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

By Philip C. Plait

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"Bad Astronomy is simply undeniable reliable! Philip Plait clears up each false impression on astronomy and house you by no means knew you suffered from." --Stephen Maran, writer of Astronomy for Dummies and editor of The Astronomy and Astrophysics Encyclopedia

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"Bad Astronomy is a enjoyable learn. Plait is splendidly witty and academic as he debunks the myths, legends, and 'conspiracies that abound in our society. 'The fact is on the market' and it really is during this booklet. I enjoyed it!" --Mike Mullane, area travel astronaut and writer of Do Your Ears Pop in house?

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My favourite used to be regularly chalk dirt, yet then i admire banging erasers jointly. besides, in case you are in a laser conflict on your spaceship, you actually will not see the enemy shot until eventually it hits you. Poof! you are area vapor (ironically, a moment shot fired could get lit up by way of all of the dirt out of your exploding ship). Sorry, yet dodging a laser is like attempting to steer clear of taxes. you could try out, yet they're going to capture as much as you finally. and in contrast to lasers, the IRS will not be beaming while it unearths you ... five. . . . who've come from a far off galaxy ... Even the notable velocity of sunshine could be pitifully dwarfed by way of the distances among stars. the closest stars are years away at gentle velocity, and the farthest stars you will see that together with your bare eye are 1000s or maybe millions of light-years away. The Milky means Galaxy is an unimaginably vast wheel of enormous quantities of billions of stars, over one-hundred-thousand light-years throughout- -which in flip is dwarfed via the gap to the Andromeda galaxy, the closest spiral galaxy like our personal. M31, as astronomers within the understand name it, is almost 3 million light-years away. gentle that left M31 as you examine it on your spring sky all started its trip while Australopithecus afarensis was once the main clever primate in the world. and that is the nearest spiral. so much galaxies one can find with a modest telescope are a hundred-million light-years away or extra. Now, does not it appear faintly ridiculous for extraterrestrial beings to shuttle from a few far away galaxy to the Earth? in the end, the distances are lovely fierce, and so they have many, many stars to plunder and pillage of their personal yard. Science-fiction motion picture writers are inclined to confuse "galaxy," "universe," and "star" quite a lot. The 1997 NBC madefor-TV motion picture, Invasion, was once marketed as having extraterrestrial beings shuttle "over one million miles" to get right here. mockingly, advert writers sought after that distance to sound large, yet reflect on this: the Moon is just 1 / 4 of one million miles away, and the closest planet approximately 25 million miles away. the closest famous person to the solar, Alpha Centauri, is 26 million-million miles away. It feels like they grossly underestimated the dimensions of the gasoline tanks at the alien ships. 6. . . . to thieve all of Earth's invaluable water ... this can be my own favourite. It used to be utilized in the Nineteen Eighties television motion picture, V. and numerous different pulp sci-fi video clips. this can have all started within the overdue 1800s, whilst astronomer Percival Lowell proposal he observed canals on Mars and concluded that the planet was once drying up. evidently, a complicated race was once attempting to shop itself through irrigation. regrettably, what he relatively observed have been faint positive aspects on Mars that his all-too-human mind attempted to attach up in his mind's eye. There aren't any canals on Mars. at the face of it, that extraterrestrial beings wish our water turns out believable: examine all of the water we have now in the world. Our planet is three-quarters coated in it! determined for water, what might our proposed extraterrestrial beings do? After having a look towards our blue global with resentful eyes and parched tongues (or no matter what they'd of their mouths, in the event that they even had mouths), may they arrive all of the manner in to the heart of the sun method, utilizing up large quantities of strength to get out and in of the steepest a part of the Sun's and Earth's gravity wells, to suck up water in its very inconvenient liquid shape?

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