Journal for the History of Astronomy's

PseudoRefereeing & Its Spectacular

Farnese-Globe Trainwreckoning

Is The-Brad a Pathological Lawyer?

Can He Farnese-Bluff the World?


2005 June 13

PREFACE:    JHA-Refereeing's TragiComic-Operetta Background-History —
& a Surprise Witness for the Prosecution

[A sedate version of this document (before the titles and substantial tragicomic bracketed portions were added) was originally written at the request of the New York Times' Kenneth Chang, who (2005/1/12-18) had fallen for BS' Farnese prank and rocketed it into pop-sci showbiz orbit where it remains inviolate to this day. (Eight years after launch and persistent promotion by popular science forums, none has yet published a word of doubt about Schaefer's Farnese crock, though it became universally rejected among specialists almost immediately.) After DR contacted Chang, he promised to put the present document's several academic queries to BS. But Chang never got back to DR on this. DR occasionally phoned Chang (about once a month until a year after the story), who on one occasion asked DR to keep after him about the case. Hardly DR's job; but DR did so anyway, while wondering if this odd request was just a (quite needless) ploy to prevent any of Chang's colleagues from getting involved with a story he could “own” (at NYT) so long as he didn't give it up. And, sure enough, despite several temperate requests, Chang (who was already defensively justifying his Farnese promo-story even before DR got involved) continues to do nothing — even ignoring DR's explicit request (on 2006/1/11, the one-year anniversary of BS' AAS presentation) to contact D.Duke for Duke's paper refuting BS in BS' own JHA forum — nothing whatever to enlighten New York Times readers about a pseudo-“discovery” which his own 2005 Jan credulity (and careerist guru-selection) has converted into durable pop-sci“ truth”. (See, e.g., Scientific American 2006 Nov p.100.) Though BS' Farnese paper is now a universally rejected joke among specialists, nothing on this situation has appeared (as of 2014: 9y after exposure) in a single one of the numerous popular-science forums that (thanks to Chang) have broadcast this canard as brilliant science-history.

(Note: DR is perfectly aware that providing the details of Chang's ducking will likely have unpleasant future repercussions. But these concerns are exactly why so little is said of such press behavior. Therefore, it's up to DIO [as an independent forum] to reveal that which others understandably have fears about airing — fears which some news-volk count upon, to keep their shortcomings from becoming known.)]

[Witless for the Persecution:
On 1983/3/3, Lord Hoskin, the esteamed Editor-for-Life of the Brad-Schaefer-esteemed “premier” Journal for the History of Astronomy wrote DR a dementedly enraged and abusive letter (an offense fantastically inverse-reported by JHA bare-cupboard missman Schaefer in his unprovoked [and blithely fact-unchecked] attack upon DIO in Sky&Telescope, 2002/2 p.40).
His Lordship's extreme 1983 Displeasure was piqued specifically by DR's helpfully-intended criticism of the obvious rush-superficiality of JHArefereeing” of a 1982 Oct JHA paper by astronomer X.
And our Mad-Editor became even madder when astronomer  X later agreed (JHA 1984 June) with DR's claim that the paper must be fundamentally re-computed.
[X's grateful 1983/4/27 letter to DR: X “certifies that [DR] is a superior referee for papers on the history of astronomy.”]
His Lordship's decree of exile and His (1983/3/21) severance of communication (DIO 1.2 [1991] §B3 [p.99]) with DR still remains in force over three decades later — WITHOUT COMPLAINT from any of the institutions of an academic field plague-infested with an oddly extreme mix of varmints: cringing-frozen rodents (the Rabbitariate), murderously-careerist ready-fire-aim gofer-assassin goons (the Robotariate), and hiding hybrids thereof.
(To be fair, we must, however, note that the Amer Astr Soc & its Hist Astr Div were so astonished at Hoskin's unilateral insistence upon decades of non-communication between the two leading hist-astr journals' publishers, that they punished Lord H with the AAS-HAD's 2004 Doggett Prize.)
How educational it is, therefore, to find a recent account precisely confirming DR's 1983 criticism of JHA refereeing (which had been preceded by a friendly if critical 1980/7/30 DR warning to Hoskin on the dangers of superficial and politically-fixated refereeing: DIO 1.2 [1991] n.8 [p.97]) and to find that the “premier” journal's undeniably time-saving (DIO 1.1 [1991] ‡8 §B2 [p.78]) practice of pro-forma refereeing has remained stoutly upheld at JHA throughout these same three decades. Here is how our inside-witness at JHA describes current JHA refereeing:

it is quite common for an article received at breakfast to be refereed during the morning in some remote region of the globe and the verdict sent to the author by lunchtime.

The identity of this observer? No other than Journal for the History of Astronomy Editor-for-Life Michael A. Hoskin Himself !! (2003/6/21 letter to H.Thurston, effectively dropping him (claiming his submitted paper is mere fringe scholarship) as JHA contributor soon after his 2002 Isis [Hist.Sci.Soc] paper prominently [but gently & politely] broke Muffia-JHA omertà towards DIO). In His letter, Hoskin is actually boasting, boasting mind you, of the very quick-refereeing He called nothing but a DR-fantasy “damned lie” in His white-hot 1983/3/3 letter to DR, while starting a 37 years-and-climbing breach over DR's non-assent (DIO 1.2 [1991] §B2 [pp.97-100]) to His Lordship's (then-)denial of JHA quick&dirty-refereeing.

Malice in Blunderland: Self-Contradiction by Unhingedness:
Question. What can one make of a field whose “premier” publisher would:
[a] Get unhingedly enraged at a potential referee (whose value and correctness His own author soon after embarrassingly and explicitly confirmed to Him), doubly-THREATEN said scholar, and (when that didn't produce obeisance) insist upon trying even worse — o-how-about a 37y breach? (All this merely over the crime of: criticism! — of His Lordship's insta-refereeing. In the context of One Who abusively and fantastically criticizes others at will, we recall an earlier Little Caesar [1930 film] observing [transl]: Thou art getting so thou canst dish it out, but thou canst not take it anymore.)
[b] And then — with that Kennedyesque-spoiled carelessness which decades of no-consequences will always feed — get so unhingedly proud (of His idea of efficiency) as to blurt out a self-indicting confession THAT DR's CHARGE OF SLOPPY TOO-QUICK JHA “REFEREEING” HAS BEEN TRUE ALL ALONG?
[c] And doing so, even while letting ever-more-transparently-100% archonal pride insist on continuing the MH-DR breach into its [then] 23rd year….

But, after all, every insider knows that such incidents merely reflect standard sanity in the hysterical-astronomy world, which will predictably continue to display its communal mental condition by ensuring that not one member of it will offer the slightest public criticism of the JHA's above-described behavior, which any self-respecting field would have regurgitated decades ago.

So, should we see the JHA's notorious 2005 Farnese-globe farce simply as poetically-just reckoning for a journal that angrily, deliberately, permanently, and abusively cut itself off from advice it swiftly learned was competent after all?

Hoskin to DR 1983/3/3 final sentence: “Your undoubted talents are bought at too high a price.”

DIO 6 [1996] ‡3 §I [p.43] asked Hoskin — Who is vying for eternal memory as the Lord Cromer of astronomical history (Howard Carter & A.Mace Discovery … Tutankhamen Dover ed. 1977 p.xi) — to explain that typically-archonal feudal-priority-ranking: obeisance-über-creativity.
(Tradition's early ancestry: DIO 2.3 [1992] ‡6 n.18 [p.95].)
But Lord H has never done so — presumably because His statement was clearly a threat of vindictive exile, intended to suppress criticism of Himself, and thereby head off communal awareness of His cranial shortcomings.
Smartly accomplished, Governor.

