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BBC Astronomer Misses Meteor During Live Show

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the tivo-should-use-this-as-marketing dept.

Space 116

krou writes "BBC astronomer Mark Thompson wasn't having a good night for the BBC's Stargazing Live show. He turned to the camera to complain of poor cloud visibility and a lack of activity in the sky ... only for a meteor to shoot past in the background. A rather sheepish Thompson said, 'I must admit I was oblivious to it. I think I'm probably the only person in the entire country who didn't see it.' (YouTube video of the original live footage)."

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And this is news? (5, Insightful)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 3 years ago | (#34788998)

It wasn't even a stupid mistake on his part. This is like someone blinking just when someone else is taking a picture. Bad timing. Is this truly newsworthy?

Re:And this is news? (3, Interesting)

Carnivorous Vulgaris (1964964) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789022)

I knew somebody who blinked in around 95% of photos. Even a fake count-down didn't throw them off.

Re:And this is news? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789084)

Wow! Ok, that IS news.

Re:And this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789130)

Could be unfortunate if they worked in porn!

Re:And this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789676)

Was it Nancy Pelosi [youtube.com] ?

Re:And this is news? (4, Informative)

sglow (465483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789922)

I knew somebody who blinked in around 95% of photos. Even a fake count-down didn't throw them off.

Actually, that's fairly common. Most camera's use a short pre-flash to adjust their light levels when you press the shutter button. This is followed a few milliseconds later by the actual flash used to take the picture. Some people with sensitive eyes will blink at the pre-flash and end up with their eyes closed in most flash pictures.

I used to have a Nikon DSLR camera that could be programmed to emit the pre-flash when a certain button was pressed. I'd hit the pre-flash button first, then take the actual picture (sans pre-flash) a few seconds later. Worked miracles for my wife who is a blinker.

My new camera (a newer Nikon DSLR) doesn't see to make people blink, so either it doesn't use a pre-flash, or it's so fast that there's no time for people to react.

Re:And this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34790652)

Was his name Earl?

Re:And this is news? (1)

chichilalescu (1647065) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789108)

no, no. the news is the comment for the second video "this comment will randomly get lots of thumbs up.", which did get lots of thumbs up.

Re:And this is news? (0)

The Outlander (1279696) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789128)

must be a very S L O W news day

Re:And this is news? (0)

Dexy (1751176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789170)

The more interesting thing here is that this happened live on TV... THREE NIGHTS AGO. If this is indeed newsworthy, why is it only appearing today?

Re:And this is news? (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34790520)

I pity your comments moderation :(

You've just expressed the sentiments of everyone who watched the program, and have been harshly moderated down as a result :(

Re:And this is news? (3, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789208)

I think its pretty amazing that it was possible to see a meteor in the UK.

Re:And this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789216)

No, this is funny. Being human and having a sense of humor, I appreciate the posting, have a quick laugh and move on. Stoping hating over everything.

Re:And this is news? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789244)

I missed this show as I was out watching the meteors :(.

Re:And this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789684)

You can see it on iplayer if you're still interested. :-)

Meteors happen all the time (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789250)

During meteor showers, which happen at predictable times every year, one can watch several meteors per minute. It's nothing out of the ordinary.

It's almost like saying "astronomer overslept and missed sunrise" in an ordinary day.

Re:Meteors happen all the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789878)

I think the point is not that he missed something that's a common occurrence, but that he was complaining about how the visibility was so poor you wouldn't be able to see the meteorites just as one passes by. Sod's law, we call it.

Wow, it happened to you, too! (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#34790854)

What a coincidence, go figure! While you were posting your complaint ("waaaah!"), you totally missed out on the amusement of the story posted that was right there at the top of the page the whole time that the rest of us saw!

Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (3, Funny)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789018)

Does the BBC also have a "live watching paint dry" show?

