Read e-book online Bad astronomy: misconceptions and misuses revealed, from PDF

By Philip C. Plait

ISBN-10: 0471409766

ISBN-13: 9780471409762

Encouraged by means of his well known website,, this primary e-book via Plait (astronomy, Sonoma kingdom Univ.) debunks well known myths and misconceptions in relation to astronomy and promotes technology as a method 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 bath 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 options (the tremendous Bang, why the sky is blue, etc.). although a few may well locate him strident, Plait succeeds brilliantly simply because his transparent and comprehensible factors are convincing and sincere. this primary quantity in Wileys «Bad technological know-how» 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'

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It’s equal to about 10 trillion kilometers, which is a long way. 2 light-years away; the light leaving a presidential inauguration might not reach Proxima Centauri until after the president leaves office at the end of the term! The light-year is the standard yardstick of astronomers. ” If you’re not familiar with the term, you might think it’s a time unit like an hour or a day. Worse, since it’s an astronomical term, people think it’s a really long time, like it’s a lot of years. It isn’t. It’s a distance.

By the time they reach your eye, they appear to be coming from everywhere in the sky, making it look blue. come from that last molecule and not from the direction of the Sun. These molecules are all over the sky, while the Sun is in one little part of the sky. Since blue photons can come from any and all of these molecules, the effect is that it looks like blue photons are coming from every direction in the sky and not just the Sun. That’s why the sky looks blue. Those blue photons are converging down on you from all directions so that it looks to you like the sky itself is giving off that blue light.

That means there are more molecules, more scatterers, along its path, increasing the amount of scattering you’ll see. Although blue light gets scattered a lot more than, say, yellow light, the yellow photons do scatter a little. When the Sun is on the horizon, the number of scatterers increases enough so that even green and yellow light can be pretty well bounced away into the rest of the sky by the time the sunlight reaches your eye. Since now the direct sunlight is robbed of blue, green, and yellow, only the red photons (which have longer wavelengths) make it through.

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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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