View Full Version : Bad Astronomy Review

2003-Jun-05, 08:27 PM
I wrote a review of the book Bad Astronomy for Astronomy&Space - a magazine for Astronomy enthusiasts in Ireland and Great Britain. Below is a copy. Hope you like it. By the way, log into www.astronomy.ie to see the website of our club

Bad Astronomy - a Review by an amateur,

The first point one must make about ‘Bad Astronomy’ is it’s a good read.

It’s a book about Astronomy but, not exclusively for Astronomers.

It speaks scientifically sometimes, but it’s not into heady science.

Philip Plait’s has written a book that is readable, entertaining and very often so funny. It’s a book that can be read by anyone, be they a rocket scientist or - an Astronomer?

Did you ever try standing an egg on one of its ends? When and where, did you try it?

Did you succeed? If you didn’t what do you think of the notion? Chapter 1 might help

When you’re standing over the sink, letting the water out, which way does the water twirl?

Would it twirl in the opposite direction if you were ‘downunder’, on t’other side of the Equator? Try Chapter 2.

Were the Moon Landings a hoax? Where was your man really standing when he said those immortal words? Why are there no stars in photographs taken on the ‘moon’ surface? Turn to Chapter 17

Astrology? How did we Astronomers ever get it so wrong?

The pull of the moon, the alignment of the planets. Such heavy and heady influences on our chances of winning the Lotto next week. Or on the chance we might be in the wrong/right place at the right/wrong time and, as the planets have pre-ordained, we are in for a major shock/surprise.

But, are we really so bound by the planets? Are we really under the influence of Venus as it gets closer to Jupiter or as both ‘near’ the Moon?

Chapter 21 debunks this ‘pull of the planets’ notion. It let’s us see through all the myths and misconceptions on which Astrology is based.

Would you like to have a star named after you? It would be nice. And, whoever gets your fee will be happy. In the meantime you can sky gaze and (nearly) see your name in lights.

Before you do any of that, I suggest you read Chapter 23. Having read it, you might prefer to put your €25 on a horse.

Hollywood, don’t believe everything you see. And read Chapter 24 to see why.

Bad Astronomy is the type of book which you’ll read, and then put it on a shelf for future reference. It’s the kind of book that does not have to be read, chapter to chapter sequentially. You can dip into it wherever you want. And, with the help of a good ‘contents’ listing at the start and a good index at the back, you can work your way around quickly and easily.

2003-Jun-13, 05:35 AM
Not bad, but I think it could use more paragraphs and less single sentences. Makes it harder to read.

2003-Aug-13, 02:17 PM
I just bought the book... just wanted to say... I love it!
Yeah..I'm slow on getting it, but oh well... Just want to say: Keep up the good work Phil!