Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Media Ignorance at its Ugliest!

[NOTE: Following is an updated edited version of my original post. The original post about this incident was written in my typical venomous no-holds-barred antagonistic tactless verbiage. Since then, I have gained a scientific respect for Erica Martin and am quite confident this was an inadvertent mistake that we all make from time to time.]

Well, now. The above image is a smartphone picture taken from my own living room TV while I was choking on a hunk of Birthday pizza 09/10/2012. I thought I heard wrong; a simple slip of the tongue, so to speak... But, NOOO!!!! Erika Martin, Meteorologist for Ch8 WTNH in CT, read this graphic.

It is wrong on so many levels, I can't begin to get my panties unbunched.

So, what's wrong with the info? Let's take a cursory look

1. The name, 2012 QG42, is correct.
2. 800 Miles wide? OMG! LOL! WTH! And other choice TLAs! Where the Hell did this thing come from? The largest asteroid in our entire solar system is Ceres at a meager 950 km (590 miles) wide.
FACT: 2012 QG42 is estimated at 800 FEET across! She is off by a factor of 5,280! Could be a graphics error.

The above image, compliments Wiki, shows, left to right, Vesta, Ceres, and our moon.

3. It is coming to within "1.8x10^-5 Miles"!! Like I said earlier; OMG, LOL, WTH! Quick conversions from scientific notation, moving the decimal point 5 places to the left gets us 0.000018 miles! That's 0.09 feet! 1.1 INCHES!!! THIS 800 MILE WIDE HUNK OF ROCK IS COMING WITHIN 1 INCH OF THE EARTH! WE"RE ALL DEAD! Run, Flee!
FACT: Closest approach is 1.8 MILLION Miles. Off by a magnitude of 11. You can't tell me that an ABC affiliate can't afford a text function that does superscripts! That number should read: 1.8 x 106 miles.

4. Telescope needed. Yeah, right... According to Sky and Telescope Magazine's Tony Flanders, "Locating this asteroid won’t be easy; it requires excellent chart-reading skills and planetarium software capable of showing stars down to magnitude 14.5."
FACT: I have a 10" Orion Dobsonian. I'd never be able to see it with my meager object-finding skills. WTNH, however, stated that, "Backyard astronomers will be able to see it whiz by Thursday night." "Whiz by"? Hardly. According to Tony Flanders, it is moving one arcsecond per clock second. Only trained folks watching it for extended lengths of time will see it move...


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