Your direct source for Dry Suits, Waders & Waterproof Bags for Diving, Kayak, Waterski, Jetski, Rafting, Fishing and more!
News Wars: Debunking the 2 Suns Myth & Beyond
Lately there has been a lot of attention focused on the heavens, and it would be an understatement to say that some of the news has caused a little distress. When new discoveries about the stars and planets are made, the story can circulate in the continuous internet news cycle and take on a life of its own. Scientists become excited, and reporters become more excited, many times getting the story wrong and, in their zeal to 'go viral,' often fudging the truth. Three recent cases typify this phenomenon.
Mars as big as the moon has been a recurring internet rumor that has had scientists chuckling for years. Every so often, the last occurance was in 2010, a mass email gets circulated foretelling that soon Mars will pass so close to Earth that it will appear to be as big as the moon. Of course there are no possible variations in the Earth's or Mars' orbits that permit such a close encounter, but that doesn't stop many people from believing the hoax.
The New Zodiak Sign has all kinds of hands wringing as people everywhere are having astrological identity crises. An astronomer in Minnesota, Parke Kunkle, shocked the world by claiming that, as a result of the Earth's “wobble” around its axis, there is a one-month bump in the stars’ alignment. That means, according to him, that the entire zodiak has shifted, causing just about everyone's sign to change. Naturally people are disturbed, millions having lived their entire lives adhering to beliefs regarding their horoscopes. But don't worry, be happy, because it's belief that will save us. We in the west use the tropical zodiac, which follows the seasons and not the constellations. Sure, the Earth wobbles and that shifts how we see the constellations our astrological signs are the same.
The Earth Having Two Suns is the latest in the line of astronomical hyperbole. A recent story has surfaced claiming that the red super-giant star in Orion’s nebula, Betelgeuse, will explode. When that happens, according to the story, the resulting supernova will look like another sun in the sky, turning day into night and showering us with harmless neutrinos (star dust). The writers who run with this stuff of course are equating it with the 2012 doomsday theories since scientists have opened it up to the possibility that we could be seeing this cosmic event by then. The truth is Betelgeuse remains a good 600 or so light years away from us, a safe enough distance to give us a fireworks show and that's all. Also, it's not the right type of star to explode as a gamma-ray burst, so scientists are not concerned. Plus, astronomers don't know exactly when the supernova will occur--there's a million year window. Finally, at that distance, it’ll get about as bright as the full Moon, which is pretty bright, but that’s about it.
Sensational rumors and controversial stories like these will never go away. As long as people will believe them, writers will write them. But with a little digging, it's not difficult to find that, 'the truth is out there...'
sources: news.com.au, huffingtonpost.com, news.discovery.com photo: exloogarden.nl
2010 Captain Kujo All rights reserved.