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (4, Informative)

Kentari (1265084) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789042)

It's better TV than Big Brother, *-ian Idol, ... and all the other junk... That said, I didn't watch either. I prefer the real deal.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791210)

No, really, it's not. At least with the shows you mentioned earlier you get to see some nice talents you wouldn't have seen otherwise, or get some insight into how humans act under certain conditions, in a setting that is difficult to reproduce at home. With stargazing, you can just go the fuck outside and watch.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34792646)

With stargazing, you can just go the fuck outside and watch.

Better yet, just go outside and fuck while you watch. The trick is, when you leave your basement don't tell your mom what you're up to.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

SparkleMotion88 (1013083) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793026)

I prefer the real deal.

I do too! But I don't live in New Jersey, so I have to watch them on TV.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789068)

http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1489

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789070)

How dare they fulfil their public service obligations by showing a culturally diverse range of programming rather than endless reality shows and soaps!

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (3, Insightful)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789150)

Look, I love astronomy far more than the average person, but live stargazing - especially in cloudy England - is just about the dullest thing I can think of to bring out what's interesting in the field. As the ancients noted, the stars basically do nothing if you watch them live. They admired this "permanence" and its contrast with the wanderings of the planets and the transience of events on Earth. But that's exactly why there is no point is watching the stars "live"!

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789168)

Except it wasn't just stargazing was it. It was essentially astronomy and cosmology with al fresco theme.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789196)

live stargazing - especially in cloudy England - is just about the dullest thing I can think of

Didn't the English invent bus spotting? Stargazing is probably top-notch action entertainment on the island.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789896)

If you lived in England you'd realise how rare buses are, here. To spot one most days is definitely an accomplishment.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34790734)

Well if your buses are twice as big, then it follows that you only need half as many. Maybe if you built smaller buses, you'd accomplish twice as much.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (4, Informative)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789586)

Yeh, Flamsteed, Airy, Halley, Moore, Lassell, Hawking, Newton, Herschel, Cox, ... Britain is rubbish for astronomy and all that dull space stuff. Don't know why we British bother, to be honest!

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34790380)

-snort-

LMAO

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (4, Interesting)

Idarubicin (579475) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793370)

Yeh, Flamsteed, Airy, Halley, Moore, Lassell, Hawking, Newton, Herschel, Cox, ... Britain is rubbish for astronomy and all that dull space stuff. Don't know why we British bother, to be honest!

The reason why Newton invented calculus, optics, and the theory of gravitation was to have something to do on all those cloudy nights with rubbish observing. Flamsteed, meanwhile, spent his cloudy nights getting into political fights with Newton, and burning his books in front of the Royal Society during an authorship dispute. Halley headed for Saint Helena's clear skies and warm weather as soon as he graduated from Oxford; when he got back to England he mucked about with building diving bells to pass the time on his cloudy evenings.

Hawking never did any observational astronomy, nor did Cox. Lassell built an observatory in Malta as soon as he could afford to. Herschel composed twenty-four symphonies during his overcast nights.

If there's one conclusion to be drawn, it's that a British astronomer is a frustrated astronomer.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (4, Interesting)

mykdavies (1369) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789754)

Look, I love astronomy far more than the average person, but live stargazing - especially in cloudy England - is just about the dullest thing I can think of to bring out what's interesting in the field.

I don't understand why think that the producers of this series of hour-long programmes wouldn't have the same concerns, and ensured that the programmes were not dull?

I watched the first programme. It was presented by well-known physicist/presenter Brian Cox and comedian Dara O'Briain (who has a degree in theoretical physics and does a great routine debunking alternative medicine). They presented a live segment from Jodrell Bank which explained how radio telescopes work and Jodrell Bank's key role in the development of that field. They had a live report from the observatories in Hawaii, explaining what made that such a great location for telescopy, and also looking at how the islands were formed, reminding us about planetary formation and make-up. They took Jonathan Ross (a geeky presenter/celeb) out into a back-yard observatory, aimed the telescope and showed him Jupiter and its four visible moons). They explained the layout of the solar system, and the rotations of the planets, and pointed out that Uranus was currently in conjunction with Jupiter, and how to see it for yourself. They also answered questions that were being texted in by viewers (including a great one: "If there are so many billions of stars, how come it's so dark at night?").

