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A million were in D.C., we know that

How many people were at President Obama's inaugural ceremony in Washington, D.C.? I heard one TV guy say there were 2 million, but others say there was a lot less. Does anyone know for sure?

— C.M., Medford

Our crowd-estimate expert here at SYA's Crowd Control Center, using a variety of technical calculations and incantations, concluded there were gobs of humanoids.

But you are no doubt looking for a more specific figure. The problem is nobody seems to know for sure how many were there, C.M.

Some folks did estimate the crowd at around 2 million, although most "experts" figured that was a bit high.

The Associated Press, based on its own analysis, estimated Tuesday's crowd at "more than 1 million."

The Los Angeles Times newspaper also estimated there were more than 1 million gathered at the National Mall, adding it was unclear whether the crowd surpassed the record set at President Lyndon B. Johnson's 1965 inauguration. LBJ's inaugural crowd was estimated at 1.2 million.

The Times noted that Clark McPhail, a sociologist who has been analyzing crowds on the mall since the 1960s, estimated the crowd for Obama's historic swearing-in was around 1 million, give or take a few bipeds.

Arizona State University journalism professor Stephen Doig went sky high to get a number. Using satellite images, he calculated that 800,000 people were on the Mall for the inauguration ceremony. He came up with his figure analyzing a satellite image shot from a height of 423 miles.

Back on earth, the Metrorail in D.C. reported that some 1.1 million people rode the rails on Inauguration Day, setting an all-time record.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.