LETTER Context NASA! | Italians


Dear Beppe,

and here we go again, with journalists who write (maluccio) on topics they obviously don’t understand an accident, better if it is science.

This article is out:

“The hunter of the green ray:« My photos on the NASA website »(https://bit.ly/2Y8zMj7).

Apart from how it is written it seems that the good photographer has been on the Moon (and Venus, and Mercury!) For her shots, but for the record and without fear of denial, since I have been taking astronomical photos for 40 years, I reveal two big mistakes.

1) The images of Venus and Mercury show absolutely no green ray, but “simple” differential refraction. I challenge anyone to prove otherwise. In astronomical literature the (very rare) observations of the green ray of Venus are totally different. One is here: https://earthsky.org/todays-image/venus-green-flash. I have not found Mercury.

2) Any amateur astronomer with any decent telescope or telephoto lens has taken the solar green ray and many also the lunar one. All you need is a free horizon (typically the sea) and a little method and luck.

Technically the photo is not an elementary, but certainly not difficult. A few tries and a little luck and you take it home.

I know very well that the topic is fantastically marginal, but if the quality information, which is rightly paid, writes with the same “accuracy” of politics, energy or health, then how much is it worth?

Furthermore, as usual, sources and errata are not received.

Can I give a modest suggestion? At the bottom of the articles, links to sources, when available on the web. And a nice column of errata. So yes that newspapers like Corriere would recover a central and (rightly) valuable role in information.

Otherwise there is a free road to the noVax, Sibilia or Pappalardo on duty, and then let’s not complain if people believe they have mercury in their veins.


Luigi Fontana, [email protected]

Answers Paolo Virtuani (one of the founding fathers of ITALIANS and part of Letizia Virtuale!):

“A few attempts and a little luck”? It may be, but you have to have the constancy to do it. Isn’t it the green ray? Explain it to NASA who speaks of “green flashes: Sun, Moon, Venus, Mercury” on his website.

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