Caligula's Horse Noses Out American Astronomical Society's HAD!:

The 2007 May HAD Newsletter reports that AAS's HAD has added Hoskin to the Doggett-Prize selection committee, an apotheosis which constitutes an unusually strong entry in the 2000-year-old competition to finally exceed the levity of Caligula's equine senatorial appointment (R.Graves, I, Claudius Chap.30) — even if HAD's magnificent effort has regrettably fallen half-a-horse short.
[Indeed, it's hard to think of a better addition [?], if it is anticipated that the Doggett Prize will occasionally revert to its recent-past history of intermittently honoring nearly numerate deadwood-scholar pols who specialize in false libel and shunnings.] And the same Newsletter generously alerts members to two out of the three journals in the field, naturally skipping the one that is most technically competent — and which (unlike its heroes) cites all sides' literature and rigorously acknowledges and corrects all its own errors.
All information-border-collie, nihil-obstat priesthoods dutifully follow the classically asymmetric pattern noted in DIO 1.2 [1991] (§C11 item [d] [p.104]): cite-the-nonciters and non-cite the citers.
[I.e., exactly how information-control censors and propagandists must inevitably behave when clashing with the hideous threat of the free mind.]
But there's symmetry too — in a cult-universe where archons' deliberate protection of HAD members' minds is as unsubtle as their unbravery.
When a field's pathology causes [over] a quarter-century of decreed-breach, one might think this situation of sufficient public moment (or even interest?) that the “science press” would report on it. Never happened. No rulership ever shines a critical spotlight on itself.]

[Note added 2005/9/25:
Torrents of evidence are presented on this site and in Dennis Duke's posted paper [later published in the 2006 Feb JHA], overturning the Brad Schaefer 2005/1/11 non-discovery “discovery” of Hipparchos' non-lost “lost star-catalog” allegedly-hidden-in-plain-sight for 2 millennia in the constellation-pictures sculpted upon the Farnese globe. Faced with such massive contrary indicia, Schaefer has — instead of frankly owning up to the obvious truth — opted (in a long 2005/9/18 email [presaging permanent cemental in-denialhood]) for taking a deliberately evasive and aggressively diversionary path, hoping to bluster his way out of his (latest) self-created quackmire. The-Brad's naked (and drearily predictable [2002]) deviousness accounts for why the documents provided below (“Non-Hipparchan Farnese Constellations” and “Questions”) are now [in sizeable bracketed portions added to several sections] occasionally much blunter than the relatively staid versions originally circulated (e.g., to the Amer Astr Soc's Hist Astr Div, along with “JHA Priors”) by fax in 2005 June.
Schaefer's similar previous dodgings and his current predictably repellant reaction in the Farnese case fully justify last Spring's decision to let DR's opening-shot April-Fool's-Day posting treat BS' Farnese paper as the flagrant farce it clearly is (jogging us into recognizing the potential ambiguity residing in the phrase full-of-himself) — and to simultaneously call the Amer Astr Soc to task for world-promoting entirely unchecked pseudo-science as a Grand Discovery, as well as for earlier giving Schaefer the dangerous idea that he can pretend to infallibility by running away and hiding from integrity's obligations. (Why would a self-respecting society want to have anything to do with someone who behaves with such sinuous arrogance?) Since, after months, the AAS and its Historical Astronomy Division have still not gotten Schaefer to face up to the two above-cited (formerly sedate) lists of demonstrations and questions, DR sees no reason to exempt the AAS from the same spoofing BS has earned.
And let not DR's appropriately satirical dissection (of such amusing BS-nonsense) divert readers from the serious, ominous implicit message already alluded to. Repeating for emphasis: the Boss-Tweed-arrogance and incorrigability of BS' systematic misbehavior (brain-kissing heresy-hound service via unverified archonal slander-echoing, devious ducking of obligation to face his shoddy scholarship's [huge] errors, while he haughtily and insultingly bluff-attacks others for [nit] errors) tell us that super-duper BS thinks he can get away with anything. He (acts as if he) believes from repeated experience that such actions aren't merely tolerated but are protected (if not actively encouraged) by higher-ups. That's a statement not just about little ever-fumbling, ever-unrepentant BS. It's about the big but still-no-commenting and (on-the-surface) equally unrepentant American Astronomical Society.]

Farnese-Globe Non-Hipparchan Features

Allegedly checked by no less than six Journal for the History of Astronomy referees (who in fact didn't verify any math at all), Prof. Bradley Schaefer's inexplicably AmerAstrSoc-hyped and widely publicized 2005 JHA paper, claiming recognition of the “lost” 1025-star Hipparchos catalog in the constellation-pictures upon the starless Farnese Atlas celestial globe (JHA vol.36 pp.167-196; N.Y. Times 2005/1/18), immediately goes astray by its fundamental blindness in assuming that if Aratos-Eudoxos, pseudo-Eratosthenes, & Ptolemy are eliminated as viable sources for the Farnese globe, then Hipparchos must be the actual source, since these four ancient astronomical candidates' stellar arrangements are the only ones Schaefer considers. Such typical little-big-man-Schaefer impetuosity [Brevet Maj. General Emeritus G.A.Custer comes to mind as a patron saint] ignores several obvious essential points:

  1. The old wisdom (oft recommended by DIO's H.Thurston) that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

  2. Given the globe's huge misplacement (order-of-magnitude 10°) of various key stars, such as Gorgon-head βPersei (which was specifically important to Hipparchos, as his sole 1h Hour-Star), one could persuasively argue that, if the globe's source was a catalog at all, it was probably small. (Hipparchos' catalog was order-of-magnitude 1000 stars.)

  3. We know from Ptolemy (Almajest 7.3 [Toomer Alm 1984 pp.331-332]; D.Rawlins Isis 73:259-265 [1982] p.263) that, as early as c 300-260 BC, Timocharis and Aristyllos were recording at least 18 bright stars' positions in the equatorial coordinate frame, to an accuracy on the order of about 1/10 of a degree. (These 18 stars were probably among those later used by Hipparchos to verify precession.) Another candidate Schaefer ignores is the famous ancient globist, Krates of Mallos (early 2nd century BC), whose obsession with the oblique Galactic Circle (the Milky Way) may be reflected in a curious and controversial line segment attached to the Farnese globe's depiction of the constellation Cygnus, which is (as DIO revealed on 2005/4/1) both situated and oriented much like the Milky Way. In any case, given the number of astronomers observing stars (and-or using others' stellar observations) throughout classical antiquity, it's obvious that numerous small ancient star catalogs (so small that they might've missed some stars as bright as 2nd magnitude) existed well before Hipparchos' era — even if they were not worth attacking in his critical Commentary because they were [a] accurate, and [b] of no interest to the public, compared to Aratos' popular poem. A particularly useful sort of catalog would have been a list of Hour-Stars for time-keeping; and precisely such stars (on-colure) are those that provide the most coherent (least sprawling) sample as evidence in favor of a catalog source for the Farnese globe. And the statistical tendency towards obsolescence, of the slightly-off-integral-hour Hour-Stars in Hipparchos' own Hour-Star List (Commentary 3.5), suggests his access to earlier astronomers' hour-star lists.

