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Brightest Moon Fallacy

Hemos posted more than 14 years ago | from the but-i-kinda-like-the-idea dept.

Science 286

theLunchLady writes "Unfortunately, on 22 December 1999 we will not behold the brightest moon in 133 years. An article in Sky and Telescope dispels this myth. BTW: the story about the American Indians conducting a raid under this moon 133 years ago, because it was so bright, is also a myth; the raid was conducted while that big fiery thing was in the sky. " While I'm unqualified to comment on both comments, I'm sure some of you have comments.

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286 comments

Wow! A phase of the moon bug! (0)

seebs (15766) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455489)

More hacker folklore.

But What About... (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455490)


Don't forget, one of the manned moon missions left a mirror up there, on the light side. (If you believe that it wasn't filmed in Studio 51, that is.) I'm sure that it increases the moon's albedo by some non-integer percentage!

Of course, that assumes that a maid comes by to dust every week. Nevermind.

--

Slashdot takes up Urban Legend debunking? (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455491)

Well, I'd like to think most people here aren't
that gullible, but p'raps they got a number of
submissions about this.
I know I've read a few comments in other
articles bringing it up already.
I'm still waiting for it to cross my spool...
Merry Christmas...

local moon IS brightest (5)

slickwillie (34689) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455492)

Last night/this morning I woke up and thought "Wow, that moon really is bright", and went over to the window. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was my neighbor putting up Christmas lights, with the help of a 500 watt halogen work light aimed right at my window.

More signs of the apoc^H^H^H^H^H^H nevermind (1)

_damnit_ (1143) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455493)

The world could end, the moon is bright, Clinton asks crackers to play nice...
jeez, what a strange way to end a year. (I omit mention of the millenium to avoid dumb flames about the milleniums true end next year.)
My real worry is my co-worker who decided to spend the Holidays in Venezuela with his wife's family. I haven't heard from him yet. I'm not too worried yet as net access has to be pretty bad down there (especially during a disaster). Well, I'll pray to the extra bright moon or whatever.


_damnit_

It'll still be "brighter" (3)

lyonsj (51249) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455494)

As the article points out, the moon will still be at perigee (closest point in its orbit to the Earth) and it will be about 19% brighter than usual. To most of the people (who have received this email, and I know I've gotten it seven times so far) looking at the moon, this will not make a big difference. Full moons are always bright, and so they might *think* it's a lot brighter and then not bother to look next month to compare. Personally I observe the moon every month (leftover habit from astronomy classes) and I have noticed the slight difference, but yeah, it doesn't merit the bandwidth that's been wasted on this.

I still think it's neat to have a full moon on the Winter Solstice, though :)

.. In Discover tho? (3)

Malachi (5716) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455495)

I didn't get the news by any email'd farmers almanac. I read it in last months issue of Discover.. now I'm not going to say they didn't pick up the scent somewhere, but another accredited agency has the other side.

You choose who you want to believe.

Malachi

Shoot... (1)

Midnight Ryder (116189) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455496)

Hehhehe - Ooops! I messed up on this one too - I took it at face value, and passed the same info on to my fiance. After all the times I've told people to check the facts before forwarding information, I end up doing it myself. *SIGH* Oh well...

But, even if it isn't the brighest moon, it's still kinda cool that it's an event that won't occur again for a while (the entire set of events occuring in a 10 hour span) and hasn't occured in quite a while. Just happens to be there's nothing interesting to really watch...

Midnight Ryder [midnightryder.com]

Re:But What About... (1)

Super_Frosty (82232) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455497)

I'd like to hear someone give a convincing argument that the Apollo missions were filmed in a studio. There's plenty of evidence that it was a real misson. There's lots of stuff on the surface of the moon - mirrors and scientific equipment, for example. Pictures from the moon, moon dust. A capsule full of dusty astronauts reentering Earth's atmosphere. Think of the thousands of people who would have to be involved. I just don't buy it.

I don't believe everything that NASA says, however. I'm convinced that these probes for Mars were in fact military satellites destined for Earth orbit.

Re:But What About... (1)

joshamania (32599) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455498)

Speaking of that mirror, I just saw a Discovery/Learning Channel thingy called something like "What if there were no moon?" I can't remember the specifics, I was a little inebriated at the time, but it was a damn cool show.

Anyhoo, to get to the meat of my comment, the show tells us that the moon is moving away from the earth at a rate of about an inch or so a year. Could it be possible that NASA is testing their new laser propulsion system on the moon and pushing it away from us? ;)

Oh ye of little faith (3)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455499)

From Sky and Telescope: "Most people won't notice a thing, despite the e-mail chain letter that implies we'll see something amazing."