Admittedly not all of this needed to be done live, but doing so gave them a hook to build up a lot of publicity about the programme, and it meant that the energy of the programme was very high, with very appealing and natural approaches by the presenters.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (2)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789788)

Stargazing, over three nights when there was A partial Lunar Eclipse, A meteor shower, a guide to how to use a telescope and how to navigate around the sky, and reports and interviews from Mauna Kea ....

One small part of this (very small due to the unsurprising cloudy conditions) was this astronomer stargazing live .... which was joked about by the presenters because they knew there was total cloud cover on two of the nights ...

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791236)

Apparently the stars need producing to fulfill the needs of the modern audience. No wonder that no-one's watching because nothing happens for most of the time (or everything happens, but slooowly). We need more action and drama. The original problem stems from the position of the solar system in relation to the universe. For the sake of good entertainment either the Earth or the whole system should be moved to more exciting a place, maybe closer to the center of galaxy. BBC should be able to arrange that for the next season.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34792992)

Close encounters with radiation bursts and orbital perturbrations is the kind of excitement I can do without.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789474)

How dare they fulfil their public service obligations by showing a culturally diverse range of programming rather than endless reality shows and soaps!

Is it the programming language?

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34790762)

Yeah, Micro live [youtube.com] and Database [youtube.com]

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789086)

I am a fan of the BBC, astronomy, Brian Cox and Dara O'Briean [2]. But this show was pretty dull. It had a few interesting things but for the most part the presenters looked faintly embarrassed to be there and with good reason.

[2] Not of Gaelic spelling rules, though.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

stevencbrown (238995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789116)

yup, I agree with this. It was filled with too much padding (did we really need a presenter "live" in Hawaii?). Brian Cox also looked a wee bit uncomfortable with the live presenter job. Dara O'Briain was an excellent choice, being a professional comedian who is also a geek.
The idea of basic stargazing education is very good, but think it would have been better as a series of half hour programmes, rather than an hour 3 consecutive nights. But fair play to the BBC for trying it anyway. wonder what viewing figures were like.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789246)

Probably no worse than the 3-hour long magic bullet/juicer/mixer [pro] BS we Canadians have to endure after 2am.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789490)

Probably no worse than the 3-hour long magic bullet/juicer/mixer [pro] BS we Canadians have to endure after 2am.

But it can't miss.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789594)

However, it did reflect what astronomy is really like. It mostly is waiting around for skies to clear and things in the sky to happen and speculating on previous events while you wait.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789172)

Dara Ó Briain. Hope that helps with Gaelic spelling.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (2)

krou (1027572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789210)

Absolutely loved Brian Cox's "Wonders of the Solar System". Personally, would prefer the Beeb spent their cash on that, rather than shows like this ...

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789560)

"Absolutely loved Brian Cox's "Wonders of the Solar System". Personally, would prefer the Beeb spent their cash on that, rather than shows like this ..."

If you live in the UK, it's our cash, not theirs. Not that they spend it in any kind of representative manner. While it is true that this kind of show is closer to their public service remit than the vast majority of their soap/reality/cooking/make-over show output, it still wasn't very good quality.

It's been so long since the BBC has had to actually try to create a production with high quality production values, that there's no producers working for them with the talent to do so.

This was pretty typical BBC: sort of intelligent, but also sort of dumb, bad camerawork, presenters who try to make the show all about themselves -- and all in all, a bit dull and patronising.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34790024)

Yes, let's harshly criticise them for even trying to cater to a geek audience (something I don't see any other channels doing right now, even the supposedly more scientific channels on cable seem to be about loudmouth presenters blowing stuff up while they high-five each other). That will encourage them to do more, better geek programming in the future...