Schaefer 2005 shows zero awareness (or understanding) of the crucial implications of the extensive stellar rising&setting data in Hipparchos' Commentary. Nor does the paper evidence familiarity with the still-invaluable 1894 German edition of the Commentary by Karl Manitius, which indexes all the hundreds of stars Hipparchos mentioned in the work and meticulously identifies virtually every one. (The welcome new in-progress Macfarlane-Mills translation into English, which Schaefer depended upon, is at this stage sparse on such identifications and naturally has no index yet.) These hundreds of stars were all checked via sph trig by Gerd Graßhoff in 1986, showing that Manitius' identifications were nearly always correct.
[Note that positional astronomy is not Schaefer's strong suit (as he has creditably acknowledged privately to DR): see prior exposure [1st pointed out to DR by K.Pickering] in Y.Loewinger Quarterly J. Royal Astr Soc 36:449-452 (1995).]
(The very occasional ambiguous or erroneous identifications do not relate to any of the following discussions.)
All 619 sph trig Graßhoff checks are fully tabulated, applying to hundreds of stars (some appear more than once in the Commentary) at Graßhoff History of Ptolemy's Star Catalogue 1990 [Springer] pp.319-334. (These data include numerous polar longitudes.) For each of dozens of constellations, Hipparchos' Commentary provides the first&last rising&setting stars. (So 4 stars each are named for nearly all constellations in this connexion, though sometimes a star is repeated; for instance [below], the cases of μCnc, γPegasi, ζCas.) These stars will allow us to glean a good deal of information regarding the bounds of each constellation so tabulated in the Commentary — results which repeatedly and hugely contradict Schaefer's Hipparchan theory of the Farnese globe.
[Note: The-Brad's fallback mantra for alibiing absolutely any discrepancy between the globe and Hipparchos is: with an admitted 5° scatter for his 23 trash-stars (his Table 5: the worst third of his full 70-star sample), he affects unconcern regarding even Farnese-vs-Hipparchos discrepancies exceeding 10°. Comments: [a] The very size of such wild 5° mean-scatter (which Schaefer himself finds for these 23 stars), shows right-off that there can be no basis for claiming reliable relation (to a catalog) for stars not near the circles of an otherwise-“freehand” ancient globe. [b] The 5°-scatter catch-all tack focuses on individual stars, when Schaefer's most lethal problem is rather with constellations many of whose sizes, shapes, orientations, & appendages are stunningly non-Hipparchan — a point thoroughly illustrated below, as well as in Duke's paper. (Keep ever in mind that the Farnese globe bears no stars at all — strictly constellation-pictures.)
A further example of such discrepancies may be added here (to the fusillade of non-Hipparchan Farnese-globe features which DR has been bullhorning at Farnese-BS since 2005 April Fool's Day): Hipparchos' Taurus-the-Bull is a long-horn! (This should have especially impacted Schaefer, formerly stationed at Univ. Texas, whose pro sports teams' mascot is the long-horn.) In Hipparchos' Commentary, the Bull's eyes (αTau [also εTau]) and horn-tips (β&ζTau) were separated by 15°. (Compare G.Toomer Alm p.362 to Graßhoff p.326.) But the Farnese globe's eye-horn distance is half that: about 8° (5° of which is skull, not horn). And the horns are so small (3°) — they're barely noticeable. Since Ptolemy faithfully copies Hipparchos hereabouts (check Graßhoff loc cit on α&βTau), we can see how long Hipparchos' bullhorns were, simply by measuring in Almajest 7.5; (Toomer loc cit) from the horn-tips to where the horns join the head (τ&97i Tau), and we thereby find that the horns were 10° long for Hipparchos-Ptolemy — about triple the horn-length shown on the Farnese globe.
Again: Schaefer's kneejerk 5°-scatter alibi won't cut it here (and in similar cases below), since the key non-Hipparchan aspect isn't star-position but constellation-feature.]

The foregoing lays the groundwork for the following section's list of eight flagrantly non-Hipparchan Farnese constellation-renderings. [It will help readers understand the situation if we add that the items that follow are not disputing specific Schaefer star-positions — no, the points made below concern facts (all contra his Hipparchan hypothesis) which Schaefer never even considered or knew anything about.] For some of the eight [items], it will help to check via toy-planisphere (available from any local science center or planetarium) — or (better) a common visual computer sky-program (such as SkyMap Pro), by which risings&settings for a specified time and place are easy to simulate with all needed precision. If Schaefer can be induced to make such checks, he should be able to see the force of the following observations.

Whether that will induce him to acknowledge these obvious flat contradictions of his 2005 JHA thesis is unfortunately an entirely separate question.
[Blunderful PsychoProjecting:
Schaefer's diversionary-aggressive 2005/9/18 detailed email, attacking physicist Dennis Duke's gentle paper, unfortunately just further confirms and emphasizes that already glaring separateness. This devious email reflects a desperate desire to censor even the very mildest exposure of his Farnese-globe paper's manifold weaknesses: charging disabling “blunders” by Duke, (In the Farnese case, where it's become BS vs all other serious historians of ancient stellar astronomy, it's now common knowledge within the field as to who the sole substantial blunderer here is. Again and again and again.) The-Brad (himself author of the most brazen publication-pranks in modern history-of-astronomy) actually has the mirrorless nerve in his email to try decreeing the Duke paper “unpublishable”. And BS — taking himself so verrry seriously — then high-handedly follows this with yet a further dash towards new horizons in condescension:
“please let me know how you intend to rectify these errors.”
Now, now — instead of racing for the barfatorium, let's try mercifully viewing this precious incident as something of a pioneering showbiz achievement. After all, not even the prior puny comedian Mickey Rooney ever had the comic genius (or the straight-face that makes such acts truly Great) to demand of 7-foot-plus Wilt Chamberlain: hey, you — yeah, you down there — let me know how you intend to rectify your shortness.
Historical comment: Schaefer has a longtime archonal pattern of treating the work of those he merely disagrees with — no matter how unoffending they may be (or old and-or retired [so long as they don't still have political clout], or even dead) — as worthless, trifling, inferior.
(Similar unadmirable Muffia trashing of those who can't fight back quoted at: DIO 1.2 [1991] n.31 [p.103].) All this evidently in order to elevator-shoe his own rank. (His replies to simple, polite factual criticism repeatedly have the tone of: I'm an unerring VIP-arbiter-expert who's barely got time to set-straight a lowlife like you. The consistent BS pretense to infallibility is of course revealing, regarding his actual degree of inner self-confidence.) Note that, in a rational, equitable academic community, the word “blunder” is usually needless overkill — unless a key mistake undoes the entire position of a weight-swinging power operator.]

As one can see from the above, the DIO position is that, if the Farnese globe is based at all upon a catalog, it has long been lost — and could have been much smaller (thus earlier?) than Hipparchos'. See detailed investigations of such points by DIO scholars at (April First) and

Eight Clearly Non-Hipparchan Farnese Constellations:

  1. Table 3 star#23, 42ψTau, is given by Schaefer as “Taurus's shoulder” because that is roughly where the huge shoulder of the Farnese globe's Bull extends northward to, also thereby easily incorporating the Pleiades. However, Commentary 3.3.11 says that the stars 1oTau, 2ξTau, 4sTau, & 5fTau (the “cut-off” of the half-Bull of Greek astronomy) are the 1st Taurus stars to rise — and this would occur about 1/2 hour after Schaefer's 42ψTau (and the Pleiades: which, like 42ψTau, were also obviously not part of Hipparchos' Taurus: Commentary 2.5.15, 6.6&11&14) has already risen, for any Mediterranean site. By contrast, the globe agrees much better (Toomer Alm p.363) with Ptolemy's big-shouldered Taurus, which does include Schaefer's 42ψTau (and the Pleiades).