Call me cynical, but I bet that most people who've gotten the email will see that the Moon is brighter than usual ... because they expect to. Humans are notoriously poor observers, and will often see what they expect to see, whether it's there or not.

On the plus side, maybe a few more people will remember to look up. Maybe it's partly because I live in a city, but sometimes I think I'm one of the few people who ever notices the sky.

What about the tides? (1)

Chris Brewer (66818) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455500)

Okay, the article says that the high and low tides are going to be a bit extreme because of the three events, but it doesn't say how much. 25% higher/lower than normal? An extreme neap tide?

Or am I just semi-paranoid?

Brightness is relative (5)

meckardt (113120) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455501)

Okay, maybe this isn't going to be the brightest moon of all time. I'm sure that the original information upon which the story that this refers to never claimed it would be. However, for those of us who are blessed with a clear sky tonight, the full moon should be brighter than we typically experience during a normal month.

As far as stories of secret indian attacks carried out by the bright light of the full moon, it is about as plausable as the story about the Space Shuttle size being dictated by Roman Chariot wheel spacing. Sure, it sounds like a neat explaination, but that doesn't make it right. I'm not qualified to say whether its wrong.

Regardless of the relative brightness of this full moon, I doubt if I will get to see it, based on the local weather. Anyway, this isn't the full moon I care about. Its Next Month's full moon that is something to look at. That is when we get to see a Total Lunar Eclipse. This event occurs on the evening of January 20, between about 9:30 pm EST and 2:30 am EST., with totality lasting from 78 minutes between about 11:00 pm EST and 12:20 am EST. Be sure not to miss this one, because we won't see another one in the us until May 16, 2003.


Mike Eckardt [geocities.com] meckardt@spam.yahoo.com

Milleniophobia!!! (1)

mdvkng (59799) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455502)

Is it just me or is anybody else sick of all of the supersticious goo and various other scare mongering flying about just before all four digits in the Christian year flip?

Isn't this just another symptom of rampant Milleniophobia? No matter how much it's debunked by Science, the supersticious apolcalyptophiles will still stick to their supersticions like flies to tape.

*sigh*

-M

PS: What disappointed me most is that the nuclear waste dump on the Moon's Far Side didn't blow up in September after all. Moonbase Alpha is still safe.

I'm so alone... (5)

DanaL (66515) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455503)

I haven't recieved the Full Moon Forward yet. I feel so isolated and lonely :)

On the other hand, I have recieved Elf Bowling *seven* times, The Elf-Bowling-Is-A-Virus thing twice, and Christmas Carols for the Mentally Deficient 4 times.

I think junk email distribution patterns would make an interesting area of study for Information Theorists :)

Dana

Another article, better reporting than the Almanac (1)

Strauss (123071) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455504)

The Toronto Star [thestar.com] for a slightly better report. At least the Star figured out the last real bright moon first, and so was correctly reporting 69 years.

-Strauss

Cosmo's moon... (0)

LazyBoy (128384) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455505)

...

Why would they do that? (1)

spaceorb (125782) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455506)

Could it be possible that NASA is testing their new laser propulsion system on the moon and pushing it away from us? ;)

Assuming you weren't joking, going to the Moon to try that out would cost hundreds of millions (if not billions) of dollars more than just to do it in Earth orbit.

Pagan Rituals Ruined! Goats will live.... (2)

Hello folks (120926) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455507)

How am I supposed to sacrifice my goats to the god reatsintpeont now that the celestial brightening will not commmence tomorrow...oh well..they're taking care of the garbage in my yard pretty well....i guess I'll leave them there.
Until next time....then the celestial provocation shall commence! All shall fall to my feet!

I'm serious. No, really, I am.....*snicker* DAMN! oh well. I guess you know the truth now.

Re:brightest moon? (1)

beagle (99378) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455508)

At least it's a lot easier to believe than "forward this to 50 of your friends and Bill Gates and Walter Disney Jr will give you $5k cash and a trip to Disney World" or "forward this to 90 people and get a free Honda Civic."

You can't trust everything you read (3)

CoughDropAddict (40792) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455509)

What amazes me is how people continually will believe anything they find in their inbox or on a web page. Our parents, our friends, even the news media (does anyone remember the Arizona news station that reported on a "Good Times"-like virus warning they got in their mailbox?)

It seems so obvious, but so many people are led to believe that if it's in print and sounds semi-official, it must be true. People believe unless they have a reason to doubt, and on the net you don't survive unless you do it the other way around.

Re:Irrelevancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455510)

What's a fucking? And why would it want shit?

In answer to your question, no, Obviously I don't give fucking shit, since I don't even know what a fucking is...