It's a pretty sad state of affairs when the most scientifically interesting show on TV is Big Bang Theory (not to be confused with Bang Goes the Theory [bbc.co.uk] , the Beeb's other offering which is very much in the idiots blowing stuff up vein).

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791532)

Let me guess.. Radio 4 listener...

On the whole, the documentaries that the BBC produces is better than any other broadcaster, public or private in any other country in the anglosphere. I've lived in 4, and the BBC produces the best "factual" programming by far.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

MeesterCat (926256) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789590)

And as he nicely plugged during the show, he has a new series "Wonders of the Universe" starting in March.

Personally I found this an interesting set of programmes. Yes there was some filler, but it was nice to see something vaguely intelligent on TV. All the old semi-heavyweight documentaries on UK TV have either disappeared (Equinox), or turned into a kind of lightweight, 'look what our CG department can do' fluffy documentary series (Horizon; see also Panorama).

I still miss impenetrable Geometry programmes on Open University at 4am. *Sniff*

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | more than 3 years ago | (#34790868)

If you noticed, most of the graphics from stargazing live were lifted directly from "Wonders of the Solar System". I'd prefer the beeb to do 3 hours of live stargazing than say, 3 hours of "breakfast", 3 hours of football, 3 hours of "cash in the attic", ..... (and it's nice to know that "Wonders of the universe" will be on the TV before too long.....)

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789176)

And also in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, too. The B in BBC is "British", not "English", dear.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (2)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789352)

And also in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, too. The B in BBC is "British", not "English", dear.

Northern Ireland is not in Great Britain (although the BBC does serve the folks there). If you're going to be pedantic, do it right.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789632)

Although NI is not part of Great Britain (technically Lewis, Skye, The Orkneys and Shetlands and all the other islands are not part of Great Britain as the "Great" refers to the large, or great, island), NI is part of Britain! So he was, in fact, correct!

Also, if I wanted to be even more of a pedant myself, I would say you cannot be pedantic, you can only be a pedant.

So, if you want to be a pedant, get it right yourself!

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34790242)

It is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland - so NI is *not* part of GB, but is part of the UK. ... and to get really political, Northern Ireland belongs to Ireland!

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34792620)

Britain or United Kingdom are terms used to refer to the sovereign state (more formally the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland) and is officially shortened to GB, GBR, or UK interchangeably. Great(er) Britain is the island, not the country (or sovereign state). So NI *is* a part of GB, but not a part of Great Britain.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792162)

Plenty of people on both sides of the pond recognize "Britain" as the UKoGBaNI.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

bickerdyke (670000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789236)

No, Bob Ross is not on BBC.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789698)

there's a whole range of DIY shows, what colour paint do you prefer?

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789818)

Hey, don't knock it till you've tried it.

Watching paint dry can be amazing. The patterns that form. Simply amazing.
And relaxing.

Course, then you have to deal with the differently dried patterns everywhere on your newly painted wall.
DAMN IT B&Q*, YOU TOLD ME IT WOULD WORK!

*DIY store in UK for those outside.

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791766)

we don't give a flying fuck where you get your paint, but rather where do you get the mood altering substance that makes observation of drying so fascinating?

Re:Wow, live stargazing is a TV show in England? (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791940)

LONDON--"Brace yourself for five piping-hot minutes of inertia," said William Barrett. Then he began reciting the names of every single one of 415 colors listed in a paint catalog: damson dream, dauphin, dayroom yellow, dead salmon...and on and on and on. Mr. Barrett's talk was titled, "Like Listening to Paint Dry," and to judge from the droopy faces in the audience, it was a hit. He was speaking, after all, at a conference of boredom enthusiasts called Boring 2010, held here Dec. 11.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703395904576025482554838642.html [wsj.com]

Sowat? (5, Insightful)

EEDAm (808004) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789030)

He didn't turn round to the camera, he was facing the camera ready to deliver his lines on a live link. And so a meteor appears behind him with his back turned. So frigging what? There's no miss and no mistake, just a bloke looking the other way as he must to do his job. And the clouds are clearly visible in the video as well. Non-article in extremis.

