[meteorite-list] re: A break (was All Hail Eris ...) OT

From: MexicoDoug <MexicoDoug_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri Sep 15 03:50:07 2006
Message-ID: <000a01c6d89b$390383e0$f5068cc9_at_0019110394>

"All Hail Eris" ?????????? Does the arrogance and sophomoronic Solar System
smugness ever stop on our glorious stellar merry-go-round? Even I'm getting
dizzy from this!

Now we really do have cartoon dogs naming the new planetary discoveries in
the further reaches of the Solar System without respect - like fire hydrants
to mark out their territory (Lucy Lawless??, huh??) I heard some more bs
gossip that "Eris" was approved as another crude joke. Backwards it spells
"Sire", a not so discrete comment on those hording the heavenly harems and
immortalizing themselves as The Fathers siring The new race of bodies in The
New Solar Order.

What ever happened to the dearly dedicated, royally respectful, warmly
wholesome, unadulterated and contagious, patiently passionate Clyde
Tombaugh's of days' past; the suggestions of children -in other countries-
naming planets. The kinds of role models that you just can't enjoy anymore
over the morning waffles. Sharing, giving, vibrant & enthusiastic attitudes
of those whose love of the heavens eclipsed all else.

Sterling shall I fire up the cauldrons, ready the Tar and pluck the
chickens' feathers for you, to finish off decisively what you're starting
with Marco, for only sharing his thoughts and opinions ... no, I'll just
find a safe haven somewhere in the Solar System and crawl into it to watch
the fireworks after letting off this little bottle-rocket into the

Best wishes, Doug
Unsolicited Public Defender of Public Defenders

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sterling K. Webb" <sterling_k_webb_at_sbcglobal.net>
To: <marco.langbroek_at_wanadoo.nl>; "meteorite list"
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 9:40 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] re: All Hail Eris and Dysnomia (2003 UB313)


    Marco was one of Ortiz' very first public defenders,
posting a letter from Ortiz on September 15, 2005 on:

    Ortiz himself gave another, more-detailed but somewhat
different account on his own webpage at CSIS. After a few
days, he re-posted that page with some changes in his story.
I can't give you a URL for it because CSIS and the Sierra
Nevada Observatory where he worked pulled this webpage
and it hasn't been back up since, nor can I find any other
public presentation by Ortiz of his story(s). His faculty
webpage at the Andalusian Institute of Astrophysics exists,
in the form it existed in as of June, 2004:
There is no mention there of 2003 EL61.

    The first person to notice or discover this access by Ortiz,
who had not mentioned it prior to its being discovered, was
Richard Pogge of the Ohio State University.

    "Pogge...created the database for the SMARTS
telescopes used to view 2003 EL61. SMARTS - an
acronym for Small and Moderate Aperture Research
Telescope System - is a owned by many universities
and operates on shared time. Each night two Chilean
astronomers perform observations with SMARTS and
e-mail the results to the astronomers. They also store
an archival copy in the database created by Pogge.

    By searching records of IP addresses (the codes that
show where a computer is to the Web), Pogge eventually
discovered that Ortiz's computers had directly accessed
Brown's archival files detailing the ephemeris, or projected
orbit, of the 2003 EL61. Oddly enough, these searches
occurred just days prior to Ortiz's announcement. Pogge
also found that Google, the world's most widely used
search engine, was used to find this file by using the
search terms "K40506A." Working backwards, Pogge
deduced that Ortiz's group had found this object code
in an abstract published by Brown about finding the solar
system's potential tenth planet... Ortiz's camp has been
reluctant to detail their reason for accessing the archives..."

    From an interview with Pogge in:

    In Ortiz' letter posted by Marco 09-15-05, Ortiz says:
"A regular google internet search on K40506A leads to a
public internet web page with what appears to be
coordinates of many things. This is no hacking or
access to private information..."

    The key word in Ortiz' statement is "LEADS"!
As soon as word of this situation broke, I tried to
duplicate Ortiz' "innocent" discovery by doing just
what he did, Googling "K40506A" before everybody
involved shut down the websites described.

    It was not an easy process. It not a matter of
clicking on one of a small number of Google returns
and Voila! the coordinates appear. No, it took me
some while and a LOT of dodging around to find it.
It's not anything someone would have found in the
easy manner suggested by Ortiz. At the SMARTS
Consortium site, you have to access the ccd imaging
logs, then from there access the photometric reduction
of the data, where the pixel locations of the objects
are stored, then from there you have access the observing
logs to find the coordinates of the frames, then extrapolate
from the frame coordinates, using the pixel locations
from the photometry logs, to determine the actual sky
coordinates of K40506A! As you can see, this is NOT
a casual Google, one-click-away exercise. It takes a
long time, and you have to be intent on extracting the
data by any means possible, using techniques similar
to those employed in intelligence work. The SMARTS
logs of IP addresses shows that Ortiz performed
exactly these techniques, accessing those pages in
that order to reconstruct hidden data in the manner
described above.

    Marco and I have threshed about on this question
once before. For those who wish to view the gristly
details, go to:
and access September, 2005 (by thread), and read the
thread "One Find, Two Astronomers..."