Can someone enlighten me?

psuedo solar eclipse (2)

keen (86192) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455511)

Someone tried to convince me that this was true today by arguing, 'Well, the moon is going to be really close to the earth and the sun's going to be directly behind it.' Hrm, sounds to me that it would be day if the sun was in the sky.. It's funny hearing how people get mislead and everything just propagates. Wish this got posted last night ;)

A few folks said they heard it was going to be possible to drive without their headlights since the moon was going to be oh-so-bright... Let's watch for an increase in accidents ;)

Oh well, we all know that night's when the sun goes to sleep anyway - 's why NASA's planning their Sun Polar Observer mission to land during the night...

-keen

Not just the moon, Santa's test run too (3)

hodeleri (89647) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455512)

The brightness will also be from Santa giving his test run about the sky. He'll probably be going about in his excercise clothes, shorts and tank-top. Due to the cold at the north pole, Santa will be white as a ghost, and make an excellent reflective surface to add the extra bit of brightness.

Re:But What About... (2)

PD (9577) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455513)

This is easy.

There was a movie starring OJ Simpson called "Capricorn One." It showed that it was possible to explain the moon landing as a Hollywood production. By Occam's Razor, we shouldn't add unnecessary complexity to our explanations if we don't have to. Why in the world would we need to introduce huge 30 story rockets, crazy moon cars, and a lunar lander that looks like a bug into the explanation? The simplest explanation is that the whole thing was filmed in Arizona.

Probably the most unbelievable thing is that they expect us to believe that we'd spend so much money and 3 guys would risk their lives just to show some silly Russians that we're better than them. I mean come on people! The Russians are our friends! We've been friends with Eurasia, er, I mean Russia for centuries now!

Sheesh.

Re:Wow! A phase of the moon bug! (0)

Eric Clark (562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455514)

WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH THE +2?

Re:I'm so alone... (1)

GeorgeH (5469) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455515)

My mom keeps sending me the Elf Bowling thing (even though I tell her that my system can't run it (It said Windows 95 or better, so in theory Linux should run it (English should support nested parens))). Is it a virus or a virus hoax? Last thing I need is my Mom calling me up at 12:01 on 01/01/1900 telling me her computer has the Y2K virus.
--

Humans? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455516)

Humans are poor observers? Are you not human? You are Devo!

Correct me if I'm wrong.... (1)

Karellen (104380) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455517)

...but doesn't the article then go on to say that it *will* be the brightest full moon in 69 years (since 1930)?

So, it's not a *total* non-event.

Why would you bother asking such a question? (1)

BadERA (107121) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455518)

Some people just don't have a complete grasp on the depths of profound sarcasm. Or, in some cases, not-so-profound, bluntly posed sarcasm.

brightest moon-Stupid! (1)

programmerguy (122784) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455519)

Why would any one have a raid under a bright moon? Did they want someone to catch them? I know the indians were much smarter then that. If we believe this then we are much more gullible then we get credit for.

Seen this too many times... (1)

copal7 (56467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455520)

um...what's with the chronic posts about how "perl sucks" and "tc shoves ____ up his ass"? i've never met him myself, but i would, honestly, like to know what the deal is. is he really that big of an @55#013 ??? and what the hell is your beef with perl? you're obviously on some kind of mission...so what is it that you're *for*?

Everyone's got it all wrong?! (3)

Hrunting (2191) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455521)

See, I saw the e-mail and thought, 'Wow, what a funky hoax!' But then I realized that the e-mail is partially true. What's really the fact here is that this is indeed (at least in the northern hemisphere) going to be the darkest night. Why? Well, the night will be the longest of the year and thus, darkness will have a chance to soak in and penetrate everything. Couple this with a new moon and the moon becomes even brighter, because as everyone knows, light objects on a dark field are lighter than the same shade object on a lighter field (it's a perception thing). Thus, it's really about the darkest night of the year.

As for the Indians, I thought the US's Thanksgiving was last month.

Re:It'll still be "brighter" (1)

nion (19898) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455522)

I still think it's neat to have a full moon on the Winter Solstice, though :)



i'm with you there. the nakedness is entirely optional.

Re:Wow! A phase of the moon bug! (1)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455523)

The guy has a +1 bonus for having a high karma.

I do to, but I always turn it off.....

Re:I'm so alone... (2)

Optical_Delusion (69376) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455524)

I think junk email distribution patterns would make an interesting area of study for Information Theorists :)

Oh great, the next one just started.
'This is part of a study looking at junk e-mail flow in modern society, please forward this on to whoever you usually forward this crap too.'

=;-)

O.D.

Re:I'm so alone... (2)

DanaL (66515) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455525)

The email is from just one guy who says he set the date to Dec 25, rebotted and his computer went down.

I've got counter emails from people saying it it's a hoax, and I haven't heard anything from CERT, Norton or McAfee, so I am assuming it is safe.

