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Thread: Controversy

  1. #1
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    Controversy

    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?

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    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?
    Forming opinions as we speak

  3. #3
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    Just to echo antoniseb, "events" are not usually controversial in astronomy, but their interpretation may be.

    And welcome to BAUT ZachTc2011
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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    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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    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).
    Forming opinions as we speak

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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    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'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baric View Post
    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.
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  8. #8
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    Hello, Zach.

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

    Ideas are controversial; events are sensational.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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    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.

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    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.
    Solfe

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    Most controversial? It would be hard to beat heliocentricism.
    Information about American English usage here and here. Floating point issues? Please read this before posting.

    How do things fly? This explains it all.

    Actually they can't: "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895.



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    The change to the Gregorian calendar: "Give us back our 11 days", followed by riots!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZachTc2011 View Post
    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.
    As above, so below

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    Epanding and accelarating Universe.

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    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.

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    I'm with swampyankee on this one, beating heliocentrism and geocentrism will be hard to do.
    The impossible often has a kind of integrity the merely improbable lacks. -Douglas Adams


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    Quote Originally Posted by ZachTc2011 View Post
    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.
    Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mantiss View Post
    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.

  19. #19
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    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

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZachTc2011 View Post
    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.
    As above, so below

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    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'.

  22. #22
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Root View Post
    Hello, Zach.

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

    Ideas are controversial; events are sensational.

    -- Jeff, in Minneapolis
    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Centaur; 2010-Dec-16 at 09:18 PM.
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  23. #23
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    I would say that during Galileo's time, the Copernican heliocentric theory was about as controversial as anything can get.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hornblower View Post
    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.
    Forming opinions as we speak

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by antoniseb View Post
    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.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZachTc2011 View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by baric View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    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

  29. #29
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    I'd say The Great Debate ranks up there with the best of the controversies. It's settled now, but certainly wasn't at that time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by parejkoj View Post
    I'd say 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...

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