Astronomers constantly engage in false advertising.

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Astronomers constantly engage in false advertising.

Unread postby Michael Mozina » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:27 pm

The lack of any real explanation for dark energy and dark matter seems to have spawned a whole new cottage industry in astronomy today, which includes a whole host of creative false advertising techniques, gimmicks and deceptive naming conventions.

Keep in mind that the whole point of using term 'dark' energy and 'dark' matter to describe these entities was to denote the fact that neither dark energy or dark matter emit light, or interact directly with light.

A few years ago however we learned about "DECam", the new 'dark energy camera".

Of course it's utterly irrational and self-conflicted to call any camera a "dark energy camera", since cameras by definition and design only observe photons, whereas dark energy and dark matter do not emit photons or even directly interact with photons. What the hell does "dark energy" have to do with any camera?

Today we are hearing astronomers talking about a "Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI)". ... r-old.html

That too is a completely irrational and misleading name for a spectroscopic instrument since again, "dark" stuff neither emits light, or directly interacts with it. Dark energy isn't directly observed by a camera, nor is it observed in a spectroscopic instrument. The only purpose of adding in the term "dark energy' to either a camera or a spectroscopic piece of equipment is to create a misleading public perception.

In both cases, adding the term "dark energy" is nothing more than a misleading advertising ploy to attempt to "market" dark energy to the masses simply by virtue of the name itself.

Here's my favorite quote from the last article:

"This project is all about generating huge quantities of data," Levi said. "The data will go directly from the telescope to NERSC for processing. We will create hundreds of universes in these computers and see which universe best fits our data."

And for all they know the universe that might best fit their data could include no dark energy at all. :)
Michael Mozina
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