The email probably comes from a bitter, disgruntled player who kept getting lousy scores :)

Dana

semi-paranoid or just plain unobservant? (1)

BadERA (107121) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455526)

As the article states: "Ocean tides will be exceptionally high and low that day" read the article -- THEN post. sorta like pull down your pants -- THEN take the dump.

Re:psuedo solar eclipse (1)

softsign (120322) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455527)

+1 Moderation (Funny)

... if only I could ...

I wonder if anyone will give you an "Informative" bonus for the tidbit about Sun Polar Observer landing at night....

rofl...

Re:But What About... (1)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455528)

By Occam's Razor, we shouldn't add unnecessary complexity to our explanations if we don't have to

Your kidding right?

BTW, one of the main "arguers" for this view was a certain Mr. Andrew Kaufman. (Part of the reason for the name of the movie.) However it turned out to be one of his hoaxes. (IE. he didn't believe it himself.)

Re:But What About... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455529)

Did any one account for the opacity of the atmosphere? Then again alot more folks were heating with coal and wood the last time around.

Oops (2)

DanaL (66515) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455530)

Oh great, the next one just started. 'This is part of a study looking at junk e-mail flow in modern society, please forward this on to whoever you usually forward this crap too.'

I guess I'm going to hell now (if you're right, I'll deserve it!) :)

Dana

just plain unobservant? (0)

BadERA (107121) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455531)

ok, let's try:
Read the post. Then reply. Sorta like, check your foot out, THEN shove it up your a$$.

my bad. flame away.

Re:Wow! A phase of the moon bug! (1)

PurpleBob (63566) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455532)

Welcome, newbie. People who have posted good comments in the past, giving them a high "Karma", which makes their posts start at +2 by default. It's possible to check a box that makes your comment start at +1 anyway, but IMHO that should only be used when replying to an offtopic comment, like I'm doing now.
If that comment is really unworthy of a +2, the moderators will sort it out. Okay?

--

Re:More signs of the apoc^H^H^H^H^H^H nevermind (1)

irqzero (15301) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455533)

heh.
and lo,
the lion did lay down with the lamb.
the hacker with the sysadmin.

End of days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455534)

So who's worried that this may be a sign of the Apocalypse? I'm not, not really .. after all, my soul is prepared, but the signs are still there. Yeah, I know that Sky and Telescope does a pretty good job of debunking the wild-eyed "brightest moon ever" claims, but it's still interesting to note that it talks about how the three events are unusually close together this time around. Doesn't anybody find the timing on this a bit, well, coincidental? Should we expect this type of thing right at Y2K? What are the odds?

Hear me out. If it were just this moon thing, I'd not comment on its closeness to the year 2000. But there are other signs as well. It is well-known that there will be a rare alignment of the planets early in the year 2000, the effect of which is still not really known. While most astronomers I've read seem to think that the planetary alignment will not have any real effect on Earth, others are not so sure. Some have predicted tidal waves and other natural disasters. Still others have suggested that the gravitational effect of the planetary alignment could alter the orbit of the Earth, which would be disasterous .. we are in such a perfect position now that such an alteration would likely cause widespread climate change and mass extinctions. (Those who claim that there is no evidence for intelligent design of the universe conveniently ignore our optimal orbit.)

So now we've got two rare astronomical events happing right at Y2K. Hmm. But it doesn't end there. Can anybody say Leonids? Here, at the very brink of Y2K, we were treated to the most violent Leonid storm in decades. And it goes on and on. Y2K is the host to a puzzling array of extremely unlikely cosmological occurences. Why? There comes a point when you can no longer simply wave your hand and dismiss them as being coincidence. Something is happening here, folks. Something big.

But let's not forget about things here at home, either. How many major earthquakes have we suffered this year? And don't give me that "no more than usual" nonsense. Why, this year, do the major earthquakes decide to hit major population areas? Have you been watching the events in Venezuela? 20,000 dead? 70% of the nation's economy destroyed? What about the earlier typhoons in India that killed so many? And what about the impending threats of terrorism that we will clearly face? When the clock turns over, will the buildings crumble and communities disintegrate? Where will I be? Where will you be?

If you ask me, I'm not gullible enough to believe that all of this is some sort of fantastically remote coincidence. Absolutely not. The end times were prophesied ages ago, and I firmly believe that we are living in them.

Re:I Hope This Is True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455535)

I apologize for slandering Larry. You are correct, Larry is a fine man.

I also apologize for not slandering Tom enough.

