Astronomy Astrophysics

Bad astronomy: misconceptions and misuses revealed, from by Philip C. Plait

By Philip C. Plait

Encouraged via his well known website,, this primary e-book by means of Plait (astronomy, Sonoma kingdom Univ.) debunks well known myths and misconceptions in relation to astronomy and promotes technological know-how as a way of explaining our mysterious heavens. The paintings describes 24 universal astronomical fallacies, together with the ideals that the Coriolis impression determines the path that water drains in a bath and that planetary alignments may cause catastrophe on the earth. the writer sharply and convincingly dismisses astrology, creationism, and alien craft sightings and explains the foundations at the back of easy normal options (the titanic Bang, why the sky is blue, etc.). although a few may possibly locate him strident, Plait succeeds brilliantly simply because his transparent and comprehensible motives are convincing and sincere. this primary quantity in Wileys «Bad technological know-how» sequence is suggested for all libraries, particularly astronomy and folklore collections.

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Additional resources for Bad astronomy: misconceptions and misuses revealed, from astrology to the moon landing 'hoax'

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Actually, no, it doesn’t. Palin, and who knows how many tourists before and after him, are being taken in by a fraud. And it doesn’t end there. This hoary idea is used to explain why toilets flush in different directions in the northern and southern hemispheres, as well as the way northern and southern sinks and bathtubs drain. Many college students claim that their high school science teachers taught them this fact. The problem is, it’s no fact. It’s bad astronomy. The Coriolis effect is real enough.

Clearly, these kids balanced the eggs through perseverance and strong desire. One of the beauties of science is that it improves itself, and another is that you never know where that improvement will come from. Mine came from Mancelona, Michigan. Science is about asking, why? and, why not this way? Sometimes you need to think around the problem. For example, if the spring equinox is special, isn’t the autumnal one special, too? They are both basically the same, yet you never hear about people trying to stand eggs on end in September.

If you’re not familiar with the term, you might think it’s a time unit like an hour or a day. Worse, since it’s an astronomical term, people think it’s a really long time, like it’s a lot of years. It isn’t. It’s a distance. That doesn’t stop its misuse. The phrase “light-years ahead” is a common advertising slogan used to represent how advanced a product is, as if it’s way ahead of its time. I can picture some advertising executive meeting with his team, telling them that saying their product is “years more advanced than the competition” just doesn’t cut it.

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