  2. The Commentary (3.3.12 & 3.4.12) says that Pollux's right hand, μCnc, is the last Gemini star to rise&set; this makes Pollux's hand the east bound of Gemini, requiring that his right arm stretch eastward, which it clearly does not on the Farnese globe. (See, top-right of photo B, or bottom of photo A, where Pollux's right hand hangs westward, close to his right thigh — the very opposite of the Commentary's Pollux right hand, eastwardly-extended towards Cancer.) However, since Ptolemy removed μCnc from Gemini (converting Pollux's hand into a claw of Cancer the Crab) his arrangement (Toomer p.365) puts Pollux's head & shoulder eastmost in Gemini, agreeing better with the Farnese globe (which has Pollux's head as the farthest-east part of Gemini).

  3. Schaefer 2005 (unlike Thiele 1898) indicates null awareness of the important list of Hour-Stars at the Commentary's end (Comm 3.5). In it, the sole star marking 1h of Right Ascension is Algol, βPersei (Commentary 3.5.19); but Schaefer's Table 5 (p.192) star#59 instead has the Farnese globe's Algol less than a degree from 2h Right Ascension. This spectacularly disagrees with Hipparchos, Ptolemy, and the real sky. Only a very skimpy (that is, non-Hipparchan) catalog could miss locating Algol (an eclipsing binary which is 2nd magnitude over 80% of the time).

  4. At Commentary 2.5.6&6.6, Lyra's rising&setting stars are all in the tiny parallelogram+triangle configuration familiar to star-gazers. But the Farnese globe's Lyra extends way outward into the dimmer surrounding stars, which are included by Ptolemy (Toomer pp.349-350), not Hipparchos. Compared to Hipparchos' tiny Lyra, the Farnese globe's corresponding constellation has ballooned to six times bigger [a pathological lyre?], bellying-up way-eastward (plainly contra the Commentary) flush against the solstitial colure. (See the Lyre, well to the right, in photo D.) Utterly ignoring the very Hipparchos Commentary he claims (passim, e.g., p.170) he's comparing the globe to, Schaefer 2005 Table 3 attempts to use contra-Hipparchan Lyra-solstice-contiguity, taking (non-Hipparchan) ηLyr as the eastmost Lyra star, thus listing it as on-colure star#11. Problems:
    [a] Though ηLyr gives Schaefer a remarkably neat fit for Hipparchos' era, it is peculiar that he overlooks a more-easterly and brighter star (nearby θLyr) — 1/3 of a century (of precession) distant from fitting Hipparchos' time.
    [b] As is clear from the above, Hipparchos' rising&setting data unambiguously show that both of these outlying stars (neither ever mentioned by Hipparchos, of course) are far outside the boundary of the Commentary's Lyra — though both are right at the east bound of Ptolemy's Lyra (similar to the east bound of the Farnese globe's Lyra).

  5. When asked about the absence of Pegasus' wing in the Commentary, Schaefer has responded that Hipparchos does not explicitly (like pseudo-Eratosthenes, whom Schaefer eliminates at p.174 on this basis) deny its existence. But that dodge won't do, since the extremely prominent wing-tip is the south-easternmost point of the Horse both on the Farnese globe (see photo σ, or left side of photo at Schaefer 2005 p.169 [Fig.2]), and in Ptolemy (γPegasi: Toomer p.358). Thus it must be the last star to rise and to set — and, indeed Pegasus' last-rising&setting star is rightly so cited by Hipparchos as γPegasi (Ptolemy's wing-tip star). Hipparchos mentions this same most-south-east Pegasus-star (γPegasi) no less than 4 times: Commentary 1.10.23, 2.5.11, 2.6.11, 3.1.11. On none of these occasions (nor anywhere else in the Commentary) does he provide Pegasus a wing.
    [Utterly cornered here, Schaefer responds (2005/9/18 email to Duke) with a lengthy, typically pushy YOU're-the-bumbler lawyer's-brief on this point, claiming that the hip of Hipparchos' Pegasus could have intruded sufficiently into wing-space to obscure or contradict Hipparchos' unambiguous statements (Commentary 2.5.11 & 2.6.11) on Pegasus' last rising&setting star (γPeg). This squid-ink naturally evades the obvious regarding DR's Pegasus-rising contradiction (item#4 of Duke's 2006 JHA paper): by mentally spinning the Farnese globe about its equatorial axis, even The-Brad can perceive (unless his spatial-relations ability is sub-mole) that the HUGELY-protruding wing of the Farnese globe's Pegasus (see discussion of photos) will rise ordmag an hour later than the Pegasus hip which his “reply” is hipped on (as he tries to artificially conjure ambiguity where there isn't any — all in order to keep insisting that his paper hasn't screwed up anything. ANYthing.). Since Hipparchos says (Commentary 2.5.11; K.Manitius ed. 1894 pp.194-195) the last star to rise is the hip, there is a massive contradiction here of what we see on the Farnese globe, a contradiction which no amount of The-Brad's huffing and distracting can eliminate. The problem here (as also for Ara) is Schaefer's embarrassingly patent discomfort with the mysteries of spherical trig. Understand: even after years of pretend-expert pontificating on Hipparchos' stars, he still hasn't done the sph trig to confirm Hipparchos' stellar phenonema, which are the data Manitius (1894) and Graßhoff (1990 Appendix C) used for unambiguous identification of virtually every one of the hundreds of stars Hipparchos cites in his Commentary — the very opus which Schaefer's Farnese paper is comparing the globe to! BS, “struggling backward” with this glaring disability, tries (in the most surprise-enlightening part of his frying-pan-to-fire 9/18 email) to wriggle out of his Pegasus predicament by challenging whether Hipparchos' hip-star can be certainly identified with γPeg. Which reveals the awful reality that (even at this late date): He still doesn't know that there is no ambiguity at all on the point. All he'd need to have done (ere launching such an embarrassingly [& revealingly] backfired ploy) is: consult the Commentary's matches to γPeg, for the entire range of Hipparchos phenomena (5-hits-out-of-5) listed at Graßhoff 1990 pp.324-325.]

  6. Schaefer Table 3 star#16 calls θCrt “Top of Cup”. Ptolemy (Toomer p.393) specifies that the two stars (θCrt and ηCrt) at the top of the Cup (Crater) are handles, while Hipparchos' Commentary 3.2.2 calls them the mouth of the bowl. The Farnese globe's Cup (Crater) clearly displays handles at the Cup's top. (See upper right of globe in photo at Schaefer 2005 p.168 [Fig.1], or slightly left of center at top of photo E in

