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Download e-book for iPad: Bad astronomy: misconceptions and misuses revealed, from by Philip C. Plait

By Philip C. Plait

ISBN-10: 0471409766

ISBN-13: 9780471409762

Encouraged via his renowned site,, this primary e-book through Plait (astronomy, Sonoma nation Univ.) debunks renowned myths and misconceptions in terms of astronomy and promotes technological know-how as a way of explaining our mysterious heavens. The paintings describes 24 universal astronomical fallacies, together with the ideals that the Coriolis impression determines the path that water drains in a tub and that planetary alignments could cause catastrophe on the earth. the writer sharply and convincingly dismisses astrology, creationism, and alien ship sightings and explains the foundations at the back of simple basic recommendations (the immense Bang, why the sky is blue, etc.). notwithstanding a few might locate him strident, Plait succeeds brilliantly simply because his transparent and comprehensible causes are convincing and sincere. this primary quantity in Wileys «Bad technology» sequence is suggested for all libraries, specially astronomy and folklore collections.

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Extra resources for Bad astronomy: misconceptions and misuses revealed, from astrology to the moon landing 'hoax'

Example text

Han’s claim is like runners saying that they run a 10-kilometer race in 8 kilometers! It doesn’t make sense. Astute fans of Star Wars may notice that Obi Wan gets a pained look on his face when Han says that line. Maybe he is wincing at his pilot’s braggadocio; I choose to think Obi Wan knows his units. METEORIC RISE If you go far from the lights of a city on a clear night and wait long enough, chances are you’ll see a shooting star. The proper name for it is a meteor. Of course, meteors aren’t stars at all.

It’s bad astronomy. The Coriolis effect is real enough. By the 1800s, it had been known for years that cannonballs fired along a north-south line tended to deviate from a straight path, always landing west of their mark if fired toward the south, and east if fired to the north. ” In it, he describes what has become known as the Coriolis effect. Imagine you are standing on the Earth. Okay, that’s easy enough. Now imagine that the Earth is spinning, once a day. Still with me? Okay, now imagine you are standing on the equator.

This, in turn, gives the Sun more time to heat up the Earth. Not only do we get more direct sunlight, the sunlight also lasts longer. Double whammy! In the winter the Sun doesn’t get up as high, and so the days are shorter. The sun also has less time to heat up the ground, and it gets even colder. If the Earth were not tilted, days and nights would be 12 hours each, no matter where you were on the Earth, and we’d have no seasons at all. Take another look at the figure on page 51. It shows that the Earth is actually closest to the Sun in January.

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Bad astronomy: misconceptions and misuses revealed, from astrology to the moon landing 'hoax' by Philip C. Plait

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