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#1 Charlie Hein

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:33 AM

Spending Time with Dogs

By Drew Farwell

#2 Ed D

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 07:07 PM

I really enjoyed reading the article. It contained lots of interesting information. I only sort-of disagree with one statement, the need for a large (12" or larger) scope to split Sirius A & B. There are plenty of accounts in these forums about splitting Sirius with small scopes, myself included. However, I said sort-of disagree because with a small scope it is very hard to do and extremely dependent on the right conditions and location. A larger scope would surely yield better, more consistent results.

Drew, thank you for writing and posting your article. It's a very enjoyable and informative read. :waytogo:

Ed D

#3 David Knisely

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 10:30 PM

I would disagree as well for that and another reason. The article states:

For professional astronomers, observation of Sirius has also been beneficial. Beyond its beauty and history, it serves a very useful purpose in modern astronomy. Because it is a binary star system, its luminosity drops in intensity when one eclipses the other (from our vantage point here on Earth). The luminosity of the star does not drop as significantly during an occult of Sirius B as it does when the secondary star transits across the face of the larger Sirius A. By measuring the fundamental parameters of the binary star during an eclipse, we have been able to calculate the mass of both Sirius A and B (as well as the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Small Magellanic Cloud, the Andromeda Galaxy and the Triangulum Galaxy).

While we can get a lot of information about stars from studies of eclipsing binaries, Sirius A and B do *not* eclipse each other as is implied in the article. Sirius B's orbital plane is inclined by about 41.5 degrees to our line of sight and while Sirius B can get quite close to Sirius A (as close as about 2.5 arc seconds or so as seen from Earth), the two do not eclipse each other. While in years past, large apertures were required to split them, right now, their separation is around 9.8 arc seconds. Thus, the B component is getting somewhat easier to see in six to eight inch apertures (and maybe in a good four inch). Clear skies to you.

#4 Epicurus Rex

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:42 AM

David is correct that Sirus A and B do not eclipse one another from our vantage point here on Earth. I mistakenly included that information based on research I had done on binary stars in general, not specifically Sirius A & B. Great catch David!

In regards to the size of telescope required to split the stars, the number is quite subjective. Eight inches, six inches, maybe four. It is true they are currently moving away from each other and that it will become easier to separate them as they move farther apart. However, in 2019 they will reach apoapsis and begin to move towards one another yet again, eventually rendering the smaller scope useless for the task of splitting this binary. A 12" scope should always be able to separate the two stars regardless of their position in relationship to one another, and that was the determining factor in my size recommendation.

#5 LivingNDixie

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:24 PM

I thought it was an interesting article that could have benefited from giving what sources were used. There is a word for using information in research and not giving sources... plagiarism. I have seen articles on here with links imbedded in the text. Not sure if the author didn't know how to do it, but the admins of the site should have caught it before publishing.

Sorry if I sound mean. Just my thoughts.

#6 Epicurus Rex

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:49 PM

With all due respect it was a definition essay, not a research paper. It is very common to omit a works cited list and peer review. If however you're volunteering to offer peer review and editing services it's an offer I'd gladly accept.

#7 LivingNDixie

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 04:11 PM

The image used in the article is a HST image. How hard would be to give a credit to it? If that image were in the forums as a post a credit would be expected or it would be removed. A simple sentence listing of further readings and sources used would all that would need to be done.

I have given enough of my time back to CN considering I was one of the volunteer moderators on here for more years then I can count. But I also know that the mods/admins ( well more the admins) can do better then posting an article that is without sources and an image violation were it posted in the forums.

#8 Epicurus Rex

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:53 PM

You are correct that the image was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. Credit should have been give for that, that was an oversight on my part (it was added as an afterthought and is located in the middle of a quotation where credit IS being given to Homer for the use of passage from the Illiad). Please do note that if you view the image info, the path to the image was left intact: http://upload.wikime..._Hubble_phot... - this was not an attempt to take credit for an image that is clearly beyond the capability of my equipment, simply an oversight. Again though, credit should have been given and I take full responsibility for that error.

As for the list of further readings and sources used, that is a great idea that I will try to implement in the future, but it is merely a preference given the nature of the piece. Again, this is not a peer reviewed scientific document, it is merely an essay on an object in the night sky I find fascinating (though I do try to fortify my understanding of a subject with independent research).

Now, to address the charge of plagiarism. I go to great pains to make sure the content I provide is original. I even use two online plagiarism checkers:

http://www.dustball....giarism.checker

http://smallseotools...giarism-checker

to ensure I have not included any content without proper citation. Please copy and paste my article into these (or any other) checkers to verify its originality. I hope this ends any debate about the originality of the writing.