  7. As the knowledgeable Univ. Canterbury classicist Douglas Kidd earlier noted (at p.326 of his Univ. Cambridge edition of Aratos), the Farnese globe's Ara (Altar) is oriented differently from both Hipparchos and Ptolemy. (This is the upcoming Duke JHA paper's item#2.) The Farnese globe has it right-side-up, tilted rather to the right, so (roughly) the flame is NE, the base SW. (See extreme lower-right in photo E of, or just to the right of the Centaur&Beast in the 1739 M.Folkes projection available at By contrast, Commentary 3.1.6&2.6 and Ptolemy (Toomer p.397) have virtually the reverse: the flame aimed SW, the base NE.
    [Gonna Taaaake a Cemental Journey …:
    The-Brad's incredible 2005/9/18 email to D.Duke shows he hasn't even figured out how Kidd (a non-mathematical classicist), DR, & Duke all have known Ara's Hipparchan orientation for years! (From the above Commentary citations, anyone with sph trig ability [or familiarity with Manitius, etc] can verify that, for Hipparchos' Ara: the base runs from σAra to θAra; βAra & γAra form a lip; and ζAra is the Altar's flame. Checking these identifications against a star-map proves that the orientation is: top to the SW, bottom to the NE — exactly as stated at this site for months.) But, as a just-in-case-it-turns-out-to-be-true backup escape-door “out” (see A.D.White History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom [1896] pp.77f), counselor Schaefer prepares to denigrate the significance of this near-180° Farnese-globe Ara orientation contradiction (of “perfect-match”-Hipparchos) — by diverting attention to Ptolemy's similar Ara-inversion. (Hardly significant, since Ptolemy copied Hipparchos!) I.e., The-Brad aggressively demands one must accept his blindered “universal-differences” logic (pp.171-172) that if a Farnese globe feature disagrees with all his restricted slate of Farnese-source candidates then it can prove nothing. (Actually, Schaefer cannot show that Aratos' Ara orientation differed from the Farnese globe's — so, according to the very reasoning which Schaefer adduced [albeit mistakenly] for the case of Pegasus, this feature is a victory for Aratos over Hipparchos and Ptolemy.)
    Amazingly, the very same email also shows that (as for Pegasus) vaunted mathematical analyst Schaefer has STILL (despite our long-posted urging) not performed Gerd Graßhoff's sph trig, which would have forced him to finally face the fact that there is no doubt at all that γAra was observed by Hipparchos. (The star γAra has become by far The-Brad's least favorite celestial object since it would be invisible to Hipparchos according to the demonstrably [2002] over-dense assumed atmospheric opacity which Schaefer's entire tree-eating 42pp JHA 2001 Pb paper was founded upon.)
    Since our final comment on Schaefer's Ara-alibi burnishes the most sparkling BS-email gem of all, it's been saved for last in this section:
    Schaefer claims (italics added):“With only information on the setting of [β+γAra] (confounded by extreme refraction and extinction troubles), you cannot derive a useful R.A.” Comments:
    [a] Graßhoff p.334 as usual finds neat agreement for Ptolemy's γAra (precessed back 2°2/3 in longitude to Hipparchos' era) with the two setting phenomena provided for γAra at Hipparchos' Commentary3.2.6;, which tells us that γAra's place was swiped by Ptolemy; therefore, simply transforming the back-precessed Almajest  position from ecliptical to equatorial yields the R.A.: the result is 220° as Duke states.
    [b] Since BS hasn't checked anything, he doesn't know that the Commentary3.2.6 rising&setting data were computed by Hipparchos for γAra not βAra.
    [c] Years after The-Brad started sounding off as if he were THE everyone-else-stand-aside-Expert in this area, one marvels at the durability of his continuing fantasy that refraction & extinction have the slightest connexion to the purely theoretical ideal-horizon rising&setting data preserved in Hipparchos' Commentary. BS' typically-invincible misperception here (central to his entire email defense of his Farnese folly) ideally encapsulates why no expert in the ancient astronomy field takes his several ancient-astronomy papers very seriously — and why top anti-Velikovskian C. L. Ellenberger wonders aloud whether BS' skull is filled with cement. (Needless to add, Ellenberger has long experience with such mentalities.)
    BS' extinction-delusion is easily exploded: if Schaefer is correct in adducing refraction & extinction here, what an odd coincidence it is that all of hundreds of Commentary rising&setting data disagree with him — enormously in cases of dim stars. Take, e.g., Hipparchos' Midheaven longitudes corresponding to the rising and the setting of ηCrt (Commentary3.1.2 & 3.2.2), a star dimmer than 5th magnitude: these Commentary data neatly agree with sph trig calculations (Graßhoff p.333) based on assuming a zero-true-altitude theoretical horizon (90° from zenith). But if (as BS believes) these data were derived from observing ηCrt outdoors, then the star's first & last visibility would be (for Schaefer's infamous atmospheric opacity: 0.23 mags/atm) at altitude over 15° (using 6th magn as visibility-bound) so the corresponding Midheavens would each differ by roughly twenty degrees from those computed (as in Graßhoff loc cit [DR has verified both calculations]) by conventionally assuming the sort of ideal horizon (no refraction, no extinction) that ancient astrologers visualized and which Hipparchos' calculations unquestionably used, given his rising&setting data's consistent agreements with Graßhoff's — for all his hundreds of stars. Numerous specialists have carefully confirmed this again & again for ordmag 1000 Commentary stellar data, e.g., K.Manitius (Teubner 1894), R.Nadal & J.Brunet (Arch Hist Exact Sci 1984 & 1989), & G.Graßhoff (Springer 1990). But, despite over a century of such highly refined work on this subject, involving thousands of tight-fit expert calculations, progressing to solid, coherent historial discoveries — it all goes right over The Great Inflated Head.
    Astonishing bottom line here:
    Consistent with a cementality that would in 2001 mega-denigrate DR's results on Hipparchos' stars without consulting Hipparchos (!) — we find that Schaefer has bluffed the press into believing that he has expertly compared the Farnese globe to Hipparchos' Commentary when he in fact hadn't computationally checked ANY of that work's dominant data-reservoir: the hundreds of angular numbers provided in the Commentary's detailed risings&settings section. (Again, had he done so, he'd have to have learned [contra his unwittingly revealing 4/18 email (BS wants to talk BLUNDERS?!)]: [a] Atmospheric extinction AND his Farnese-Hipparchan “match” are both repeatedly contradicted by these data. [b] There is no ambiguity in the Commentary regarding γPeg's identification or Ara's orientation.)
    OK, but at least give BS a gold brass star for sheer nerve. Indeed, it's hard to think of a bolder public expertise-bluff since Doc Cook claimed he'd crossed 500 miles of sea-ice to reach the North Pole in 1908, when in truth he'd never left sight of land and didn't know navigational math.
    (Even the slips that betrayed the 1908 pretender's inexperience were similar. On Cook's failure to know the true difference between reflecting-horizon double-limb observation-pairs [resulting in sextant “data” inadvertently putting him on the planet Vesta], DR commented similarly to the foregoing [Peary … Fiction 1973 p.87]: “No one had ever used a sextant and [reflecting] artificial horizon once — anywhere — could have made the error responsible for this.”)]

  8. On the Farnese globe, Cassiopeia's arms are stretched upward over her head, as in Ptolemy (Toomer p.351) and modern depictions. (See the small inverted figure at globe's upper-left in photo at Schaefer 2005 p.169 [Fig.2], or the lady-in-chair in upside-down [south-at-top] photo CC in But the Commentary (2.5.9&6.9) says that the head (ζCas for both Hipparchos and Ptolemy) is last to rise and 1st to set — obviously impossible if she has upwardly-outstretched arms. A check via SkyMap Pro (for Hipparchos' era & latitude) will unambiguously confirm this.
    [The-Brad's 2005/9/18 email doesn't own to the obvious truth of this. So either he still can't understand the problem — or his integrity-level is showing, as he hides from admitting that: Cassiopeia's extended arms clash with Hipparchos, but agree with Aratos and Ptolemy and (as Duke's paper points out) Germanicus Caesar.]

Twenty Questions       [Ten Starred]

Regarding JHA's Farnese Fantasy

  1. * How could a reader of p.170 of Bradley Schaefer's 2005 “discovery” that Hipparchos was the astronomical source for the Farnese Atlas celestial globe (JHA vol.36 pp.167-196), realize that Georg Thiele's learned 1898 article had already proposed in detail a Hipparchan origin for the Farnese globe, using on-colure evidence (the most promising potential data) strikingly similar to Schaefer's — specifically γArietis (Ram's horn), ηCanis Majoris (Dog's tail), & τBoötis (Herdsman's foot)? (The full astronomical section of Thiele 1898 is among the sources linked at Translation by DIO's Hugh Thurston.) Since 1898 is 107 years ago, is it coincidental that the AAS press release's (explicitly emphatic) denial that anyone previously had attributed the globe to Hipparchos, specified “Throughout the last century”?

