Talk:1644: Stargazing

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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?.. is this Brian Cox??? 06:07, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

Yes I think it is --Kynde (talk) 14:00, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

My first thought was that it was a pisstake of Brian Cox, except I wasn't sure if they had Stargazing Live in America. 08:33, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

Brian Cox seems like a nice guy and I applaud his enthusiasm, but if you want to see a truly awesome science broadcaster look for a set of broadcasts from the 70s/80s by James Burke titled "The Day the Universe Changed", Mr. Cox's programmes seem to be as much about how many airmiles the production team can accumulate as they are about the science. 09:10, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
The airmiles comment above applies to Cox's "Wonders Of The Universe" series, certainly, but my first thought was either that Randall knew of the BBC's semi-regular programme-cluster "Stargazing Live", here in the UK, that Cox co-presents - perhaps via BBC America? - or else there's an equivalent US version (precursor or postcursor) of the same name that perhaps has a celebrity-based core team.
(Brian's primary co-host in the programme is an Irish comedian, but one with a accredited science background who knows what they're talking about. They also have 'guest celebrities' for internal and external segments (from just outside the studio, under the night sky, to a pieces filmed/livecast at some space-relevant location, usually featured across all episodes of that season as a theme so not so much 'gratuitous globe-trotting) but they are all interested in space-stuff, and many also have an actual background expertise in physics/astronomy even if that's not what they're publicly known for.)
Quickly looking around, I can't see any obvious astronomy programmes(/programs!) in the US that aren't similarly expert-led, but that's possibly because any that are don't feature as 'proper' programmes on any of the lists I've checked. 14:25, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
The title text does imply it is in reference to Brian Cox. He is well known for his very philosophical comments referencing physics in that way. 20:05, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
Hmmm... intentional reference to The Infinite Monkey Cage, with infinite choices of branches, then? 12:46, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
After the transcript came out two comics later (as now explained in the new trivia section) it is clear that it is not Megan but a male TV host, and thus he almost certainly represents Brian Cox who looks like this (his hair would look just like Megan's in xkcd) and this fits with his way of explaining things. I have changed the entire explanation from Megan and her she, to the host and him he etc. May have overlooked some parts. (Note that Megan is still in the comic in the background of panel 2). Also the fact that there where new episodes of Stargazing Live last month supports this. --Kynde (talk) 14:00, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

I also thought this might be poking fun at the "Celebrity" presenters of TV astronomy programs. 13:16, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

I believe the title text may be referring to the fact that several people think that the sun is the brightest star simply because it's the closest to us, completely disregarding absolute magnitude? I'd change the explanation if I knew how. -- 06:39, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

The original statement in the comic is about which star is the brightest *in our sky*, i.e. most visible radiation per square meter hitting Earth, not the star with the most total radiation. You can change the explanation just by hitting the little edit button to the top right of the "Explanation" section. 06:57, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

I still don't get the main comic, unless its just situational comedy of someone acting like they know what they are talking about, when really they don't even know the meaning of the word "astronomer". 07:01, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

I put my best understanding of the comic in the explanation - I'm not sure I really get it, but I figured it was better than nothing. 07:14, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

This is exactly how I feel about looking at stars and hard core astronomy. I look for the brightest stars, and would like to know something about them, but just the basic facts. I have had a course on astronomy and it was boring to do the math for star formation and cosmology. I learnt that way that I was only interested in the results and conclusions, not in trying to calculate it my self, or counting all the other smaller stars to gain the data needed. I really like Megan here ;-) Space is awesome, astronomy is boring :-) --Kynde (talk) 09:08, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

I am pretty sure the last line in the first panel used to read "I'm doctor of whatever", but now it's clearly "... doctor or whatever". Has Randall changed the comic? -- 13:06, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

I wrote the original transcript based on the comic on this site. This has since been corrected to or, which makes sense. But the image file for the comic has not been changed here on xkcd, so had it not been for your comment here, I would just have put it down to a typo on my behalf. I still think so, as I believed she said or whatever when I wrote about it in the explanation. But the "or" can look a little as "of". It is, however, not unheard of that Randall changes a comic if he spots a mistake after the first release. This has happened several times. --Kynde (talk) 14:50, 17 February 2016 (UTC)
He actually changed the comic, but it was in the third panel with "That's" to "This is Andromeda". This was noted by another user (below this comment which was posted later). I have noted the change in the trivia section. --Kynde (talk) 14:00, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

From now on I plan to present Sirius as the brightest star that can be seen at night, just to take the wind out of the jokers sails... Andyd273 (talk) 14:34, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

I wonder if the style of speaking is a reference to Donald Trump. 19:31, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

She'd reminding me an awful lot of Beret Guy here, kind of scattered and . Is it just me? -boB (talk) 20:42, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

It's not just you... and from that point of view the title text doesn't read like sarcasm to me. Perhaps more a reference to choosing branches of science to explore? Then again, at least one person thought it was sarcastic, and I don't feel strongly enough to change the explanation over it. 01:35, 18 February 2016 (UTC)
I'm sure it is sarcasm. I wrote it and deleted the first time someone wrote it was not. But at the moment it is back again. It is definitely Randall who thinks it would be a stupid joke. I will not delete it again, but will leave it to others to delete if they agree that this is a clear case of sarcasm, not a way of applauding someone for a brilliant joke! ;-) --Kynde (talk) 14:00, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

