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aurora
2008-Jul-16, 02:34 AM
Just saw a Burger King commercial, where the person says he discovered a "moon orbiting Regulus 239 in the Crab Nebula" that may support life. And in the background is what looks like a 6 inch reflector.

Then another person refers to the discovery of a star.

OK, let's see if I can get it all down:


Regulus doesn't have 239 planets.
The Crab Nebula has a white dwarf at its center, not Regulus
We have no way to determine if planets around other stars support life
Stars are not the same things as moons
A 6 inch telescope cannot discover planets or moons around other stars
We have no way currently to find moons around planets outside our solar system

Did I miss anything?

matthewota
2008-Jul-16, 05:26 AM
I have not seen the commercial yet, but I have seen reflector telescopes displayed backwards in stores before....with the mirror pointing up!

Tog
2008-Jul-16, 07:36 AM
Just saw a Burger King commercial, where the person says he discovered a "moon orbiting Regulus 239 in the Crab Nebula" that may support life. And in the background is what looks like a 6 inch reflector.

Then another person refers to the discovery of a star.

OK, let's see if I can get it all down:

Regulus doesn't have 239 planets.
The Crab Nebula has a white dwarf at its center, not Regulus
We have no way to determine if planets around other stars support life
Stars are not the same things as moons
A 6 inch telescope cannot discover planets or moons around other stars
We have no way currently to find moons around planets outside our solar systemDid I miss anything?

The Crab Nebula is in Taurus, Regulus is in Leo.
The Crab (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crab_nebula) doesn't have a white dwarf, it has a neutron star at it's center. Actually, I go that from that Wiki link. I would have assumed that there was nothing at the center since the Crab Nebula is a supernova remnant.

The other stuff, I completely agree with.

I suspect that "Regulus 239" was taken from "Wolf 359", not realizing that Regulus was an actual name of a star.

Jeff Root
2008-Jul-17, 09:42 AM
Since I'm not likely to see the commercial, would you mind describing it
in a bit of detail? What kind of person is the discoverer -- professional,
amatuer, nerd charicature? What kind of person/people is he talking to?
What kind of setting does this take place in? Is the lighting realistic?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

aurora
2008-Jul-17, 03:47 PM
It is one of a series of Burger King commercials, the general idea is that you have to do something special to deserve their artery-clogging double cheeseburger with bacon (or whatever it was they were pushing).

In each of these, person A comes in and asks what person B did to deserve such a burger, and the person B says something impressive and then person C says something not impressive, and the questioner then berates the last person for thinking too much of himself.

I can't believe I just put that much thought into a terrible advertising campaign.

Anyway, in the astronomy one, it takes place indoors. I recall person A enters to either fill or get something from a vending machine. He looks across the room and sees person B, a nerdy type wearing a black turtleneck and sitting down while eating a burger. Person A asks B what he did to deserve it. Person B snootily says the stuff I mention in the OP. Behind B we can see a white newtonian reflector on some sort of GEM mount. Then the questioner asks person C, who is off to the side in the background what he did, and C replies that he "helped". And we are given the impression that just helping isn't enough to deserve such an amazing burger.

So I guess we can add to the Bad Astronomy the implication that this guy not only found a life-supporting moon orbiting a planet around a distant Star, in the middle of a supernova remnant, using a 6 inch reflector, but he did this from INSIDE a building, through a WINDOW.

Man. He's GOOD.

ngc3314
2008-Jul-17, 06:54 PM
Y'know, as bad as the details are, I was actually impressed that a commercial would start from the premise that any astronomical discovery would be so cool as to be worthy of the Ultimate Burger (even if assisting said discovery isn't). I even recorded it (DVR are good for that kind of slightly retroactive capture) ad showed it to family members for laughs (mine if not theirs). I've also seen a shorter version - will have to pay attention and see whether any of the description was clipped, or it's just for overall timeslot length. Hmm - maybe I'll stroll into a local Burger King and casually mention helping unravel Hanny's Voorwerp. That "help" part may limit me to a large order of onion rings.