  2. If one launches a paper from a well-planned press conference at an annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society, with enthusiastic promotion by AAS and a popmedia-wise fellow JHA editorial board member and Harvard professor (Owen Gingerich, who admits he never pre-checked any numbers in the paper), how can one be (in Schaefer's bio-blurb at JHA vol.36 p.250) “quite surprised by the overwhelming worldwide publicity for the article on the Farnese Atlas”?
    In 1912, the Titanic's owner raced his ship through ice-fields in the N.Atlantic, to achieve a record-time-of-crossing and thus a headline. So, as the iceberg-gutted ship sank, its designer is said to have angrily “congratulated” the owner:   Well, sir, you've got your headline.
    But, a DR prediction (reflecting continuation of certain astronomical historians' 30yrs-and-counting persistence in ranking politics and competent scholarship in careerist order): none of the institutions responsible for the AAS-JHA Farnese embarrassment will betray anger at anyone but DR.
    Indeed, the Alice=in-Wonderland-inverse world of history of astronomy was projectively on-cue: on 2005/5/18, a top official of the mirrorlessly vindictive HAD-JHA clique-rulership angrily called “vindictive” DR's April-Fool Backward-Boobs posting, though it's an explicitly non-vindictive satire, designed defensively to exhibit the scientific worth, level, and trustworthiness of the decrees of the latest archon-brain-kissing missman (BS) set on destroying DR's reputation. Evidently, in history of astronomy's Alice-in-Wonderland view of its dimmest archons' goon-squad harrassment-crusades, it's an intolerably indecent etiquettal shock to the effete elite, when the fox turns and bites the hounds — those brave-only-in-packs hounds, hounds who must forever feed the insatiable Great Archonal Ego.

  3. Schaefer convinced the press he had a new and firm result (Hipparchos, not Ptolemy, as Farnese-globe source) by getting unqualified AAS-JHA promotion and praise (e.g., Owen Gingerich in January 18 New York Times and March AAS Newletter #124 p.18) and by assuring everyone at p.11 (later p.178) of the original pdf of the full JHA article (posted in time for his Jan 11 press conference): “The constellations are placed onto the Farnese Atlas with remarkable accuracy.” Why then did he soon after insert a catch-all “out” into the text (p.179), “the globe on the Farnese Atlas is not a perfect rendition of the Hipparchos star catalogue …. There may be substantial uncertainties in taking a figure's position on the globe to be identical to that in Hipparchos' catalogue for purposes of comparison with [Ptolemy's] Almajest .”
    [Note: in his 2005/9/18 email to Duke, one finds The-Brad (forgetting his p.176 claim of double-perfection-fit of a largely freehand sculpture to a precise star catalog) brassily citing this passage as proof that he did-not-either claim perfect-fitness — while (like an agile lawyer, defending a bait&switch sales-scam) failing to mention that the above-quoted escape-clause's invisible ink got visible only AFTER the New York Times's K.Chang was victimized into broadcasting (NYT 2005/1/18) that the Farnese globe agrees “in detail” with Hipparchos' Commentary.]

  4. * Don't numerous Farnese constellations differ grossly from those in Hipparchos' Commentary (sometimes much in favor of Ptolemy's descriptions)? Many instances are revealed by DIO's Dennis Duke at The previous section provided eight particularly stark examples [discovered by DR (posted 2005/4/1)]. Summarizing these eight:
    On the Farnese globe, Taurus' shoulder includes the Pleiades; Gemini's Pollux has no eastward arm; Perseus' Gorgon-star (Algol), the Hipparchos Commentary's sole 1h-Right-Ascension Hour-Star, is instead (according to Schaefer) very near 2h Right Ascension; Lyra's size is way bigger than the Commentary's 6 bunched central stars; Pegasus is wingéd; Crater has handles; Ara is right-side-up; Cassiopeia's arms are outstretched upwards. (For fuller details than above, including photographs of the Farnese globe, take Control-F to the following key words in “Pleiades”, “at-hand”, “Algol”, “parallelogram”, “mentions”, “handles”, “Douglas”, “fruitful”, respectively.) And aren't the above-cited Farnese features of Taurus, Gemini, Lyra, Pegasus, Crater, & Cassiopeia obviously more similar to Ptolemy than to Hipparchos?

  5. As for the Hipparchos star catalog's Schaefer-alleged “lostness”: except for a passing fashion among an ever-tinier clique of modern historians, it has been known for at least 4 centuries that the positions of the c 1000 stars in Hipparchos' final catalog can be recovered by just shifting the longitudes in Ptolemy's catalog by −2°2/3, a non-photogrammetric reconstruction which has recovered over 10 times more Hipparchan stars than Schaefer claims he located, with empirical errors c 10 times smaller and with (on average) over 100 times smaller deviations from the original Hipparchos catalog (infinitely smaller for most stars, since their reconstruction is exact). So how is the 2005 paper a notable breakthrough?

  6. Why does mid-waist-Orion equal δOrionis in Table 3 (star#15), but εOrionis in Table 5 (star#51)?

  7. In Schaefer 2005 Table 3 (p.187), how can the star φGeminorum be both “Just east of Pollux” (star#3) and “Bottom [the south and-or west part] of Pollux' head” (star#24)?

  8. Why does Table 3 use stars which are not anciently cataloged, e.g., just-cited φGeminorum; or even visible at all, such as 35Cancri, which is star#25 in Table 3?

  9. * Schaefer chooses (p.186) reference-points 2&3 for his photogrammetry-mathematics on eight stars, and the top star on the list is αArietis. But use of reference-points 2&4 for αArietis finds its distances from these two ref-pts to be 45°.64 and 37°.83, respectively. Doesn't this render solution impossible, since their sum is 83°.5 while ref-pts.2&4 are themselves (see Table 1) 83°.7 apart? (For details, take Control-F to “dynamic” — also “shakiness” — in
    [An easily-visible example of the unreliability of such photogrammetry is confirmed by DR's 2005 July photos of the Farnese globe in Naples. In Schaefer's Table 5 (p.192), his photogrammetry locates Scorpius' sting (λSco) & Sagittarius' arrow-tip (γSgr). Unlike many other Schaefer “points”, these are two quite sharply-defined features. They are also virtually next-to each other (see photo λ): only c.5° apart. Yet, incredibly, The-Brad messes up even this ultra-simple case: his Table 5 puts the sting (λSco) a degree south of the tip, though on the Farnese globe it's obviously 3 or 4 degrees north thereof. (Disagreeing with both Hipparchos and his copyist Ptolemy, who obviously [see ι1 Sco & γSgr at Graßhoff pp.298&329] had the relative declinations nearly correct for the Hippachos-Ptolemy era: λSco was actually a little over 5° south of γSgr.) An inexplicable BS-photogrammetry net-error of nearly 5 degrees.
    (If even the very sharpest celestial points are this botched, what must we expect for the reliability of Schaefer's photogrammetry-based coordinates for some of the big blobs he opts to use, in his indiscriminate eagerness to shrink his epoch-solution's formal σ by padding Table 5's trash-sample [a ploy, which instead of making the sample more information-bearing, just makes it even trashier]. Like heads? A big lyre? Even dorsal chests? — one of which actually turns out to be a neck!)
    By not releasing his photos — not even when they were specifically email-requested — The-Brad managed to avoid such revelations during the months his rickety pseudo-discovery was unstopperably flooding ever-credulous media-land. Remarkably, his 9/18 email criticizes Duke for relying on the Folkes projection — which only became necessary because Schaefer wouldn't relay his photos! This ploy precisely replicates a dodge dear to the Frederick A. Cook Society (DIO 9.3 [1999] ‡6 §C8 item b [p.123]) — yet a further parallel of this affair to another of history's classic shams. (And, like Schaefer's false [and borrowed] 2002 smear: if his Farnese paper wasn't originally a deliberate sham, his subsequent evasive behavior has by now made it so.)]

