Some unrelated minor notes
Preface: Some of the books or internet pages to which I refer on these notes are so embarrasing that I don't dare to give you links or mention the sources. Apologies!
Physics understanding I: You find the following not on one internet page, no, there are lots and not on pages of layman, no, on pages by people who get paid for doing planet research. More and more simulation programs like the one downloadable from this site are offered. Some try to use opengl or directx for this task (and some even try to show you some nice pictures of planets). Do these people really don't know what opengl (or directx) do internally? Although they are highly optimized, their main task is to show you some (faked) projections. And even if you omit any textures: opengl is a general purpose library and as such there are thousands of lines of code which don't disapear if you don't use the features they provide!
But even if these simulations use plain code: some complain that you get chaotic movements of the planets after some ten- thousands of years (in simulation) despite they chose such small simulation steps as days for their calculations! And take this as prove for chaos theory! In year 2010! You don't trust your eyes if you read such statements. I was aware in 1990 when computers were much slower than today that with hourly computations (in simulation) you were lucky if the simulation was stable over thousand years and that if I wanted more I had to change the time scale to minutes/calculation or even seconds/calculation! And today it is no problem if you know how to program to go to milliseconds and below.
Till today it seems most people don't realize the precission needed to calculate (even simple) astronomical facts. Besides the enormeous distances you most often have to calculate over very long periods of time. This sums up tiniest errors to no more neglectable really big errors. Perhaps I'll upload soon an example calculation. In the meantime, you may read this. If you want to test it by yourself, you can use a math package with selectable precission and run the same simulation with increasing accuracy.
And then there are offerings (of universities) of 2-D simulations of our solar system in 2010! Do they realy think to get valid results by such a program?
And offerings of downloadable programs in 2010 which are not able to produce graphical output. One of these programs is widely used in astronomy. You have to use 'standard' numerical to graphical converter programs. No comment.
Physics understanding II: On many (professional, not amateur- ) astronomy pages you can read sentences as: "Even today you can see the formation of solar systems out of an initial disk of dust". In some million parsec distances! You don't trust your eyes if you read such sentences. Someone should explain these people how telescopes work.
Physics understanding III: in a book of a very well known planet researcher you can read the half-sentence: "...since a star is not able to capture a planet"..... Written in the 80ths of last century. No comment.
Physics understanding IV: SETI (this was readable on different sites of mine (e.g.. icmasterdata.com) starting in 2000 and you can hear the echoes till today in the net)
A simple calculation: earth is by now by all we know 5 billion years old - roughly spoken. Mankind is by all we know 4 million years - approximately - on this earth, mankind appeared in the so said 'last second' of earths history. Now in this last second mankind learned just 100 years ago how to send out radio waves. Today - only 100 hundred years later - we are already converting from analog radio waves to digital transmission. Already today there are new technologies as Dsl which allow a much better use of the bandwith and soon we will learn how to use this medium even better, by using the bandwidth even better etc.... All of these transmission techniques resemble much more stochastic noise than intelligent content if you don't know how they are coded. No computer in the world can distinguish this from noise if there is no knowledge of the actual coding. Not to speak of ternary coding, coding techniques we even don't know about.... And do you really believe that those other beings are that silly as we are to electro-pollute their environment?
Physics understanding V: to be continued.....
While the smallest error on my pages is largely discussed* in the internet and taken as proove for the doubiosity of these pages, well introduced astronomical pages have blunders or even false facts on their sites and don't care one bit about it. That even pictures can lie is not a new fact, but that they are used on popular semi-scientific pages close to disinformation is surely new. If you're looking at the starting page of the exoplanets pages of 'The Planetary Society' you will see two animations in which the right one shell demonstrate our home planetary system. Part of the explanation above the animations is the bracketed sentence: "(Jupiter through Neptune; the inner planets would be too hard to see on the same scale)", which shell sugest nothing else than that this picture is true scale. Sure - only someone absolutely naiv to astronomy will really believe that our sun is that massive that it fills space up to Jupiter. But to show such an animation on an introductory page to the exoplanet findings of the last years is either disinformation or simply absolute ignorance. Disinformation because it tries to hide with such a massive sun the central fact of the exoplanet discoveries: the wobbling central star. Ignorance because this only shows that 'The Planetary Society' has till today not understood that it is the absolutely minimal movement of the sun which has considered the enormous mass of our sun such enormous consequences. It is just this fact that physics has ignored for the last 4 centuries. This animation is just plain middle ages. And there is no excuse that this can't be done better. And it is exactly such (no more..) fine facts which discriminate science from alchemy.
* Yes, there were some errors, this is inevitable if you're building up such a site in such a short time. And every time I wanted to ease the work of building up this site and copied some well known standard facts from standard physics sites I noted shortly after a severe error on the copied text and had to remove it again. So I hope that I proudly can tell now that all remaining errors are productions of my own.
And I hope you understand that after 20 years of ignorance by the astronomers comunity I address these days my pages to the broad public (and do not cite from scientific pages but from newspapers, so that everyone can understand the new facts..).