Jeff Root
2008-Jul-17, 10:06 PM
My apologies, Aurora. Now that you describe the commercial I immediately
realized that I have seen it! A couple of weeks ago. It really annoyed
me, but I think I had mixed feelings about it for the reason NGC gave.

I think my reaction was that the bad atronomy was eclipsed by the bad
attitude, so I forgot about the bad astronomy, and basically forgot it all.

I do recall seeing two ads, one with a black guy and one with a white
woman, and noticed that they came out of the situation unscathed,
burgers intact.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

ngc3314
2008-Jul-20, 10:12 PM
A followup, based on a sample handed to me today by a friend at church. Burger King locations have little coupon-like slips of paper saying, on one side, my excuse for deserving a doublethick steakburger (or whatever it is, I can't find the slip right now). Flip this one over and it says, "I made Pluto a planet again". Wonder what others are out there? (Based on my sampling of reaction, someone who could pull that off could manage to eat and drink planetwide for a long time in rather better places than Burger King!)

a-l-e-x
2008-Jul-21, 04:04 AM
Relax, guys-- we're talking about Burger King here. Actually, I find the commercial funny-- the dude who does the big rant at the end is amusing. Let them take some liberties-- its doubtful that 99% of those that watch that commercial (or go to Burger King) care about astronomy anyway.

ToSeek
2008-Jul-22, 04:08 PM
Moved from "Bad Astronomy Stories" to "Small Media at Large", with a redirect.

AGN Fuel
2008-Jul-23, 05:27 AM
While I agree that using one to try and spot an extra-solar planet inside an SNR is akin to using two tins cans joined by string to eavesdrop on a conversation on Titan, I actually suspect that the 6" reflector is being employed here to try and find a smidgen of nutrient value in the burger.

korjik
2008-Jul-23, 08:45 PM
While I agree that using one to try and spot an extra-solar planet inside an SNR is akin to using two tins cans joined by string to eavesdrop on a conversation on Titan, I actually suspect that the 6" reflector is being employed here to try and find a smidgen of nutrient value in the burger.

Couldnt be that. A 'scope that could do that would be powerful enough to read newspaper print through an atmosphere at 1300 ly.

Jeff Root
2008-Jul-23, 09:18 PM
Really, I think a typical burger has plenty of nutrients in it -- it just has too
many of some that you don't want that much of. And no single food should
be expected to have all the nutrients a person needs. Not even pizza.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Lord Jubjub
2008-Jul-25, 02:45 AM
BLASPHEMER!

Pizza contains all that is good in this world!

HenrikOlsen
2008-Jul-26, 04:27 PM
Pizza can easily be designed to have everything you need(except possibly enough water).

Noclevername
2008-Aug-05, 02:01 AM
What, you've never had watermelon pizza?

Noclevername
2008-Aug-05, 02:05 AM
But I have to say, I agree with ngc3314; the fact that they're promoting scientific discovery as awesome and worthy of reward makes up for the Bad Astronomy. In this day and age, when the mass entertainment seem dedicated to promoting the idea that Science Is Bad and the street-smart Joe Average is just as likely to be right as someone who studies for years, any way to get a positve portrayal of science across, even if it's a clearly exaggerated means, gets my seal of approval.

Drunk Vegan
2008-Aug-05, 06:32 AM
We have no way to determine if planets around other stars support life

Not necessarily true. We can determine if a planet is in the correct orbital path that would be in the "Goldilocks" zone of liquid water. We can also determine temperatures to a fair degree of accuracy, if we assume no runaway greenhouse effects or other unknown variables.

And we can even directly "sniff" the gases in the atmosphere of other worlds to determine if they would contain the oxygen that humans require, if the planet transits its star.

IMO it's only a matter of time before we find a planet around another star that we can be pretty excited about visiting someday and even colonizing it.

Just a small nitpick, your other points are true and I agree that the science in it is ridiculous. Especially confusing "moon" "planet" and "star" and using the terms interchangably.

But on this one point they actually got it right.

aurora
2008-Aug-05, 03:03 PM
IMO it's only a matter of time before we find a planet around another star that we can be pretty excited about visiting someday and even colonizing it.