Re:Sowat? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789414)

You have to understand. This is the Daily Mail we're talking about. It's written by idiots for idiots. In other news, Aliens conspired with the Queen to have Princess Diana assasinated by falling house prices, and every single item in the world can be divided into those that either cure cancer or cause cancer. Drivel such as "BBC suck because man cannot see things that are behind him" is just par for the course for these drooling simps.

Re:Sowat? (2)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789790)

What's important is that WE saw it :-).

Re:Sowat? (1)

Ponyegg (866243) | more than 3 years ago | (#34791106)

I'm glad this topic cropped up as I was watching that episode and immediately thought.... hang on... wasn't that a meteor? But as no-one else on the show picked up on it I though that it was either plane on camera, or a local issue to me, a floater in my eye or some other less exotic answer. Nice to know my initial thoughts were correct. Personally I'm thoroughly enjoying this series, I think some of the US astronomers over in Hawaii that they cut to frequently (and even the live telephone conversation with the Space Station on Wednesday) are a bit perplexed (and somewhat envious) that this would command prime-time viewing in the UK...

Re:Sowat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34792506)

But as no-one else on the show picked up on it

You must have missed the bit about 20 minutes later when they replayed the clip and commented on it.

Eyes in the back of his head? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789032)

It was behind him. How was he expected to see it?

Idle (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789036)

This should have been posted there.

Am I missing something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789056)

BBC tries to film meteors.

BBC films meteor.

Slashdot posts meteor.

????

PROFIT!

Not worth the retelling (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789104)

This is one of those things which was slightly amusing to witness when it happened, but loses everything in the retelling. It's not news, it's barely even an anecdote.

And I'd point out the three nights of live stargazing was scheduled to straddle the partial solar eclipse on Tuesday.

Also they were using imagine intensifiers (4, Informative)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789112)

... so even if he had been facing it it wouldn't have been nearly as bright to his eyes as it was on the camera. In fact it might have been too dim to see at all with the naked eye.

Re:Also they were using imagine intensifiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789252)

Imagine intensifiers? You mean the camera was on drugs? Gimme some!

Re:Also they were using imagine intensifiers (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789264)

Oops - my bad. Imagination intensifiers, that would be cool! :)

Re:Also they were using imagine intensifiers (1)

mike449 (238450) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792010)

It was brighter than any stars in the camera field of view, which were not visible at all. Either the camera wasn't that sensitive, or the cloud cover was too thick.
In either case, this meteor had to be very bright.

Wha? (2)

dutchd00d (823703) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789122)

What a stupid summary. The guy was facing the camera, and the meteor appeared behind his back. Are we expecting astronomers to have eyes in the back of their head now?

Re:Wha? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789302)

The one perk of becoming astronomer is the extra pair of eyes growing in the back of the head.

Re:Wha? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789970)

After some of the shit professional astronomers took after the 10 year old found the supernova it is even more clear to me how the public just doesn't get science on nearly any level. The public doesn't think of them as people like Hubble, Spitzer or even Newton, they think that they should be like Gandalf, Merlin or Harry Potter.

The sad thing about this? It seems that a lot of people on Slashdot seem to expect the same thing. Nothing better than the armchair pseudo-scientists who belittle others over something that is totally exceptable to anyone with a half ounce of common sense.

Re:Wha? (1)

krou (1027572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34790542)

Sheesh. Lighten up. I submitted the story because I thought it was amusing, not because I thought he was an idiot for not seeing it; the guy had been waiting patiently in a field on a cold night for ages to see something, but just when he had to talk to the camera, there goes the meteorite. The only thing I expected from Slashdot was for people to have a little giggle, not because he didn't have eyes in the back of his head, or because he isn't Merlin, but because of the situation.

