Monday, December 21, 2020

two points not one

Rhonda and I discussed the conjunction. She was rather upset and I was a little surprised. "The planets didn't form one point! They were still really far apart!" I agreed and said that I had been trying to clarify that to others. They were not going to merge.

I pointed out that even fellow astronomers were saying they were going to form a single point of light. No. No closer than 6 arc-minutes, above the limit of human vision resolving power, even at night. I did the research. I consulted with an expert.

And of course, under high magnification in a telescope, they would be well separated. 

She was very upset. But I attributed it to misrepresentation by the media. The whole "Christmas Star" thing I thought was silly, they weren't going to merge, and it wasn't going to get incredibly bright. Bad reporting by journalists without a science background and "selling newspapers." 

It was interesting and off-putting her anger. But it reinforces what I've been feeling for a long time. The news outlets are crying wolf and it will upset viewers leaving them disenchanted in the future. A further erosion of trust.

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