Just a small nitpick, your other points are true and I agree that the science in it is ridiculous. Especially confusing "moon" "planet" and "star" and using the terms interchangably.

But on this one point they actually got it right.

I'll stand by my statement that we cannot determine if an extrasolar planet supports life.

I agree that we may be able to do that some day, but we are not able to do it today. And to date, no one has found a planet that clearly supports life. Let alone a moon. With a 6 inch scope. Through a window from a lighted room. :sick:

Drunk Vegan
2008-Aug-05, 03:32 PM
I'll stand by my statement that we cannot determine if an extrasolar planet supports life.

I agree that we may be able to do that some day, but we are not able to do it today. And to date, no one has found a planet that clearly supports life.

The fact that it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean we can't do it today. The methods for determining likely habitability are already there. It's really just a matter of getting lucky and finding a terrestrial in the right orbit around the right star, at this point.

And there is a planet we know of that supports life. Earth.

Which is why we have a basis for finding habitable zones around other stars to begin with. We're not speculating on which planets ET might like, we're using our experience here to point at worlds that would be habitable for oxygen-breathers who like water and a 0 to 100 degree Fahrenheit temperature range.

Jason
2008-Aug-05, 06:05 PM
Determining likely habitability is not the same as determining that a planet actually supports life.

Drunk Vegan
2008-Aug-05, 10:39 PM
Umm, I'd say the very definition of the word "habitability" is "can support life."

And the scientist in this ridiculous commercial doesn't say "does support life" he says "may support life."

Which is exactly what a real scientist would say if he'd discovered a planet in the HZ. That it might support life, but further findings would be needed to confirm it.

ryanmercer
2008-Aug-05, 11:02 PM
How do you know the telescope isn't of some advanced technology that can see things that far away that are that size... and that it also doesn't have some sort of life-detecting abilities?

Drunk Vegan
2008-Aug-05, 11:06 PM
Because as far as I know Burger King is not privy to alien technolgies and/or advanced telescopes from a parallel universe.

It's simply not possible to directly image an alien planet with a 6 inch telescope inside Earth atmosphere.

It can only barely be done with giant orbiting telescopes like COROT which observe planet transits.

matthewota
2008-Aug-08, 02:12 AM
I saw the commercial. It is inane. It will not make me rush out to buy a hamburger at Burger King.

I live in a small town in New Hampshire, USA. They are building a new Burger King next to the highway....to compliment the McDonald's that is there....

luvtinayothers
2008-Sep-04, 06:04 PM
I love the cheesy, bad sci-fi movie wall computers in the background.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZA_8uPckNw&feature=related

I think these are pretty funny too:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrdGCEhmvEk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aUOibCglL4&feature=related

Delvo
2008-Sep-06, 10:53 AM
How do you know the telescope isn't of some advanced technology that can see things that far away that are that size... and that it also doesn't have some sort of life-detecting abilities?A bit like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZeK1si4kPg

Gemini
2008-Sep-06, 06:34 PM
I don't think the commercial specifically mentioned that he used the Dobsonian .

NEOWatcher
2008-Sep-08, 05:58 PM
A bit like this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ZeK1si4kPg

I was thinking more like this one http://www.comedycentral.com/videos/index.jhtml?videoId=156616&title=smelloscope.
But; your's does give me a chuckle each time I see it.

banquo's_bumble_puppy
2008-Sep-09, 06:34 PM
I wonder how many people might be misinformed by something as silly as this?

NEOWatcher
2008-Sep-09, 08:07 PM
I wonder how many people might be misinformed by something as silly as this?
If they are that misinformed by that, then they are probably already too far gone scientifically to make much of a difference.

Noclevername
2008-Oct-07, 01:54 PM
I wonder how many people might be misinformed by something as silly as this?

None, as the people who are interested in the subject either already know better or will quickly learn better with only the most superficial research. The rest won't care enough to make note of the specifics of the ad.

Abbadon_2008
2008-Oct-07, 02:13 PM
I prefer the discovery of the Hardees Thick-burger to anything from BK.
And the Thick-burger DOES support life.