Not true there is nothing in interstellar space. Dust, vacuum, photons, even heat energy. 08:02, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

Could the final "Space!" be a reference to the ending of Portal 2? Condor70 (talk) 11:02, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

Maybe the title text is referring to that one multiverse theory where every possible outcome creates it's own timeline? i'm spacing out on it's name right now, but i think it's been mentioned a few times in previous comics.--Flamewolf (talk) 19:44, 18 February 2016 (UTC)

I have tried to make some explanation of the title text. Maybe someone can improve with a better explanation? --Kynde (talk) 14:00, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

Regarding the Incomplete reasoning: "There may be another joke here. What about the branches in the title text. Is there some well known reference to such a tree. Sound like something with parallel universes and infinite possibilities?"... I must disagree, there's no other joke here. The word "branch" here isn't referring to any tree, but rather the ongoing logical possibilities of a conversation. If you take a video game where you can chose what you say in a conversation (or the choose-your-own-comic xkcd that came out a while ago), and map out all the options, it would look like a "tree", selecting THIS option leads to a new set of options, each of which will lead to ITS own set of options. In the aforementioned comic, selecting "Let me refresh" in the first panel leads to a different set of options for the second panel than if you had selected something else for the first panel. You are now following the "Let me refresh" branch of the conversation. That's all "branch" means in the title, it's referring to the conversation which would result from this, which would "branch off" of such a declaration. - NiceGuy1198.41.235.215 06:22, 20 February 2016 (UTC) I finally signed up! This comment is mine. NiceGuy1 (talk) 08:29, 9 June 2017 (UTC)

I have tried to make some explanation of the title text. Maybe someone can improve with a better explanation? --Kynde (talk) 14:00, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

The text in the second panel has changed from 'That's andromeda' to 'This is andromeda'. Just an fyi. 19:26, 20 February 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for the heads-up! Davidy²²[talk] 02:27, 21 February 2016 (UTC)
Now the change has been noted in the trivia section --Kynde (talk) 14:00, 22 February 2016 (UTC)

The explanation says all the host's statements are scientifically correct, but in the observations section, there's no defense for "it's in charge," or "barely even trying" being scientifically correct. I'm removing that statement. 00:37, 25 February 2016 (UTC)

'Andromeda' actually is not the name of the galaxy (which is Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224), but of the constellation that contains it. It is large, but not huge. 20:30, 13 March 2016 (UTC)

Citation needed. Jkshapiro (talk) 01:37, 15 March 2016 (UTC)
The Andromeda Galaxy is named after the constellation is can be found in but it is also know as Messier 31, M31, or NGC 224. It is completely wrong on all levels to say it is not named Andromeda! --Kynde (talk) 13:06, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

This needs some major cleaning up. Lackadaisical (talk) 06:22, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

Major Edit Explanation

Like I said in my previous comment, this needed some major editing. The explanation was disorganized, obtrusive and did little to assist in any understanding of the comic. I condensed important, relevant information and removed unimportant speculations and fixed the general tone of the article. Every word of the comic does not need to be hashed and rehashed only information which is conducive to understanding the comic and the topic of the comic should be included. It is not necessary to include an entire summarized blurb from wikipedia to describe that stars appear small in the night sky or the entire history of the andromeda galaxy. If a visitor does not know that stars look small they are probably not old enough to be reading and if they are interested in andromeda they will follow the wiki link and read about it on their own time. Speculation should be reserved to the talk page and other sections, it should not be included in the comic explanation.Lackadaisical (talk) 16:42, 9 May 2016 (UTC)

Major "return to previous explanation" explanation
I completely disagree. Fine that you have made changes, but no need to remove the list. This is standard for explain xkcd that you should be able to find explanation for all items in the comic here. If it is specific like here there will either be a table or a section. If you are not interested in details on the hosts observations you just skip the section or the trivia. I have re-included the section. It is important for the explanation to explain why his observations is accurate/correct if not delivers in a scientifically sound language. --Kynde (talk) 13:06, 25 May 2016 (UTC)
I was editing for clarity and tone, perhaps I deleted too much but I think the explanation is much clearer now with both of our edits. Before the "hosts observations" was used to serve as the explanation of his observations rather than to supplement them, now there is a quick discussion of his observations and a detailed insight. More complete, clearer and much nicer. Thank you for your review. Lackadaisical (talk) 13:56, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Is it even possible to view all of the things that the host mentions from a single point on Earth? Andromeda is in the southern hemisphere, while Sirius is at the north pole.

I'm not an expert astronomer or star gazer, so I don't know.

Edit: Oopsie. I seem to have deleted all the previous comments. Sorry.  :(

Edit 2: No, they came back! (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Well not that much expert ;-) If you look at the wiki for Andromeda (constellation) you will find that it is indeed in the northern part of the sky, as are Sirius and Betelgueze (in winter at least). I actually tried to spot Andromeda after this comic came out, but it was not really possible from my garden too close to a larger city (at least at the time of night I tried). But it is rather close to cassiopeia which is even closer to the northern star. So yes all of these three items would be clearly visible at the time of year the comic was releases in the area where the author lives i the US or from the UK where the program he spoofs is made. --Kynde (talk) 07:19, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

Just some food for thought, but the reason Sirius B is so unimpressive is because it tried too hard and tired itself out faster. 20:22, 9 January 2024 (UTC)