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 Daniel Fortunov's Blog » Book Review: Bad Astronomy, by Philip Plait

 0 Comments- Add comment | Back to Personal Blog Written on 28-Nov-2010 by asqui

Bad Astronomy is a book by Philip Plait, Ph.D. (creator of the website by the same name: www.badastronomy.com) wherein he explains the common misconceptions, misunderstandings, and questions that you’ve never really thought about in so much depth before.

Why is the sky blue? Why do the stars twinkle? Was the moon landing a hoax? Where is the centre of the universe?

Often his answers start off which what is common knowledge but then supersede that with a bunch of extra detail and insight; such as the chapter about tides, which starts off talking about the moon, then recedes to cover gravity principles, then involves the tidal influence of the sun, and ends with the following paragraph:

So the next time you're at the beach, think for a moment about what you're seeing. The force of tides may take the water in and out from the shoreline, but it also lengthens our day, pushes the Moon farther away, creates volcanoes, eats stars, and viciously tears apart whole galaxies. Of course, the tides also make it easier to find pretty shells on the coastline. Sometimes it's awesome to think about the universe as a whole, but other times it's okay just to wiggle your toes in the wet sand.

Bad Astronomy is essentially an astronomy-specific variant of Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science.

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