  10. * Schaefer repeatedly did photogrammetric mathematics to locate αArietis. (One such is a “Worked Example” for Table 2.) Table 5 provides the average for all of these computed αArietis places; yet, didn't these calculations of the Right Ascension of αArietis take the wrong sign every time, thus producing a (purely mathematical) net 10° error in longitude for αArietis? (Full details are at via Control-F to “Exorcist”.) After correcting just this one error, won't repeating Schaefer's math now find a date nearer 110 BC than 125 BC?

  11. * Why did Schaefer (p.189) perform nothing beyond a “crude” epoch-test on his most hopefully-indicative sample, data #1-12? (Three quarters of this non-Gaussian sample are tightly bunched. [And their mean suggests a date well before Hipparchos. Don't forget: these are Schaefer's own most-date-sensitive on-circle “stars”.] Take Control-F to “good-Gaussian” in Wouldn't the rough epoch he found, 280 BC (p.189), powerfully suggest the application of uncrude mathematics, leading to the hardly Hipparchos-redolent result, 283 BC ± 80y? (A result independently confirmed on the nose by Keith Pickering.)

  12. * Schaefer notes (p.189) that only data #1-12 (sample 1) and data #48-70 (sample 2) contribute significantly to solving for the epoch of his title. (Note: calls these samples [A]&[G], resp.) But don't these two samples indicate dates 3 centuries apart? The precise figures are 283 BC ± 80y (sample 1) and (after correction for the αArietis sign-error) 21 AD ± 88y (sample 2). The mean of 283 BC & 21 AD (the latter from a sprawling, inherently mushy sample) is about 130 BC. So hasn't Schaefer hit Hipparchos' era just by averaging two samples (to which he chose to give almost equal net weight, despite the above-noted tightness of most of sample 1) that indicate dates over a century before and after Hipparchos? (Take Control-F to “homeopathically” in

  13. * If statisticians' standard t-test is applied to samples 1&2 (the latter corrected for αArietis' sign-error), what odds are indicated against both samples having come from the same source?

  14. Why would Table 3 put the western bound of Perseus at θPersei (star#2, “Westernmost star in Perseus”), when the same table's star#38, χPersei, is 6°.6 further west?

  15. Cancer's asses are stars (γ&δCancri), not constellations, and there are no stars on the Farnese globe; so how can an astronomer's missing asses (p.174) be evidence against him as the globe's ancient inspirer?

  16. Doesn't the only source we have on the Hipparchan declination of Cassiopeia's dorsal “breast” star, αCassiopeiae, say (Strabo 2.5.41) that this star is Cassiopeia's neck not breast? And isn't its longitude at Table 5 (star #66) correct for 1035 BC?

  17. * If one corrects for the above three errors (substituting star#38 for star#2, correcting the αArietis sign-error, and tossing out Cassiopeia's cervical-dorsal “breast”), is it true that Schaefer's own math will produce 85 BC (±56y), not 125 BC (±55y)? — a 40y difference.
    [For more likely but still uncertain Farnese-globe date estimates, take Control-F to “optimistic” in]

  18. * Will Schaefer agree that Hipparchos' Commentary 1.11.1-8 does not (as alleged at 2005 pp.173&177) state that the Arctic Circle radius is 37° for Hipparchos' Rhodes, but instead specifies 37° for Athens and 36° for Rhodes? Confusion's cause traced at, Control-F to “Athens”.
    [The probable origin of this confusion was Schaefer's mistaking Eudoxan data for Hipparchan. Remarkably, despite our long-posted warning of this mistake, The-Brad has plunged headlong into repeating it: in his typically high-handed 2005/9/18 email to Duke, Schaefer (who is never wrong) ADMITS NOT ONE OF THE MOUNTAIN OF NON-NIT ERRORS IN HIS OWN JHA PAPER (BS behavior specifically predicted in DR's 2005/4/1 posting) — even while accusatorially treating his polite critic as an inferior who repeatedly commits “blatant errors” (mostly peripheral or imaginary). BS debate-ritualistically side-steps all of Duke's unanswerable central points, and even tries attacking Duke's ironclad item#8 on Perseus ( by yet-AGAIN confusing Eudoxos with Hipparchos! (It's just Schaefer's own misunderstanding of perfectly clear Hipparchan language at Commentary 1.11.17.) Duke pointed this out the next day. As always, Schaefer attacks his most effective critics as fools but when he himself is caught in flat-out error, he admits nothing by simply not replying. I.e., he runs away. (The only Schaefer attacks on Duke which have even the wispiest potential traction are based entirely upon small [variously debatable] vagaries in the Folkes projection [whose errors are hardly worse than those of Schaefer's own shaky photogrammetry] — a striking correlation, and one which provides us an unsubtle hint as to why The-Brad continues to hide from facing the breadth and weight of DR's critiques: after all, DR did not base any of his stellar positions upon the disputed projection.) Sadly, such evasiveness has been a rigidly consistent Schaefer pattern for years. (It's the predictable consequence of trying to generate high-level scholarship out of swollen cement.) Does the history-of-astronomy community even care whether or not its increasingly-loudest scholar exhibits a Doc Cook-class pathological unwillingness to admit the most undeniable published errors fundamentally undercutting his broadcast claims?]

  19. * Doesn't atmospheric extinction expand an observer's effective Antarctic Circle and (contra Schaefer p.177) shrink his effective Arctic Circle? [Resort to atm-extinction is classic knee-jerk-Schaefer adhoc-artistry — also central to his since-collapsed JHA 2001 Pb-paper. His latest (2005) atm-extinction ploy insists upon injecting ancient-contradicted (& self-contradicted) asymmetry into his Farnese latitude-analyses. Yet how can this asymmetric atm-extinction-ex-machina]: [a] Be made consistent with the Farnese globe's equal radii for each? [b] Be made consistent with the equal Euxodos-latitude polar circle radii reported in portions of Hipparchos' Commentary (11.2-3&8) allegedly consulted by Schaefer (specifically cited at Schaefer 2005 p.173 item K])? [c] Alter at all (given north&south extinction's opposite & perfectly-cancelling effects) the Farnese globe's simply-indicated north latitude of 38° or 39° — which is not right for Hipparchus's Rhodes, (36°N), but is consistent with Athens (38°N) or (Krates') Pergamon (39°N)?
    [To clarify the freshman-level central point here, which Schaefer 2005 incredibly managed to bungle: if presumed heavy atmospheric extinction at the southern horizon is alleged to indicate that the Farnese globe's 38° Antarctic circle is apt for latitude 36°N, then that same extinction and reasoning applied to the northern horizon will indicate that the Farnese globe's 38° Arctic circle is apt for 40°N, not 36°N. I.e., Schaefer's two proposed effects are not consistent (as he deluded himself into believing) but instead contradict each other; so, if atmospheric extinction had affected the Farnese globe's Arctic & Antarctic circles, then these two polar circles' radii would be unequal by double the claimed extinction-angle. Instead, the globe's Arctic and Antarctic circles are equal (about 38°) — a fact agreed to be all parties, even Schaefer.]

