Real science On this date in 1609 Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to the Venetian Senate in Padua…..The telescope he presented to the senate could magnify images to eight times the naked eye and by the fall he was looking at celestial bodies through a 20-power telescope. By the following January he had discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter…. vs fake science: On this date in 1835, the New York Sun ran the first of six articles claiming there was civilization on the Moon. Known as "The Great Moon Hoax," the articles were said to have been reprinted from the Edinburgh Journal of Science, and their author, Dr. Andrew Grant, claimed to be a colleague of Sir John Herschel, the most famous astronomer of the day. Grant reported that Herschel — who was setting up a powerful new telescope in Cape Town, South Africa — had witnessed fantastic creatures like unicorns, two-legged beavers, and bat-human hybrids; he also reported huge caves full of amethysts, jewel-encrusted temples, and lush jungle vegetation. The articles were intended to be a satire of speculation on extraterrestrial life but people believed they were true and the increase in the "penny press" paper's circulation that resulted was a welcome side benefit. A team of Yale scientists even traveled to New York to track down the original Edinburgh Journal articles; unfortunately for them the Journal had ceased publication several years earlier. When the New York Sun admitted that the articles had been a hoax the public greeted the news with good humor and sales of the paper remained vigorous. Kinda like today?!

Posted by Mark at 2021-08-25 13:23:24 UTC