Lastly, thank you for taking the time to address your concerns with the article. I am an amateur writer with limited time and resources who will only improve with quality feedback. That you care enough to comment at all means the world to me, and I hope that you will find your criticisms are taken to heart and my submissions improve because of you. Admittedly, I have a very long way to go yet, but I'm thankful that I have had the opportunity to share this passion with you.

Thanks again,
Drew

#9 LivingNDixie

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:05 PM

Drew,
I never once thought you had cut and pasted anything. What actually got me looking at the lack of sources was that I found the topic of Sirius in ancient history interesting. When something is interesting I like to look at things more depth and that is what sources or further reading notes are good for. As for the image, well that should have been caught by an admin before posting your article. I don't fault you for that. PLease keep posting to CN, your passion for Astronomy comes through.

#10 cpsTN

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 08:16 AM

Can't you leave people alone! I can understand a moderator bringing up these issues, and I would say they would be more professional about it. A lot of the information I have about things I know I have known for so long that I couldn't tell you where I got the information because I have read it and reread a million times. I can't say this is the situation Drew is in, but either read an article or not. If a moderator had had these concerns, they would have - I would think - had contacted Drew about them before they let it appear on the site. I know we all want useful AND accurate information on this site, but its not like Drew is the only one to ever say something wrong or forget something.

#11 Jmax

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 09:32 AM

Well, as a College Librarian, I have to agree with Preston about the importance of proper citation and crediting of sources. Also, this wasn't just another post but was an article that appears on the front page of Cloudy Nights. Search spiders will locate it and bring it back, and if students should want to use it in their papers, it needs to give accurate bibliographic information.

#12 LivingNDixie

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 05:26 PM

Well... it appears that my belief in the admins on addressing the concerns of sourcing in this article were too high. I will make a mental note of lowering them. Too bad too since I know y'all are better then this.

#13 David Knisely

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 04:08 AM

Well... it appears that my belief in the admins on addressing the concerns of sourcing in this article were too high. I will make a mental note of lowering them. Too bad too since I know y'all are better then this.


I do not find much that was excessively wrong about the article other than the item I mentioned concerning the facts about the Sirius system not being an eclipsing binary. In any case, I recommend that those who feel that a better job could be done should go ahead and post an article (or two) of their own to show how it can be done. Demonstration is a good way of teaching technique, especially when it comes to writing. Clear skies to you.

#14 LivingNDixie

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 09:41 AM

David,
My problem with the article was that it couldn't follow the same basic rules of a forum post. I actually did hear back from an admin, and after apparently much discussion (really?) off the boards, they have decided that articles shouldn't have to follow any sort of listing of sources or giving image credits. I think it sad for the website who holds itself up to being better then the rest of the Internet that they would be so lazy when it comes to this. The reason for this is that they don't want people to be intimidated in submitting articles.

Anyway, I am done with this now.

#15 David Knisely

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 05:45 PM

David,
My problem with the article was that it couldn't follow the same basic rules of a forum post. I actually did hear back from an admin, and after apparently much discussion (really?) off the boards, they have decided that articles shouldn't have to follow any sort of listing of sources or giving image credits. I think it sad for the website who holds itself up to being better then the rest of the Internet that they would be so lazy when it comes to this. The reason for this is that they don't want people to be intimidated in submitting articles.

Anyway, I am done with this now.


I am not all that certain that many "rules" were violated. I can write a very long and detailed article and yet cite no other sources but myself. Why? Because the "source" is me and the basic knowledge I have accumulated over the years. Although many of us who submit to Cloudynights try and keep our standards high, this not a refereed journal or other formal scientific source, but a simple web page for amateur astronomers. This article wasn't exactly outstanding, but it is better than a lot of the trash I have seen elsewhere from people who really should know better. Other than not checking the facts on the orbit of Sirius B, the only "formal" mistake the author of this post made was not citing the source for the HST image of Sirius, and that was pretty minor compared to the fact about Sirius not being an eclipsing binary. Indeed most of us could take one glance at the Sirius image in the article and know precisely where it came from. Most of the HST images that are published on the web are public domain anyway, so really, is this so terrible a mistake? I have to agree with the moderators that Cloudynights needs more articles. Hopefully, the author will get a little positive reinforcement from his submission, even if he did make a couple of mistakes doing it (and he did acknowledge those mistakes). Clear skies to you.

#16 David Castillo

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 08:12 PM

Sorry for not noticing the flaws in the article. You might say I was too busy stepping over dimes to pick up dollars. I am grateful for Drew's submission and hope NASA didn't take offense at his not crediting them for their image- I feel that my take on the article is this : :waytogo:
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