Slashdot confirms it (2, Informative)

Mathness (145187) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789180)

Must be some really nice stuff the editors are smoking for this to pass as front page material.

But getting paid for missing it ... (0)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789212)

I think I'm probably the only person in the entire country who didn't see it.

"But I was paid a tidy sum to appear on the telly, so fuck the god-damned meteor ."

Re:But getting paid for missing it ... (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789424)

I think I'm probably the only person in the entire country who didn't see it.

"But I was paid a tidy sum to appear on the telly, so fuck the god-damned meteor ."

Meteoric porn?

Re:But getting paid for missing it ... (1)

paintballer1087 (910920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789920)

I'm invoking Rule 34. Registering www.meteoricporn.com now.

a total non story ... (1)

doperative (1958782) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789220)

Mark Thompson, a television reporter missed the meteor because he was addressing a television camera ...

Would this have been visible without Night Vision? (2)

dovf (811000) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789338)

Anyone who's ever gone looking for meteors knows the feeling: the people you're with see a great one just as you were looking the other way --- it's almost part of the fun ;) --- so I agree that I don't find this very newsworthy... However, I'm also wondering how much the fact that this was being shot with a Night Vision camera (as the caption on the bottom left seems to imply?) would have affected the visibility of the meteor; in other words, even if the reporter had been looking straight at the meteor, would he have seen it with the naked eye?

yes and no (1)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789624)

Would this have been visible without Night Vision?

The meteor would have been visible, but the presentor wouldn't.

Daily Mail is moronic (5, Insightful)

Phil Hands (2365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789418)

The last time I had the misfortune to have my brain polluted by a Daily Mail story was when sitting bored in a physio's waiting room.

Flipping the rag open at random, I see a headline something like:

    87% of Britons now members of a persecuted minority

this little nugget of wisdom had apparently been assembled by taking the percentages of various "minorities" and adding them all together.

The groups included:

    51% Women

*cough* minority?

and then:

    12% Single Mothers

[SubEd Are you sure we can simply add that number to the Women?] [Ed: yeah, no problem]

Re:Daily Mail is moronic (3, Funny)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789886)

Even more amusing is the fact that single mothers are persecuted *by* the Daily Mail mostly.

Re:Daily Mail is moronic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34790684)

Even more amusing is the fact that single mothers are persecuted *by* the Daily Mail mostly.

As they should be - in the words of Chris Rock "you can drive a bus off a cliff if you WANT too - it doesn't mean its SUPPOSE to be done." - or something along those lines

Statistics anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791318)

Why can't 87% of a population belong to (at least) one of several minority groups?

Resign please (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34789656)

Timothy taco kdawson, just go away please.

Quadrantids (1)

DMorritt (923396) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789716)

While it's a shame he missed it, the Quadrantid Meteor Shower [spacedex.com] is still on for a few days, and it's one of the best, so natually they picked an interesting time to have Stargazing Live [bbc.co.uk] (although they aren't of course stars!), so keep looking and you'll probably see another.

Yes it's a shame he missed it, but as so many others have said, it's not really his fault. The only reason for his being sheepish was he'd turned to complain about lack of visibility, so yes, he probably feels a little silly, wouldn't you? I would.

Hopefully we'll have some decent meteor showers this year that arent completely obscured by days of clouds. I've been very disappointed not to see the sun and moon in days, not to mention missing out on the Quadrantids, my local Astronomical Society [cotswoldas.org.uk] has a public viewing tomorrow night (8th), so I'm crossing my fingers the skies clear up some!

Astronomy is a fascinating subject and has come on massively in the last couple of decades, less than 100 years ago people really believed in canals on Mars (signs of life!), water and volcanoes on the Moon, and Venus was just like Earth, possibly covered with life!

And that was ALL there was (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789762)

Live astronomy in the cloudiest part of england at the cloudiest time of year?

