National Geographic : 2007 Apr
LETTERS Saturn: Beautiful Stranger The coolest thing about the cover of Saturn is that "the faint dot at left, just outside the brightest ring, is Earth." Gives us Earthlings a true feeling of how miraculous our planet is in the immensity of the uni verse. We need to tend it with much more respect and care. CAROLYN O'MALLEY Bedford, Texas I showed the photos taken by Cassini to my class of fifth graders, and I reminded them that the spacecraft was sent at about the same time they were born. After I mentioned that Saturn has 56 moons, one of my students commented, "Nights on Saturn must be pretty bright with all that reflected light." With dozens of moons, could this be so? SCOTT LEE St. George, Utah Saturn's moons are so small, especially compared with the size of the planet, that nights there have negligible moonlight. Corrections, Clarifications November 2006: Murdering the Impossible We regret misspelling the names of Peter Scholz and Willy Merkl. Reinhold Messner was 23 when his essay "The Murder of the Impossi ble" was first published in German. The photo on page 54 should have been credited to Alessandro Gogna, K3 Photo Agency. December 2006: The Ghost Bird The website note credited Nancy Tanner with the last confirmed sighting of the ivory billed woodpecker. Tanner was one of the last people to glimpse the bird, but the final confirmed U.S . sighting was made in 1944 by Don Eckelberry. Solar System Map The solar system supplement is top-notch. But honestly: eight planets? I should have thought that NATIONAL GEO GRAPHIC of all publications would not be giving credence to a group of history-hungry people who hope to make their career by "demoting" the planet Pluto. These are the same type of people who've been trying to con vince me that Europe and Asia are separate continents. If they should ever succeed in correcting this more obvi ous mistake, then I shall be happy to start calling Pluto a planetoid. Until then, Pluto is a planet! LEE JEFFREYS Springfield, Missouri The Ghost Bird I was one of those many people who were ecstatic over the wonderful news of the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker. I saw it as proof that our conservation efforts were having an effect. As I read the article, I had to ask myself why Mel White found the need to burst people's bubble. We many had found the joy, it hurt no one, and it gave us hope. Then I tried to do some Sherlock Holmes type of thinking. I concluded that White indeed is a true believer in the existence of an ivory-billed woodpecker. He only wrote his bubble bursting article to protect the beautiful bird! My faith is restored, and my belief in the woodpecker's existence further proven. Good job, "Mr. White," if that is indeed your real name. MICHAEL THOMAS Richmond, California "FOR THE INCREASE AND DIFFUSION OF GEOGRAPHIC KNOWLEDGE" The National Geographic Society is chartered in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific and educational organization. Since 1888 the Society has supported more than 8,000 explorations and research projects, adding to knowledge of earth, sea, and sky. JOHN M. FAHEY,JR., President and CEO EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENTS Terrence B. Adamson Linda Berkeley, President, Enterprises Terry D. Garcia, Mission Programs John Q. Griffin, President, Magazine Group Nina D. Hoffman, President, Books and School Publishing Group Betty Hudson, Communications Christopher A. Liedel, CFO BOARD OF TRUSTEES Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Chairman Reg Murphy, ViceChairman Joan Abrahamson, Michael R. Bonsignore, Martha E. Church, Roger A. Enrico, John M. Fahey, Jr., Daniel S. Goldin, John Jay Iselin, James C. Kautz, J. Willard Marriott, Jr., Floretta Dukes McKenzie, George Munoz, Patrick F. Noonan, Nathaniel P Reed, Rozanne L. Ridgway, James R. Sasser, B. Francis Saul II, Gerd Schulte-Hillen TRUSTEES EMERITUS Joe L. Allbritton, William L. Allen, Thomas E. Bolger, Frank Borman, Lewis M. Branscomb, Robert L. Breeden, Michael Collins, Lloyd H. Elliott, George M. Elsey, Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson, William K. Reilly, Robert C. Seamans, Jr. COUNCIL OF ADVISORS Roger A. Enrico, Chairman Darlene T. Anderson, Michael R. Bonsignore, Howard G. Buffett, Craig D. Campbell, Jean N. Case, Juliet C. Folger, Robert B. Haas, Robert A. Hefner III, David H. Koch, lara Lee, Bruce L. Ludwig, Sally Engelhard Pingree, W. Russell Ramsey, Catherine B. Reynolds, Joseph E. Robert, Jr., Edward P.Roski, Jr., Victoria P Sant, B. Francis Saul II, Michele Sofisti, Ted Waitt, Garry A. Weber, Tracy R. Wolstencroft RESEARCH AND EXPLORATION COMMITTEE Peter H. Raven, Chairman John M. Francis, Vice Chairman Keith Clarke, Steven M. Colman, Scott V. Edwards, Philip Gingerich, William L. Graf, Nancy Knowlton, Dan M. Martin, Scott E. Miller, Jan Nijman, Stuart L. Pimm, Elsa M. Redmond, Bruce D. Smith, Patricia C. Wright, Melinda A. Zeder EXPLORERS-IN-RESIDENCE Robert Ballard, Wade Davis, Jared Diamond, Sylvia Earle, J. Michael Fay, Zahi Hawass, Beverly Joubert, Dereck Joubert, Louise Leakey, Meave Leakey, Johan Reinhard, Paul Sereno, Spencer Wells MISSION PROGRAMS Vice Presidents: John M. Francis, Research, Conservation, and Exploration Jacqueline M. Hollister, Development Sarah Laskin, Public Programs Exhibits: Susan S. Norton Expeditions Council:Rebecca Martin Geography Bee: Mary Lee Elden Lectures: P.Andrew van Duym, Gregory A. McGruder Human Resources:Thomas A. Sablo, Sr. VicePresident International: Robert W. Hernandez, Sr. Vice President Treasurer: H. Gregory Platts, Sr. Vice President NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VENTURES Dennis R. Patrick, Chairman Timothy T. Kelly, President and CEO Edward M. Prince, Jr., COO National Geographic Channel: David Haslingden, President, International; Laureen Ong, President, U.S . Digital Media: ChrisMcAndrews, President National Geographic Maps: FrancesA. Marshall, President; Allen Carroll, Chief Cartographer Television: Michael Rosenfeld, President Contributions to the National Geographic Society are tax deductible under Section 501(c)(3) of the U.S.tax code. Copyright © 2007 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. National Geographic and Yellow Border: Registered Trademarks ® Marcas Registradas. National Geographic assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials. Printed in U.S .A .