Re:But What About... (0)

GMontag (42283) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455536)

"Don't forget, one of the manned moon missions left a mirror up there, on the light side."
One of the most annoying misunderstandings about the moon, is that there is a "light" side and a "dark" side!
No, you flaming idiot, there is a near side (the side facing earth) and a far side (the side not facing earth)and BOTH sides receive sunlight you MORON! Some small areas at the poles recieve no light, but when the moon is "dark" as seen from earth (no sense wasting technical terms here) the other side is illuminated by the sun you retard!!!!

hemos (2)

mjankows (21230) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455537)

your unqualified?

Non-executable email viruses: memetic parasites (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455538)

If you've been amused to see this and other email chain-letters mutate and reproduce - propagating in spite of their bullshitical nature - you might want to look into the emerging science of memetics [lycaeum.org] and how it is applied to urban legends [lycaeum.org] and to chain [vub.ac.be] letters [silcom.com] .

It is easier to understand the proliferation of messages that communicate ideas that are contrary to the intent of their proliferators (in other words, people think they're spreading legitimate information but in fact are talking crap) if you see these communications as the result of natural selection rather than conscious creation.

It's the same principle that has allowed us to make much more sense out of the natural world by trying to understand it as the product of evolution, rather than trying to interpret it as the residue of God's Plan.

Re:Brightness is relative (1)

all4Tish (115541) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455539)

<semi-shameless plug>and a really cool thing about that, is that 20jan is also my (along w/ 1/365th (or about) of the world's population) birthday, too .... just kinda cool</semi-shameless plug>

sorry for wasting the bandwidth on a semi-shameless plug

Virus Hoax (1)

GeorgeH (5469) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455540)

Replying to my own post, how chic.

According to http://ciac.llnl.gov/ciac/CIAC Hoaxes.html#elfbowling [llnl.gov] it is a hoax, and my mother can go on enjoying life to its fullest, thanks to shockwave games.
--

Re:Seen this too many times... (1)

copal7 (56467) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455541)

alright...no i *REALLY* have to know. is he just a complete narcicistic pr*ck? what happened when you met him (however many times that may be)?

and what do you use for all of your administrative tasks? shell code? batch files? [GACK! just kidding aobut that one...hehehe.]

i'm just curious...i've been up to my neck in perl code lately & to hear it so heinously denounced peaked my interest.....

Re:Milleniophobia!!! (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455542)

Is it just me or is anybody else sick of all of the supersticious goo and various other scare mongering flying about just before all four digits in the Christian year flip?

I could easily be wrong, but I'm not sure there's any more silliness than usual. Maybe you're just noticing it more because you're expecting it, and The Millenium is an easy thing to pin it on?

[shrug] Or maybe you're right. But it's hard to know for sure.

Re:But What About... (1)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455543)

Gee, maybe he was just using the convention that the "light side" is the side tidally locked towards the earth and the "dark side" isn't.

Gee, maybe that's it. Considering even NASA has used that terminology. Hell one of my Astronomy Profs used it when I was in college.

I think you might want to cut down on the speed... err, coffee.

Re:Everyone's got it all wrong?! (1)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455544)

As for the Indians, I thought the US's Thanksgiving was last month.

It was, but we let them off the reservation for an entire month now.

Re:What about the tides? (3)

Spud Zeppelin (13403) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455545)

For those of you who don't know, Excite [excite.com] lets you add tide tables as part of their customization. This is what mine currently looks like:

Old Saybrook Point, Connecticut Tides
December 21
Low3:25PM -0.50
High9:27PM3.08
December 22
Low3:23AM -0.31
High9:49AM4.11
Low4:23PM -0.58
High10:28PM3.11


These don't appear to be all THAT unusual to me at all....





This is my opinion and my opinion only. Incidentally, IANAL.

Re:More signs of the apoc^H^H^H^H^H^H nevermind (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455546)

I used to be one of those people that said the true end of the millennium is next year, but that got too popular, so I now point out that the second millennium probably came to pass several years ago, due to errors made in adjusting the calendar. I believe that errors happenned somtime in the 12 or 1300's, but am not quite sure. Anyone have the full story?

Clearing up that absurd email (1)

Acrodizer (104246) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455547)

Yes, it will be brighter, but only 7% brighter than when the moon is FARTHEST AWAY! Which we hardly ever see anyway. Thus it will actuallu appear about 3-4% brighter. You think you could tell the difference?

Also it is noted that it will appear 14% "bigger", but they dont tell you bigger than what. It appear to have a suraface area 14% larger than if it were at the FARTHEST POINT AWAY from the earth. Still, this means an actually "growth" of maybe 7-8%

Doing the math in my head an thinking its correct, this translates to AT MOST a 5% increase in the width of the moon. Again, do you think you could tell?

It's like that psychology test where the subjects say that thier lemonade is "twice as sweet" only after 16x the amount of sweetener is added. Simply put, we wont be able to tell.