    In his now vanished website, Ortiz claims to have
a) discovered the object, b) found three archival
images of the object at past dates in NEAT, DSS,
and POSS data, c) calculated its orbit to great
precision, and d) used that calculation to enable
his collaborator Stoss to successfully re-acquire
the object at another observatory, all after accessing
the SMARTS data, but, he says, without using it.

    Yet, at this point in time when Ortiz claims to
essentially know more about 2003EL61's orbit and
position than Brown does, Ortiz is AGAIN (20
minutes later after the Stoss confirmation sighting)
accessing the SMARTS Consortium website and the
same collection of webpages he previously accessed,
for more positional data! Why? Marco says merely
out of "curiosity." I can conceive of less charitable
explanations for the same sequence of events.

    Other than the initial claim of discovery, not since
repeated, Ortiz has published nothing on 2003 EL61,
done no work on 2003 EL61, has not investigated 2003
EL61 in any way. His own sponsoring organization has
removed his claims from their website and do not mention
them anywhere on the site that I can find. Brown has
protested the Ortiz claim to the IAU.

    The IAU has not ruled on Brown's protest, so nothing
has changed "on paper" or how things are listed at the Minor
Planet Center. They will have to decide, however, since
Brown has announced his intention to submit a formal name
for 2003 EL61 as its discoverer.

    You can find Brown's discussion of the controversy at:

    "It is worth asking: if the observing records were on
a publicly accessible web site, is it wrong to look at
them? The obvious answer is that there is nothing
wrong with looking at information on any publicly
accessible web site, just as there is nothing wrong
with looking at books in a library. But the standards
of scientific ethics are also clear: any information
used from another source must be acknowledged
and cited. One is not allowed to go to a library,
find out about a discovery in a book, and then
claim that discovery as your own with no mention
of having read it in a book. One is not even
allowed to first make a discovery and then go
to the library and realize that someone else
independently made the same discovery and then
not acknowledge what you learned in the library.
Such actions would be considered scientifically
dishonest. It is not clear from the timeline precisely
what Ortiz and Santos-Sanz knew or how they
used the web-based records. They were required
by the standards of science, however, to acknowledge
their use of our web-based records if they accessed
them. The director of the IAA, Dr. Jose Carlos del
Toro Iniesta has promised to investigate what
precisely happened. We have confidence in Dr.
del Toro Iniesta to clarify the situation and determine
the appropriate actions."

    Brown, unlike Ortiz, has gone to refine the orbit, to
discover that 2003 EL61 has a moon, then to discover
that it has a second moon, to discover its unusual shape,
to determine its period of rotation, to determine its density
and composition, to analyze its periodic atmosphere...
2003 EL61 is an object unlike any other in the solar system.

    What name does this strange dwarf planet deserve?
I suggest the Norse god Loki, a trickster and shapeshifter,
a kind of celestial con-man, always playing tricks on the other
gods. Loki was said to be lame and "crooked of shape" and
to move in crazy whirling motions; 2003 EL61 is 2000 x 1500
x 1000 km and does some pretty crazy whirling of its own.
Loki also married a goddess named Sigyn who bore him two
sons: Narfi and Vali, which makes naming the two moons

    Oh, yeah, one other thing: Loki is the God of Thieves!

Sterling K. Webb
----- Original Message -----
From: "Marco Langbroek" <marco.langbroek_at_wanadoo.nl>
To: "Sterling K. Webb" <sterling_k_webb_at_sbcglobal.net>; "meteorite list"
Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 6:11 PM
Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] re: All Hail Eris and Dysnomia (2003 UB313)