The Manchester area (where these programmes were recorded) is renowned for being rainy and January is one of the poorest for clear weather. It would hard to find a less suitable time and place to do a live programme about stargazing (the title of the show was Stargazing Live). There was, out of three solid hours of TV - no ad breaks on the BBC - about 10 minutes of live stargazing and that was all in the first episode. If you wanted to put people OFF astronomy, you could do little worse than explaining there was a meteor show - but it was too cloudy to see. There was a partial eclipse - again too cloudy for most of the country and the only live view of Jupiter showed an over-exposed blurry ball from a long-exposure camera on a wobbly mount. The only thing that could put more people off would be to have a top-drawer celebrity explain that although he had bought 3 telescopes he hardly used them, since setting them up was "too hard" and that the views he had seen left him "rather underwhelmed".

In true BBC science programming tradition, there was lots of aspirational stuff from Mauna Kea showing large telescopes, chats with ISS astronauts and lots and lots of photos from Hubble. But ther was little or nothing to help starters get their first telescope, set it up (to demonstrate that it wasn't too hard) or even identify most of the constellations. There were brief diagrams of U. Major, Orion and Taurus but a novice could be forgiven for thinking that's all there was.

I'm just waiting for the backlash

Re:And that was ALL there was (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789928)

Why backlash? I think you summed it up pretty accurately - I was expecting Ross to be shown *how* to use his telescope to see Jupiter. It's all very well doing it for him, but what did he learn (unless they showed him off camera)? There were no tips for how to actually pick things out with a telescope - it's harder than it looks and is like looking for faces in a room while staring down a long cardboard tube with one eye.

Re:And that was ALL there was (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 3 years ago | (#34790296)

Well, two sorts of backlash.

The first from people who saw the programmes and were inspired to go out, get a telescope and try it for themselves. They were given no information about haw difficult it can be. Nothing about what sort of telescopes to get, how to fous, find objects, the merits of different eyepieces or what level of expectations they should have. The same goes for the tacit implications in the piece about photography. By framing that piece with high quality images from the masters of the art - which were photoshopped with skill and precision, rather than just snapped off a DSLR on a tripod, they gave the impression that ordinary people could get the same sort of results.

The other backlash could be from the uncritical adoration/hate that the presenters attract. Whether that's the "I luuuuuve Brian Cox. He's so pretty and young-looking and such a good presenter. Nothing he says can be wrong and how dare you imply that any programme he's on is anything less than perfect (pauses for breath)". On the other side is the Dara O'Briain fan/hate club and the same for Jonathon Ross (was he [purposely editted to appear like a fool) and Liz Bonnin. Most of the comments I have heard about the programmes have been purely about the presenters to the exclusion of anything to do with astronomy. Just what you'd expect from people who watched it solely for entertainment, rather than information.

Re:And that was ALL there was (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34790558)

Indeed, and they are filming it at Jodrell Bank... which is noted for it's RADIO astronomy. Because as you note, the region is notorious for being overcast and wet.

Missing the Meteor shower (2)

vgerclover (1186893) | more than 3 years ago | (#34789996)

He'll have a fighting chance against Triffids then?

One thing I hate about today's society (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34791136)

One of the worst things about today's society is that if you're even perceived as having made a mistake everybody will jump on you and treat you like you're the worst trash in the world. This guy made no mistakes and no gaffes of any consequence, and yet somehow it's newsworthy. Accountability is one thing, but is a culture of rabid dogs looking for the smallest weakness really the kind of culture we want to have?

Dr. Who? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34792430)

I look forward to the inevitable parody of this in an episode of Dr. Who, with all the presenters gleefully participating. Thompson missing a massive spaceship blazing through the atmosphere in the background, that sort of thing. "Oh, bugger, not again!" [sadtrombone.com]

.

In Soviet Russia (2)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34793412)

Meteor misses you.

Unless of course you're in Siberia and it's 1908.

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