Re:Another article, better reporting than the Alma (1)

RabidMonkey (30447) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455548)

Yaaay for Canadian news sources :) I'm waving to the Star people right now .. excellent people all of them :)

Re:But What About... (2)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455549)

You are probably correct about the albedo being increased by the mirror (to an insignifigant amount). I doubt however it will be increased in our direction, but towards the sun.

The mirror that was left behind was a special kind made up of individual triangles that were attached at right angles to each other. Thus every 3 mirror triangles form a tri-right angle reflector. (If you have a bicycle, take a close look at the reflectors, you will see little pyrimids and valleys made of plastic, composed of triangles, this is the same thing.)

The remarkable thing about this is that the mirror when made in this way is that it always returns light to its point of origin, despite the angle that it hits the mirrors from. A laser was aimed at the moon, and the reflection could be detected. Hence the exact distance to the moon could be measured.

(Due to scattering of the photons, the laser while about 1mm in diameter on earth was about 1 Mile on the moon. Not important but neat nonetheless!)

Now, the albedo has probably gone up due to reflections from right where YOU are, but if the place that you happen to be is emitting no light (hightly unlikely, must be VERY cold eh? :) The moons albedo will not have increased.

Elf Bowling: Trojan or Time Waster? (2)

llywrch (9023) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455550)

It's a hoax. Look at

http://www.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/y2kga me.hoax.html

My guess is that someone noticed that the game tries to connect to the internet when the player wants to save the high score, & assumed the worst. I've played it enough times to seriously doubt that it's a trojan -- it's just a cheesy & fun little game.

You can also follow the thread in alt.comp.virus, too -- although last I looked it had degenerated into a flamewar.


Geoff

Re:End of days? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455551)

> The end times were prophesied ages ago, and I firmly believe that we are living in them. Firmly enough to send me a signed contract assigning your worldly belongs to me as of 1/1/2001? After all, if you're right, you won't be needing them... Let's see you put your money where your mouth is.

Re:You can't trust everything you read (1)

all4Tish (115541) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455552)

There was a really good (imho) fantasy book by terry goodkind, published by tor, called wizard's first rule , which covered this fairly well.

the titchler phrase described the wizard's first rule as something similar to (i can't remember exactly) "people are stupid. they will believe anything they are told, so long as they have a reason to believe it, or even simply no reason not to believe it, or even if they are afraid it might be true" or something along those lines

i'm sure someone else out there has read these, so if you have the time (i have to leave for work here in a sec), someone might want to look it up and post the actual phrase .... ta ta

Re:But What About... (1)

Myddrin (54596) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455553)

Oops. I guess a better way to put that would be
Instead of "tidally locked towards the earth."
put "faces the earth during most of the normal lunar cycle."

Thank you....

Re:But What About... (0)

Pennywise (92193) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455554)

Some small areas at the poles recieve no light, but when the moon is "dark" as seen from earth (no sense wasting technical terms here) the other side is illuminated by the sun you retard!!!!

By no stretch of the imagination am I an authority on this, but I'm not sure this makes sense. If the moon is "dark" as seen from the earth, then in order for the other side to be illuminated by the sun wouldn't the sun have to be on the other side, making it a Solar Eclipse?? Otherwise it would still be light out and the sun would be illuminating both the moon and the place I'm viewing it from ( it DOES happen ). I always thought that when you see a "cresent" moon it's due to the earth's shadow on it and when you get a new moon the earth's shadow completely obsures the moon.

Can anybody POLIETLY confirm/deny this?

Re:But What About... (1)

greenfly (40953) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455555)

Possibly they use "dark" as in unknown since until this century no one had seen that side. Kind of like they used to refer to the deep jungles of Africa as "Dark Africa". It is still sometimes referred to as the "Dark Continent", even though it receives it's fair share of sunlight.

Re:Humans? (2)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455556)

Humans are poor observers? Are you not human? You are Devo!

[grin] I am human, and as a result I'm generally a poor observer. But it helps a little that I'm aware of it. Most people are under the delusion that they're good observers, and so they don't have any clue how many mistakes they make.

(And don't even get me started about poor reading skills and lack of basic reasoning ability! Argh!)

Re:But What About... (1)

TheKodiak (79167) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455557)

I just want to say, "thanks," for actually using a more than marginally accurate stating of Occam's Razor. (And, for that matter, illustrating exactly how difficult it can be to determine what "necessary complexity" is - is a conspiracy of that nature more complex than a rocket? - especially when you are mistakenly applying Occam's Razor to human motivation.)

Explanation (5)

EricWright (16803) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455558)

It is a common misconception that the winter solstice is on the day that the Earth is at perihelion (closest approach to the Sun). Actually, even more common is the belief is that the winter solstice is the day that the Earth is *farthest* from the Sun, but that's another matter.

