspapers can confuse the public.

"The planet would have formed shortly after the birth of the star and it is possible that other planets are forming within the disc. The star is 180 million light years from Earth. On Earth at that time, chimpanzees were splitting from gorillas to form a branch of the ape family tree that led to the evolution of human beings. Dinosaurs had been extinct for 50 million years"

I have pointed out to them that there were no chimps, let alone humans on earth 180 million years ago. Poster should read the whole article as its full or really elementary errors.

But no correction - unbelievable!

grant hutchison
2008-Jan-03, 11:08 AM
I think the events mentioned refer to the 10-million-year age of the star, rather than its distance in light years. So they seem about right. They're just forgetting the lag time for light to arrive with us. :)

Edit: Ah, the misprint is in the "180 million lightyears": there should be no "million". The time comparisons are sound.

Grant Hutchison

Jetlack
2008-Jan-03, 11:11 AM
I think the events mentioned refer to the 10-million-year age of the star, rather than its distance in light years. So they seem about right. :)

Grant Hutchison

I dont think it reads like that and by the remarks on the Time website Im not the only one confused.

They should say 10 million years ago on Earth. Instead it sounds like they are describing events on earth 180 million years ago.

Van Rijn
2008-Jan-03, 11:19 AM
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article3123427.ece

This is really funny and shows just how ignorant science writers for some mainstream newspapers can confuse the public.

"The planet would have formed shortly after the birth of the star and it is possible that other planets are forming within the disc. The star is 180 million light years from Earth. On Earth at that time, chimpanzees were splitting from gorillas to form a branch of the ape family tree that led to the evolution of human beings. Dinosaurs had been extinct for 50 million years"


It is 180 million light years from Earth? From:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TW_Hydrae

ne of the constellation's star systems, TW Hydrae,* has been the subject of much recent study due to its proximity to our solar system. The star is located 180 light-years away from Earth, close enough to call it a neighbor.

Somehow they managed to put a "million" in there. This is a star close enough to study closely, and without gravity lens tricks.

Jetlack
2008-Jan-03, 11:25 AM
It is 180 million light years from Earth? From:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TW_Hydrae

ne of the constellation's star systems, TW Hydrae,* has been the subject of much recent study due to its proximity to our solar system. The star is located 180 light-years away from Earth, close enough to call it a neighbor.

Somehow they managed to put a "million" in there. This is a star close enough to study closely, and without gravity lens tricks.

It would not surprise me one bit. I've never actually heard of that star before so would'nt know. But for a start the article is just poorly written. You would'nt want a science teacher like that because you'd learn nowt.

Also usually when an article makes an chronological earth analogy to the light we see from a star; they mention what was happening on earth as the light left the star.

grant hutchison
2008-Jan-03, 12:12 PM
I'm afraid I read it initially without the "million" in the light-years; once in Jetlack's post and again when I read the article.:cry: That distance was so implausible I just read the real distance of 180 light-years, and the whole thing made perfect sense to me. Hence my little "joke" about how they'd forgotten the lag-time - as if 180 years makes much difference to 10 million. My bad.

Grant Hutchison

eburacum45
2008-Jan-03, 12:27 PM
180 light years is not exactly what I would call a close neighbour; as a rough estimate there are tens of thousands of stars (mostly red dwarfs) within a 180 light year radius of Earth.

Jetlack
2008-Jan-03, 12:52 PM
You'd think they would have corrected it by now.

Newspapers are so loathe to edit a mistake. No wonder we have lost faith in the credibility of the media.

schlaugh
2008-Jan-03, 05:08 PM
Seems to me that the The Times has steadily gone downhill since it was bought by Rupert Murdoch in the 1980s. Ah well...

It's also equally sad to see some of the readers posting comments about the story...although some appeared to be on the right (skeptical) path.

loglo
2008-Jan-04, 05:20 PM
Seems to me that the The Times has steadily gone downhill since it was bought by Rupert Murdoch in the 1980s.

A common enough occurrence that one would think his mission in life was the world-wide abandonment of journalistic standards.

Argos
2008-Jan-04, 05:25 PM
Seems to me that the The Times has steadily gone downhill since it was bought by Rupert Murdoch in the 1980s. Ah well...


I fear for the Wall Street Journal, one of the last bastions of good journalism...

NEOWatcher
2008-Jan-04, 05:44 PM
I fear for the Wall Street Journal, one of the last bastions of good journalism...
Sorry to scare you, but it's already started (http://www.bautforum.com/life-space/66199-maclaine-speaks-kucinich.html#post1144367).
This might make for an interesting side note story or something, but front page news for WSJ...no.

Argos
2008-Jan-04, 05:50 PM
Well...[sigh]

Jetlack
2008-Jan-05, 02:25 PM
I was only making a comment about media no correcting errors in general. I guess one should not be surprised it turns into a Murdoch bashing thread :-)

Personally i dont think Murdoch's media platforms are any more biased or irresponsible regarding the truth than any other media organisations.

In the West we have a plurality of opinion and media, left, centre and right-wing.

Balance is everything.

Hornblower
2008-Jan-05, 03:04 PM
I had a favorable experience when I wrote to The Washington Post a few years ago about a scientific error. As it happened the error was in a published prior letter from another reader, who had misapplied the Pauli exclusion principle to a question about the maximum possible weight of waterlogged snow. One of their editors ran my rebuttal by a professor of physics at the University of Maryland. When the professor concurred, the editor called me to thank me for my attention to scientific details and published my letter.

Jeff Root
2008-Jan-05, 11:03 PM
Newspapers are not online forums. Corrections to significant errors
are usually printed, if they are timely.

-- Jeff, in Richfield MN

RussT
2008-Jan-05, 11:46 PM
It is just a simple misprint...blame the proof-readers ;)

Andromeda is 2.2 million light years from our galaxy so obviously any star in our galaxy Cannot be 180 million light years distant.

So obviously they should also make sure they correct this error!

dave conz
2008-Jan-06, 09:25 AM
I chuckled at the way one of our national news broadcasters announced the story... "Scientists have found the youngest planet in the Universe".