Misleading meteor photo

14/08/2010

Pick of the pics

Misleading use of a meteor photo

British newspapers today print a Reuters photo of Stonehenge that includes a single meteor from Thursday night’s Perseid shower. Some papers convey the impression that every streak in the photo is a meteor, when in fact all bar one near-vertical streak are just stars inching across the sky as the Earth turns during a long exposure of the camera.

As the photo is copyrighted I’ll not post it here, but you can see a typical offender at http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-world/2010/08/14/stone-me-what-a-weird-shower-115875-22486527/

The Guardian has it correctly captioned at http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2010/aug/13/perseid-meteor-shower#/?picture=365714247&index=5

A big meteor shower is well worth watching, and it’s nice to know you’re flying through the dust trail of a comet – Comet Swift-Tuttle in the case of the Perseids. The best I saw was from a small boat at sea — again the Perseids, which come conveniently in the summer sailing season. But you’re lucky if you spot one or two shooting stars every few minutes. Journalistic hyperbole can leave non-astronomers feeling disappointed.


Monsoon 2010

01/08/2010

Climate change: News and Comments

Floods in Pakistan, Relief in India

Harrowing news of lives lost in unusual monsoon floods in NW Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, doesn’t mean that this year’s rains have been exceptional across the subcontinent. On the contrary, the Indians were worried by a shortfall in early July.Their rains have now perked up.

Strong La Niña conditions (the opposite of El Niño) now showing in the Pacific are historically favourable for the Asian monsoon, and the India Meteorological Department seems to be sticking to an earlier forecast that this season’s total rains will be close to normal. See this Reuters interview with D. Sivananda Pai, director of the National Climate Center in Pune. http://in.reuters.com/article/idINSGE66K0IL20100721?loomia_ow=t0:s0:a54:g12:r3:c0.638402:b36099434:z3

For earlier posts here about the Asian monsoons, see https://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/monsoons-and-the-sun/ and https://calderup.wordpress.com/2010/05/05/maps-of-monsoon-history/