Anyway, "Perihelion Day" is actually sometime around the second or third of January (S&T's skygazer's almanac can tell you). This puts the Earth-Moon system closest to the Sun. The closer to a luminous object you are, the more of that object's light impacts your surface.

During a full moon, the moon is directly opposite of the Sun (from Earth's point of view). The day in which the bodies line up Sun-Earth-Moon (ie. full moon) on which the Moon subtends the largest solid angle of the Gaussian sphere centered on the Sun is on "Perihelion Day". Making the assumption that the Moon's albedo is constant (a pretty good one), this is the set of circumstances that will maximize the amount of reflected sunlight from the Lunar surface.

Thus, I believe the guys at Sky & Tel. After all, Discover is a general science/technology magazine. S&T specialize in this stuff.

Eric

Wow! A phase of the moon bug! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455559)

More hacker folklore. http://mail-abuse.org/rbl/ - kills spammers dead http://www.alladvantage.com/go.asp?refid=HLW498 - Get paid to surf

Re:But What About... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455560)

Couldn't help it... But is there really any "side" anyway?

Re:.. In Discover tho? (1)

klm20 (39056) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455561)

Discover? Yeah, there's a reliable source for ya...

And the National Enquirer told me that if you look real close you'll be able to see the face of Princess Di and JFK Jr's love child on the surface of the moon.

Sheesh...



--
I gave my boss a reality check. It bounced.

SCARLET LETTER POST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455562)

This is a Scarlet Letter Post. Please do not reply to this post anymore. This post is hereby ignored by all who care to ignore it.

Re:"American Indians": A Ludicrous Myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455563)

Get a clue - Columbus did not name the New World.

A quick trip to Encarta online [msn.com] verifies that:

In 1507 a German Cartographer named Martin Waldseemüller published a map of the world, a globe, and a treatise,
Introduction to Cosmography, which describes the voyages of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci. These works apply the name America to the newly explored lands for the first time.

Re:Wow! A phase of the moon bug! (1)

Eric Clark (562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455564)

You are confused on who the newbie is. Look at your user number, then look at mine.

Karma is one of the reasons I hate the 'new' slashdot. Now days I only check it when someone tells me there is something worth reading.

Sadly thats not very often.

Re:I'm so alone... (2)

bmetzler (12546) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455565)

I've got counter emails from people saying it it's a hoax, and I haven't heard anything from CERT, Norton or McAfee, so I am assuming it is safe.

It's a hoax. I got it too. Symantec has a write-up [symantec.com] on it.

-Brent

You're joking, right? (0)

stand (126023) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455566)

Darkness doesn't "soak in" to anything. If I turn out the light, it doesn't gradually get darker, it just gets dark. What changes in your eyes' adaptation to the dark.

Re:End of days? (1)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455567)

Hmmm... well, let's see... The universe, strangely enough, does seem to have an order to it, at least in the way celestial objects move.

Oh, and calendars are generally based on lunar happenings, celestial ocurrences, etc.

Why does this culmination surprise you? Why would even a coincidence surprise you?

Re:What about the tides? (1)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455568)

Well, I'd imagine that the marshes are going to be nice and flooded, and Great Hammock Rd's gonna have that huge puddle by the town beach. :]

Re:Wow! A phase of the moon bug! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455569)

Is that supposed to be rob@tucny.rr.com? I am not sure I got it right.

Still worked for me! :) (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455570)

I'm glad I didn't get this news any sooner! I talked my wife into letting me open my Christmas present, a Meade DS 114 EC [discovery.com] , early, so I'd have time to assemble and get used to using it, before the 22nd! So it wasn't all a loss! (Although she may make me pack it back up now :( )

Microsoft?! LOL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455571)


Do you have any idea what sort of Human Resources policies are maintained by the Microsoft Corporation? Gay-friendly, multicultural, pure Liberal garbage. Gates in his charitable donations tirelessly supports "progressive" (read: LIBERAL) causes. It was recently announced that Microsoft's dictionary will support different "versions" (read: illiterate nonstandard dialects) of the English language in different localities. Microsoft is one of the most aggressively and destructively liberal forces in our society today. They spend more to support the Homosexual Agenda than all the other Liberals combined.

It doesn't take much brains to see that your little "encyclopedia entry" is an Orwellian propagandistic whitewash. I, for one, am not fooled.


Re:"American Indians": A Ludicrous Myth (1)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455572)

Holy mother of God, what did you do to so totally lose your sense of humor?

syzgy xyzzy! (3)

M. Piedlourd (68092) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455573)

Not since 1866 have a full moon, the winter solstice, and lunar perigee been bunched so closely in time, within ten hours of each other. The Earth, the sun, and the moon will be in a straight line and the moon will be in perigee, circumstances that produce the highest tides.

