Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing

Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax"

by Philip C. Plait, Plait


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780471409762
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 02/22/2002
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 456,709
Product dimensions: 6.05(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

PHILIP PLAIT, Ph.D., works in the physics and astronomy department at Sonoma State University in California. He maintains the Web site and writes monthly articles on astronomy for the German newspaper Die Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. His work has appeared in the Encyclopedia Britannica Yearbook of Science and the Future and Astronomy magazine. He also writes a monthly column for

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Table of Contents


PART I: Bad Astronomy Begins at Home.

1. The Yolk's on You: Egg Balancing and the Equinox.

2. Flushed with Embarrassment: The Coriolis Effect and YourBathroom.

3. Idiom's Delight: Bad Astronomy in Everyday Language.

PART II: From the Earth to the Moon.

4. Blue Skies Smiling at Me: Why the Sky Is Blue.

5. A Dash of Seasons: Why Summer Turns to Fall.

6. Phase the Nation: The Moon's Changing Face.

7. The Gravity of the Situation: The Moon and the Tides.

8. The Moon Hits Your Eye Like a Big Pizza Pie: The Big MoonIllusion.

PART III: Skies at Night Are Big and Bright.

9. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star: Why Stars Appear toTwinkle.

10. Star Light, Star White: Stars of Many Colors.

11. Well, Well: The Difficulty of Daylight Star Sighting.

12. The Brightest Star: Polaris-Just Another Face in theCrowd.

13. Shadows in the Sky: Eclipses and Sun-Watching.

14. The Disaster that Wasn't: The Great Planetary Alignment of2000.

15. Meteors, Meteoroids, and Meteorites, Oh My!: The Impact ofMeteors and Asteroids.

16. When the Universe Throws You a Curve: Misunderstanding theBeginning of It All.

PART IV: Artificial Intelligence.

17. Appalled at Apollo: Uncovering the Moon-Landing Hoax.

18. Worlds in Derision: Velikovsky vs. Modern Science.

19. In the Beginning: Creationism and Astronomy.

20. Misidentified Flying Objects: UFOs and Illusions of the Mindand Eye.

21. Mars Is in the Seventh House, But Venus Has Left the Building:Why Astrology Doesn't Work.

PARTV: Beam Me Up.

22. Hubble Trouble: Hubble Space Telescope Misconceptions.

23. Star Hustlers: Star Naming for Dummies.

24. Bad Astronomy Goes Hollywood: The Top-Ten Examples of BadAstronomy in Major Motion Pictures.

Recommended Reading.



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Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax" 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
sciencekid-JP More than 1 year ago
This novel is all about explaining. The author, Philip Plait, does an excellent job addressing popular questions, as well as introducing some new ones. The vast variance of the topics from superficial, to simple, and to astronomically correct constellations. I was pleasantly surprised to how intreuging each and every subject was. Mr. Plait did not take favorites on which he was more interested in, he thoroughly explained all areas. You could tell he is an opinionated man, so if you are a politically inclined citizen I would advise you to steer clear of this, due to the fact that he blatently says the government is just wrong in certain situations. But overall highly recommended and well worth the time to further your knowledge.
KimMN More than 1 year ago
Dr. Plait does a wonderful job explaining what we know and how we figured it out. And with a sense of humor. I also recommend his Death From the Skies book. He makes sure he researches the subject first, rather than just wanting to make it as sensational as possible.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Phil Plait is a treasure. He takes the time to address kooky claims and mistaken beliefs held by the majority of the public. Our world would be far better off if more scientists cared enough to try and educate people who have been led astray by those who preach nonsense. Bad Astronomy is loaded with interesting stuff. From explaining away Moon Hoax looniness to fixing common mental errors about seasons, quantum leaps, light years, tides, UFOs, and so on, this book is fantastic fun and intellectually invaluable. Beyond his astronomy expertise, Plait is a wonderful example of the sort of positive and constructive science-based skeptic who brings more light to the world. His sincerity and enthusiasm jumps out at you from every page. "It's too easy to simply accept what you are told," writes Plait. "This is extraordinarily dangerous. If you just assume without thinking critically that someone is right, you may be voting for the wrong politician, or accepting a doctrine that has a bad premise, or buying a used car that might kill you. Science is a way of distinguishing good data from bad." I highly recommend Bad Astronomy for everyone. It's highly readable. Anyone can handle it. Save the world, buy a copy for a high school kid today! I also loved Plait's book, "Death from the Skies!" --Guy P. Harrison, author of 50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God and Race and Reality: What Everyone Should Know about Our biological Diversity
Guest More than 1 year ago
I consider myself not just a backyard astronomer but someone who has a deep passion for astronomy as well as astrophysics and Quantum Mechanics, this book addresses several misconceptions and inaccuracies that people have taken as being true.
kaelirenee on LibraryThing 27 days ago
Plait is a sci-fi loving astronomer, but there are just some things out there that infuriate him. Bad Astronomy adressed a wide array of misperceptions and flat-out lies in the field. The book ranges from silly ideas from movies (rocketships wooshing through space) to costly mistakes (astrology) to confusions (why IS the sky blue, while clouds are white?) to flat out bad science (creationists). The books is very accessible to non-astronomy buffs. In fact, this was the first major (non textbook) book on astronomy I'd read. The author uses excellent thought experiments to help the reader imagine some very complicated theories and facts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
B y y
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Should be required reading in high schools across the country. Would greatly serve to promote and enhance scientific interest and thinking.
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KT11 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading this book and learned a lot of useful information. The reason I enjoyed this book was because it was about astronomy, which I am very interested in. I like how the author gave experiments for you to try which can help you understand certain concepts better. It was also interesting learning about myths that people made and how they are completely not true. I recommend anyone who is into astronomy to read this book. You will enjoy it!