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bobdeloyd in astronomy

ABC science fiction mini-series "Impact"

I started to watch “Impact” on ABC, but after the first five minutes of the show I was convinced that they had Paris Hilton and her little dog as science advisors. The show opened up with folks watching a meteor shower with telescopes! I do take my telescope out when I watch showers but that’s to look at stars or other celestial objects but not meteor showers; a few times by accident I did have a meteor zip past my telescope lens. Then the Moon gets hit by a brown dwarf! Chunks of the dwarf fall to earth in solid form and a scientist tries to pick it up! Brown dwarfs are between one and eighty Jupiter masses whose small mass failed to ignite and burn hydrogen by way of fusion reaction. Also we would detect something so massive coming our way because it would most likely affect the orbits of the planets. I threw up my arms in disgust, turned off the TV, grabbed my binoculars and went outside to gaze at the night sky. While I was doing my sky gazing I listened to Astronomy Cast - Questions: An Unlocked Moon, Energy Into Black Holes, and the Space Station’s Orbit, which made for a wonderful night of observing.


The media never gets it right, almost.
They should have warnings before the show like ratings G PG PG-13 R NC-17! Add a new one called BS for Bad Science!
Oh you missed the best bit! The worst trashing of the distance squared law in a movie, hey, that sounds like an Oscar category! I can just see it now, "For the worst violation of F=MA in an action film, Robert Downey Jr. in Ironman for surviving a complete stop from terminal velocity in a fraction of a second. Yay!" Yah, the brown dwarf's gravity or magnetism or whatever they're gonna call it lightly wafting objects off of the surface of the earth. No dirt or water or anything mind you, just people sitting in cafes and riding bicycles (ET anyone?)
??? sounds like quite a weird movie :P
Actually it's a great movie just because it totally dispelled the Jeff Goldblum science geek stereotype. As an old first-gen wheelchair punk you can imagine how I freaked at the scene where he's in his workshop listening to SUICIDAL TENDENCIES first album!!! Oh, heh, I'm talking about Ironman and you're probably talking about the other movie. Oh well, and yah, "Impact", quite the big ball of stupid.
I only watched the first 25 minutes or so. I'm glad I turned it off when I did!
Your post made me LOL
A brown dwarf "hits" the moon? More like swallow. If one came close enough to do that, we'd either be pulverized by the tidal forces or thrown out of the solar system. Nonsense!
Have you seen Phil Plait (Bad Astronomer)'s take on it?


It sounds to me like someone took the worst parts of Armageddon, and the worst parts of Deep Impact, made them worse, stretched them into a series length, and then made them worse again.
Saw the preview last night and was wondering whether I should give it a try.. now I have my answer.

Thanks for saving me from wasting my time. LOL
Well that's TV sci-fi for you.
Yes, the science in that show was atrocious.

I found the Al Gore comment needlessly political.
It wasn't meant to be political: it was a toss up between George Bush, Paris Hilton, and Al Gore. I like Al, and haven't heard from him lately so I gave him the honor.
I wasn't thinking political when I wrote this but maybe Paris Hilton and her little dog would have been the better choice!
I changed it to "Paris Hilton and her little dog".
Now I await the Hilton fans!
Right gentlemanly of you sir. My hat's off to you.

It isn't that I think Gore's beyond reproach - just that this bunch is normally pretty politics-free, and I like it that way.
Me too!
Then the Moon gets hit by a brown dwarf! Chunks of the dwarf fall to earth in solid form and a scientist tries to pick it up!

I had to stop. I just... really.
I ... have ... no ... words.

Jeebus. A brownie would be, you know, BIGGER THAN JUPITER. I ... head asplodey.

I am so glad I never turn my TV on (unless Katee Sackhoff is in something...)
As a member of the media, I just have to laugh at stuff like this -- I think my routine suspension of belief going into a film kicks in and glosses over most of it.

In about 3 years of concentrated observation (I worked at a museum running their scopes and spent most of the time doing my own thing), I saw one telescopic meteor. I'm not sure what the odds/probabilities are, but they'd seem lottery-like to me.
Well, no one seems to mind being able to see lasers or hear sounds in space. Aside from the science, it looks like generic television as usual i.e. sickly sentimentality, sp/fx ohhs and ahhhs, somebody somewhere thinking themselves clever with the "one world group hug" message and lots of commercials. Even if the science was impeccable, I wouldn't watch.
Haven't seen the show (saw a passing commercial on TV and my antenna went up) but now I'm especially going to stay out of the way of watching any of it. Thanks for the bad review, it's a nice warning for us who want to spare ourselves the bleeding eyes!

What really gets me though is that script writers have the possibility for some really interesting phenomena and scenarios if they'd only use real science as the basis! You want something to crash into the moon? Okay, it doesn't have to be a brown dwarf, it could just as easily have been a KBO, comet, asteroid, a rogue planet zipping through the solar system no longer bound to its own sun, or hell, they just ran computer simulations that showed that Mercury or Venus could slam into the Earth if either of their orbits were disturbed (on the order of billions of years, but like that's ever stopped popular media!), and wouldn't being slammed by one of our own neighbors be even cooler??

Just because it sounds neat doesn't mean it'll make sense, sheesh.
After reading these posts I felt that I missed a good laugh only having watched the first 20 minutes of last week show. I decided to watch the show tonight to see if it was still as stupid as I thought it was. Folks replied to this post of the show telling me that it had gotten even worse. People were being pulled off the streets and from outside cafes’ and lifted into the air, yikes! So I forced myself to watch this second part tonight and all I can say is that the science stunk so bad it made me laugh and cringe at the same time! Thank God that it was shown at a late hour that young impressionable minds were saved from its bad science. Enough said.
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Thanks :)

August 2015

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