The situation is called a perigean syzgy, and it has dramatically affected weather patterns in coastal areas in the past. Storms that reach the coast during these times of unusually high tides have been known to cause sizable storm surges.

But it'll still be pretty bright...

Whine and cheese (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455574)

1999-12-20 17:20:11 Big moon myth sweeps Internet (articles,news) (rejected)

I guess I am not good enough.

Re:Brightness is relative (1)

Eric Clark (562) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455575)

I've never heard the one about the Space Shuttle size, but I do believe its plausable that the distance between the rails in the US Standard Rail Gauge was dictacted by a Roman Chariot.

Re:But What About... (1)

Kinthelt (96845) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455576)

I think the best way to explain this would be to experiment.

Get a ping-pong ball and a flashlight. Find a nice dark room and turn on the flashlight. Now, put the ping-pong ball into the light. The flashlight would be the sun, the ping-pong ball would be the moon and your eyes would be the earth. Remember, the sun is much larger than the earth and the earth is much alrger than the moon. So the shadow cast by your head is going to be exaggerated a lot.

Now comes the eclipse part. The moon does not orbit in the same plane that the earth orbits in. It is a few degrees off. So, when the moon is at its farthest away from the sun in its orbit (a full moon), the distance between the sun and the moon != (distance between sun and earth) + (distance between earth and moon). Just think of the earth, sun and moon as three points in a very obtuse triangle.

You won't be laughing for long. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455577)


When the Federal Agents come to herd you and all your neighbors into a detention camp on New Years Day, you won't be laughing so hard any more.

I advise you to forget your "sense of humor" and prepare to defend your rights with lethal force. That is, if you are a man and not a mindless hermaphroditic scavenger of garbage.


"...That big fiery thing in the sky." (1)

Guppy (12314) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455578)

"That must be the Daystar [userfriendly.org] . I've heard talk about it." :)

Re:.. In Discover tho? (1)

RobinH (124750) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455579)

Actually, my university astronomy prof sent me the email. It's scary how quickly just about anybody will believe a rumour. I believed it - if you can't believe your astro prof when it comes to astronomy, who can you believe? :-)

Re:Milleniophobia!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455580)

I for one know hundreds of Christians, and not a one believes the crap you just accused them of believing.

Re:I'm so alone... no just isolated (1)

passion (84900) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455581)

you're on the wrong geek mailing lists is all. You don't hear about the latest-and-greatest things that either are ripped off of /. or will shortly appear there.

the lists that it sounds like you're on are the lists populated by people who probably aren't terribly computer literate, and so when they see some junk mail having to do with computers, they forward it on to you... their "computer" friend.

This tendency is much like the "Computers for Dummies" x-mas gift that was fronted on earlier.

Another Myth (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455582)

What about the other Millenium astronomy myth? Namely: on May 5th 2000 the planets will all line up and destroy the earth. Well guess what? It bogus as well. www.relativedata.com has a nice shareware planetarium software that I like. You can see this alleged "lining up" and it's nowhere near a straight line. I think Sky & Telescope debunked this pretty well by showing that there have been half a dozen times in the last couple of centuries that we've had a tighter line up and we will on 5/5/2000 Remember about a year ago when the news was reporting that all the visible planets were "lining up" in the sky for a once in a lifetime event? Think about that folks: If they all orbit in essentially the same plane then they're ALWAYS in a straight line arn't they? The real story was that the planets were in the same part of the sky at the same time such that right after sunset you could see Mercury, Venus, Earth (look straight down for that one), Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. But then again, I'm too old to expect accuracy from the media. Rant off.

Re:What about the tides? (1)

Curious George (2256) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455583)

Well, they are unusual to the point that the low tides are negative, meaning below the datum.

Tides are based on the lowest point the water normally gets to. Which means that normally low tides will never go in the negative range.

Of course, this being an equinox means that the range of tides will be larger than usual anyway so it's not all due to the fact that the moon is closest it's been in a while.

YOU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455584)

STUPID SPAMMER

Re:SCARLET LETTER POST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455585)

Huh? I don't get it?

Re:What about the tides? (1)

The Cheez-Czar (4124) | more than 14 years ago | (#1455586)

This is my opinion and my opinion only. Incidentally, IANAL.

shouldn't this be IANAA? or IANAO?
who studies tides anyway? Astronomers ? Oceanographers? Really Bored People?

HAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455587)

HAHAHhehe.. I was a big space 1999 fan myself! good one

Re:SCARLET LETTER POST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#1455589)

I think this was in reference to the OPEN SOURCE MOON post . . . I think.
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