  20. [Our next item is gone into in greater detail in the following section, JHA Priors.]
    In Sky&Telescope 2002 February (p.40), Schaefer described the repeatedly bumbling Journal for the History of Astronomy as the “premier” journal in the field, deliberately portraying the honest and waaay more technically competent journal DIO as just a zany, trivial one-man operation (never telling readers that DIO's board boasts far more able and eminent scholars than the JHA's); further, without consulting any documents, Schaefer characterized 1983 urging of better JHA refereeing (recommendation by D.Rawlins, DIO's publisher since its 1991 founding) as “abusive” revenge for the rejection of a Rawlins paper (which in fact was accepted by both JHA referees and even advertised by JHA in the 1982 March Isis). Has Schaefer yet been able to document any of these charges? No. So why hasn't he had the simple integrity to correct the record? Because the field has no watchdog? (Except DIO.) Can ESP explain the close resemblance of these anti-DIO charges to those made by windup-DIO-denigrator Owen Gingerich? — the ecstatically enthusiastic promoter of the alleged expertise of both (2001 and 2005) of Schaefer's baseless Hipparchos-Ptolemy JHA mega-papers. (For textual comparison of Gingerich & Schaefer, see And take Control-F to “pathetically” or “Rummel” in What does Schaefer now think of the quality of “premierJHA refereeing? Has he a sense of irony?

Journal for the History of Astronomy's Priors

  1. The issue of who observed the Ancient Star Catalog is now effectively concluded (in favor of the Hipparchans). But in 2002 Bradley Schaefer described it (Feb Sky&Telescope p.40) as the then hottest&bitterest controversy in the field of history of astronomy. So why did Schaefer in 2001 (in the same JHA that published his exactly-as-carefully-refereed 2005 Farnese paper) affect adjudication of whether Hipparchos or Ptolemy observed the Catalog (and attack Hipparchan D.Rawlins) without ever consulting Hipparchos' sole surviving star opus (which contains hundreds of star-position data)? And whyever would the JHA publish Schaefer 2001 without noticing THAT omission? (Indeed, did the JHA check the paper for anything besides whose work it sneeringly tried to destroy?)

  2. Schaefer had originally presented his 2001 JHA paper a year earlier at the 2000/1/15 AAS meeting, where he concluded for Ptolemy purely by using a remarkably impure atmospheric opacity of 0.23 mags/atm. But DIO immediately informed Schaefer (see K.Pickering in DIO 12 [2002] ‡1 §A3 [p.3]) that this would make the star γAra invisible (post-extinction magnitude 6 2/3) for Hipparchos' location and epoch. So how did γAra get recorded in Hipparchos' Commentary (3.2.6)? (On 2000/1/22, Schaefer emailed DIO false odds on γAra's observability; when DIO showed this was miscomputed, why didn't Schaefer reply?

    AND tell JHA?!)

  3. Given that Schaefer was informed of this and similar problems in person (by DIO Editor Keith Pickering) just minutes after his 2000/1/15 AAS announcement in favor of Ptolemy, why did Schaefer (during the YEAR that elapsed between his paper's submission and its 2001 Feb publication) nonetheless not in the slightest adjust his paper's analysis to the Commentary's stellar evidence, not even citing such evidence at any point in the paper's 42pp?
    [Similarly, his 2006 Nov Scientific American 295.5:96-101 paper shamelessly repeats (p.100) his 125 BC date for the Farnese globe, though the sign-error it's based upon (1st posted by DIO: 2005/4/1, aptly) has even been circulated (JHA 37:87-100 [2006 Feb] Appendix & n.5) by the journal that published his original 2005 Farnese paper — a paper not cited in the bibliography of BS' 2006 Nov ScAm article.]

  4. Why were the opacity data used in Schaefer 2001 (to justify his 0.23mags/atm) mostly modern-urban and almost entirely daytime, though Hipparchos obviously observed his stars in the pre-industrial night? (See DIO 12 [2002] ‡1 §E4 [Pickering p.16]; or K.Chang [N.Y.Times] 2004/5/14 International Herald Tribune.)

  5. Why were Schaefer's 2001 and 2002 denigrations of DR delivered in [a] captive forums operated by parties with modest ability at (or interest in) careful refereeing (and which are known to bar DR from replying), instead of in
    [b] scientifically reputable and open forums? DIO will be glad to publish a neutrally-monitored written Schaefer-DR debate. Is there such a thing as being too-confrontational with debate-ducking hit&runners?)

  6. Why the textual resemblance between O.Gingerich's posted Hoskin-abuse charge (2000/4/22) against DR and the repetition of it (S&T 2002 Feb p.40) during Schaefer's popular defense of astronomy's worst (ancient) plagiarist? Prose comparison at

  7. When DR told Hoskin that astronomer X's 1982 Oct JHA paper was miscomputed, Hoskin called DR's attached suggestion that the refereeing was faulty a “damned lie”, threatening a libel suit and future exile from publication in the JHA, the sole major hist.astron. journal at the time. (Hoskin 1983/3/3 letter to DR — mailed before X agreed with DR and re-computed the paper for the 1984 June JHA. Discussion at DIO 11.1 [2002] p.2; more excerpts from MH-DR correspondence at DIO 1.2 [1991] pp.97-100.) Why have Gingerich and Schaefer not issued national condemnation of this as abusive? And why have JHA, Gingerich, Schaefer, & Sky&Telescope still not produced DR letters to the JHA containing DR “abuse” of Hoskin?

  8. Has Schaefer ever asked to see documents he presumably once thought supported his S&T charge that allegedly hot-headed DR started alleged abusive correspondence with Hoskin, in alleged revenge for alleged rejection of a DR ms?

  9. Before publishing his 2002 article, had Schaefer seen a copy of the supposed letter of rejection?

  10. Has Schaefer YET seen such? (Hardly — no such letter ever existed.)

  11. Did or did not both JHA referees accept the “rejected” paper, so that it was billed as forthcoming in a JHA ad in Isis (1982 March)?

  12. If Schaefer still wishes to contend that the ms was rejected, then Keith Pickering has asked him (without reply): what was the date of the alleged rejection? [See also S&T's silence on this point: DIO 11.1 [2002] p.2.]

  13. Given the foregoing reality-check: [a] Why is Schaefer's 2005 May Farnese-paper [breaking JHA's 2002 promise (that it would stop spreading its false slander) by] unqualifiedly citing (p.195 n.17) his 2002 Feb Sky&Telescope article as an accurate history of the Ptolemy controversy? [b] Why has Schaefer not retracted; or, at a minimum, followed Dan Rather in agreeing that the charges have not been verified?

Do we learn anything from the fact that the Hoskin-DR conflict was actually over poor JHA refereeing and that Schaefer's current predicament is precisely due to poor JHA refereeing? The history of the above-cited, long-privately-muttered abuse-charge (through which a few politicians tried for over 20 years to condemn DR to permanent banishment from the field) parallels the full-cycle of life: ashes to ashes, pseudo-refereeing to pseudo-refereeing, dust to dust.

Note: simple summaries, much back-up detail, and thorough source-citations are all provided via convenient lists in; merely use Control-F to the following key-words (& hit links from there): “Remarkable Items”, “following”, “Brief Compendium”, “Independent Researches”, “protesteth”, “Confusions”.

[Occasionally revised 2005/9/16-2013/2/10.]