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View Full Version : *Bad Astronomy* is really *Good Astronomy*!



ljbrs
2002-Apr-04, 12:40 AM
I am moving very slowly through *Bad Astronomy* and want to protest the name. I find so very much Good Astronomy in *Bad Astronomy* (once the Bad Astronomy has been explained in each instance), and of the kind that surprises me throughout. I am reading very slowly, because the book is such fun and the ideas are truly novel. Bad Astronomer Phil really knows how to force the reader to read very carefully, because there are interesting additions to previous additions, and if you are not careful, you will miss something important. Reading it at least twice might do the trick.

So read very carefully in order that you do not miss any of the subtle points brought out by Phil Plait. I can see why he is such a great educator. He makes learning astronomy enjoyable. It really takes the *work* out of learning.

Great book! It is time for you to begin your next book on astronomy, Dr. Plait.

ljbrs /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_biggrin.gif /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_rolleyes.gif

ljbrs
2002-Apr-12, 11:46 PM
I have finished Bad Astronomy and am going back to read it

v-e-r-y v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y.

You would be surprised what gets missed the first time around. Perhaps it is just my age, and I have simply forgotten what I read the first time...

When re-reading about the equinoxes, vernal equinox and autumnal equinox, I looked in The Facts on File Dictionary of Astronomy (4th Edition -- I have all of them) and found that there are additional terms, dynamical equinox and catalog equinox which are also further defined in the Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac (Completely Revised and Rewritten) published by the U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, D.C.

==========

dynamical equinox the ascending node of the Earth's mean orbit on the Earth's equator; i.e., the intersection of the ecliptic with the celestial equator at which the Sun's declination is changing from south to north. (See catalog equinox; equinox.)

catalog equinox the intersection of the hour circle of zero right ascension of a star catalog with the celestial equator. (See dynamical equinox; equator.)

==========

And we are back where we began with dynamical equinox, so we cannot win...

Of course, we can win and we have -- if and only if we bought the book BAD ASTRONOMY , it is explained without all of the extra astronomical gobblety gook which is important to learn if you are going to be a professional astronomer.

It is interesting to me that the Southern Hemisphere does not have a special *equinox* such as the *dynamical equinox* of the Northern Hemisphere has for the *vernal equinox* but shares it with the Northern Hemisphere, I guess. I believe the springtime only counts in the Northern Hemisphere and the folks in the Southern Hemisphere get diddly...

Anyway, luckily for us, there is BAD ASTRONOMY which can give us the straight goods without all of the gobblety gook which is essential for professional astronomers.

Let us all say a fond and a strong *thank you* to Phil Plait for making astronomy understanding for us all while not condescending at all. BRAVISSIMO!

I will continue adding things as I re-read more of the book. I do not have much time this weekend because of important activities which get in the way. I am reading the book very, very slowly this time around so that I will miss little or nothing.

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jewel
2002-Apr-14, 11:35 PM
I just finished Bad Astronomy last night. Excellent job, BA! I'm going to read it again, most definately.

BA, your students are very lucky to have you as a teacher. If only all educators were as enthusiastic about their subjects!

I even got use some of the information from your book at work the other day. I was helping one of our customers with a downed UNIX system and when we managed to bring it back up she, of course, wanted to know why it crashed. Unfortunately, I could not determine that, so I told her I could more easily explain why they sky is blue. She took me up on it!

Thanks, BA!

ljbrs
2002-Apr-15, 12:28 AM
I even got use some of the information from your book at work the other day. I was helping one of our customers with a downed UNIX system and when we managed to bring it back up she, of course, wanted to know why it crashed. Unfortunately, I could not determine that, so I told her I could more easily explain why they sky is blue. She took me up on it!


Jewel:

That is a great use of the book. Very practical and at the same time educational. Perhaps your customer became doubly educated (at least about the sky). Then again, systems crash. Who knows why?

But that would be a subject for *Bad Computers,* instead...

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P.S.

Bad Astronomer: I am still moving V-E-R-Y SLOWLY through a re-reading of your wonderful book. The second time through is as delicious as the first time, only more so. I find so many subtleties that I missed when I hurried through to finish reading the book the first time around. It really is delightful. Your writing style is amazingly full of subtleties which are easily missed through carelessness.

Love your book. My friends will love it, too.

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Glom
2003-Apr-29, 01:32 PM
I am moving very slowly through *Bad Astronomy* and want to protest the name. I find so very much Good Astronomy in *Bad Astronomy* (once the Bad Astronomy has been explained in each instance), and of the kind that surprises me throughout

Yeah but 'Bad' is a kind of theme. That's why everything about this site is 'Bad'. We're all 'Bad' something.

Of course, I second the motion that was submitted more than a year ago. Sorry I'm a little late. :oops:

kucharek
2003-Apr-29, 01:40 PM
And here Phil's favourite tunes ;-)

Well They Say The Sky's
The Limit
And To Me That's Really True
But My Friend You Have
Seen Nothing
Just Wait 'Til I Get Through . . .

Because I'm Bad, I'm Bad-
Come On
(Bad Bad-Really, Really Bad)
You Know I'm Bad, I'm Bad-
You Know It
(Bad Bad-Really, Really Bad)
You Know I'm Bad, I'm Bad-
Come On, You Know
(Bad Bad-Really, Really Bad)
And The Whole World Has To
Answer Right Now
Just To Tell You Once Again,
Who's Bad . . .

Glom
2003-Apr-29, 01:41 PM
:lol: Stunning. It should be badastronomy.com's official anthem.