> Sterling,
> This has been a very contentious issue. Your story is just one version of
> the story, another version is not so negative and equally viable, perhaps
> even more likely.
> Point is that currently the MPC officially designates the discovery credit
> to Ortiz et al. So by standing rules they have the naming right too.
> That's how it currently stands, accusations or not. Discovery credit
> currently has NOT been denied to Ortiz et al.
> As I see it, and will point out step by step below, it has never been
> proven Ortiz et al. are guilty of scientific misconduct. Personally, I
> doubt it.
> What happened, a less negative version, following the FACTS instead of
> unsubstantiated malicious suggestions:
> Ortiz et al., processing their (2003) data, discovered a bright slow mover
> in their data. Remember, they were running a project to look for TNO's.
> At that time, the object they found was a very unusual object (in terms of
> unexpected brightness. The first of that kind, Eris existence had not been
> reported yet). So, some discussion before submitting their data, they
> don't want to make fools of themselves. This is very sane and normal.
> Please note: at that point, 2003 EL61 did officially not yet exist in any
> way. There are strict rules about when a minor object discovery is
> official, just like there are rules about official naming procedure for
> minor objects. Rules which Brown et al. have shunned in the case of
> Eris/"Xena" by the way.
> An abstract by Brown had appearred around that time. It was *not* a formal
> discovery announcement. It suggested they had observed just such a bright
> object. Hence Ortiz et al., remembering it, checked it, which again is
> normal and sane.
> They then Googled the unofficial designation to see whether they could
> find more written about it, as it seemed to concern a similar (not
> necessary the same) object. Which again, is understandable and not wrong
> in any way. You might even say it is sane to do when you have something
> unusual.
> Lo behold, in this way they ended up on a *publicly accesible* web
> document, providing info on where in the sky the not yet formally
> published object resided. Looking at it, their IP gets logged. Yet, *this
> is still in no way scientific misconduct*. They return a few times, being
> unsure about it all. Seems the same object yes: yet nothing official on it
> to be found.
> Independant co-discovery of objects is very common in astronomy. Standing
> rules are clear: the first one who announces it the formal way, gets
> discovery credit. There's nothing unethical in this, its just how the game
> goes in science. It happens often that rumours about an independant
> discovery arive over the grapevine, leading a research team to quickly
> publish their finds to take credit before someone else (rightfully!) does.
> Ortiz et al. then therefore decide to publish *their own* data,
> constituting an independant co-discovery, in the formal way, through the
> proper procedure of reporting astrometry to the MPC, leading to an MPEC
> with temporary designation (2003 EL61) for the object. They are earlier
> than Brown et al. And hence get the credit: its after THEIR report with
> THEIR data the object "exists" formally. There is NOTHING unethical or
> wrong in this, mind you. That Brown et al. did not report earlier, is
> Brown et al.'s own responsibility.
> Shortly after this, a fuzz breaks out and people start to accuse Ortiz et
> al of scientific misconduct, trying to transfer discovery credit to Brown
> et al. In this process the Ortiz et al team is accused of "hacking" into
> Brown's data server (which is by no means true!) and somehow the
> suggestion is made that their following the officialy established route,
> with their own data, suddenly is "scientific misconduct".
> You see Sterling? This is quite another version. Which fits the sequence
> of events completely as far as the established FACTS are concerned (as
> opposed to malicious gossip), and acquits Ortiz et al from any
> wrong-doing.
> The fact that the MPC still lists Ortiz et al. as the official discoverers
> of 2003 EL61 says enough.
> By the way, a lot of bullshit has been said at the time about that Ortiz
> et al. should have referrenced Brown et al. when making their report to
> the MPC. Which is bullshit. The standard procedure, using a strict format,
> for reporting astrometry on a (new, undesignated) object to the MPC
> doesn't even allow for this. Nor where they complied to. As far as the
> formal procedures for such are concerned the Brown et al discovery did not
> exist a that time, period. There were no data at all to refer to.
> Ortiz et al. stole nothing, and they are the official discoverers of 2003
> EL61. Not Brown et al.
> - Marco
> Sterling K. Webb wrote:
>> Hi,
>> "Rights" and "credit" are neither right nor credible
>> when stolen.
>> "A week before Ortiz's discovery, on July 20, Brown et al.
>> had published an abstract of a report they intended to use to
>> announce the discovery, in which the object was referred to
>> by the internal code name K40506A. Typing this code into
>> internet search engines allowed anyone to find the observation
>> logs of Brown's group, including the observed positions of
>> the object. Third-party web server logs indicated that the
>> page in question had been accessed by an IP address used
>> by computers at the Instituto de Astrof?sica de Andaluc?a
>> where Ortiz's group worked. Brown's group accused Ortiz's
>> group of a serious breach of scientific ethics and asked the
>> Minor Planet Center to strip them of discovery status.
>> Ortiz later admitted he accessed the internet telescope logs,
>> downloading the relevant information a day before making
>> his announcement, but denied any wrongdoing. He concedes
>> that it was Brown's team that had discovered the object."
>> Sterling K. Webb
>> --------------------------------------------------------------
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Marco Langbroek"
>> <marco.langbroek_at_wanadoo.nl>
>> To: "meteorite list" <meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com>
>> Sent: Thursday, September 14, 2006 12:17 PM
>> Subject: [meteorite-list] re: All Hail Eris and Dysnomia (2003 UB313)
>>>> Suggested names have yet to
>>>> be submitted for two of Brown's group's other famous KBOs: 2005 FY9 and
>>>> 2003 EL61.
>>> ?? Naming rights and formal discovery credit for 2003 EL61 are not
>>> Brown's: but Ortiz et al.'s....
>>> - Marco
>>> -----
>>> Dr Marco Langbroek
>>> Dutch Meteor Society (DMS)
>>> e-mail: meteorites_at_dmsweb.org
>>> private website http://home.wanadoo.nl/marco.langbroek
>>> DMS website http://www.dmsweb.org
>>> -----
>>> ______________________________________________
>>> Meteorite-list mailing list
>>> Meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com
>>> http://six.pairlist.net/mailman/listinfo/meteorite-list
> --
> -----
> Dr Marco Langbroek
> Dutch Meteor Society (DMS)
> e-mail: meteorites_at_dmsweb.org
> private website http://home.wanadoo.nl/marco.langbroek
> DMS website http://www.dmsweb.org
> -----

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Received on Fri 15 Sep 2006 03:47:31 AM PDT

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