I got some Awards!
In October 2000, Bad Astronomy won the Giant Tomato award which "highlights some of the best sites on the Internet". There are some fun sites there, and worth surfing.
The Tech is a silicon valley museum of technology, and every month on their website they pick their favorite 10 technology websites. For February 1999 they chose Bad Astronomy. They also picked a website hosted by the world's smallest web server and a site about pond scum! Um.
The Astronomical Unit (Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History) chose Bad Astronomy as their web site of the month, saying: "Ever screamed at the pasty-faced anchor on the news as he spewed forth complete drivel about some important astronomical event? Phil Plait has taken up the challenge of pointing out the astronomy blunders and foibles that are disseminated every day by the media and other sources."
The Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
picked Bad Astronomy as one of their
a baker's dozen (that means 13) of web sites they think are
"new and fascinating resources for math and science"''. Gosh! About Bad Astro
they say: "This extremely easy-to-navigate site works to
"right the wrongs" of scientific
misconceptions about the universe. Many myths about astronomy
are perpetuated in the movies, on
TV, and in other media; Bad Astronomy will help to find
those myths and clarify the science involved.
In addition to sections on various media and popular
misconceptions, this site offers a section called
Bitesize Astronomy with simple weekly essays about various aspects of astronomy."
The Houston (Texas) Astronomical Society picked Bad Astronomy as their Site of the Week for the week of January 17, 1999. I spent the hottest summer of my life in Houston eating good food and hanging out by a nice pool, so this award is particularly nice for me!
The Itty Bitty Blackboard is a fun site with lots of info about science on it. Like my Bitesize Astronomy pages, IBB keeps it simple and fun. Bad Astronomy got the OK award for the week of January 6, 1999.
In the December/January 1998/1999 issue of the magazine Quebec Science there is an article about bad science and it lists Bad Astronomy there. The article is interesting, but it's in French. C'est la guerre!
The San Antonio (Texas) Astronomical Association noted Bad Astronomy as one of their cool sites of the month for September 1998, and also noted that it was good for the novice. You should really check out their site since it a has a lot of good info, and the cool sites (humbly speaking) really are a good place to start looking for astronomical info.
Some movies have worked their way into our nation's psyche. One of these is "The Day the Earth Stood Still", a classic 1950's science fiction movie that still stands well today. A lot of people have heard the classic line "Klaatu Barada Nikto!" even if they aren't sure where it comes from. The line was spoken (by Patricia Neal) to Gort, the giant robot that stood silent vigil outside of Klaatu's spaceship. And now there is a website devoted to Gort, called GORT!. The webmaster is Jim Gerard, who is a tireless man devoted not only to Gort but also to being a spokesman for NASA's public outreach. We met in September of 1998 to help promote astronomy to the public, and he graciously gave the Bad Astronomy website his "Friends of Gort" award, which I display proudly.
This is isn't an award per se, but it is an honor. The Astronomical Society of Tasmania/ chose Bad Astronomy as their Hot Link of the Week for the week of August 17, 1998. They have a nice list of sites on that page, and it's well worth poking around a few of them!
June 12, 1998
Why is the sky blue? If you were told it's because of the sunlight reflecting off the earth's oceans, someone misled you. Philip Plait, an astronomer at Goddard Space Flight Center, has created "Bad Astronomy" to set many astronomy-related misconceptions straight. For instance, it seems that every television station has, at one time or another, shown a news story on the first day of spring showing people balancing eggs on end, telling viewers that the Vernal Equinox is the only day of the year that such a feat can be accomplished. Balderdash! It's just as easy (or hard) to do the trick on any day of the year. Another common belief is that water spirals counterclockwise down a drain in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the south. Well, sorta. Except that the Coriolis force on the water in your kitchen sink is so small that the effect is negligible. In the macroscopic world we're familiar with, you won't notice anything of the sort. (Don't write us to argue about it, write Dr. Plait. He's not busy. He stays up late.) Tinkering with people's dearly held misconceptions is great fun. Philip must get a lot of nice mail from people who "can plainly see" that the moon does not rotate, despite what he says. Poor guy.
Well, I don't stay up too late (unless my daughter is up too) and to be honest I don't get much crank mail, or mail about the Moon like that; most people just want to know why the Moon keeps one face to us ( click here for a hint!).
May 22, 1998
April 30, 1998
Perhaps you have heard of Yahoo!, the premier search engine on the web that about ten million people use every day? They have scores of people chained to their desks in a windowless basement tirelessly scouring the web looking for places that other people might like to see. One of their minions stumbled upon these very Bad Astronomy pages, and decided to put them on their list of Cool Sites. Before this event, I tracked about 100-300 hits a day on my main page. After Yahoo! listed Bad Astronomy, I started getting about 3000 hits a day. Since Yahoo! did not email me to let me know they had done this, I was baffled about this huge increase in hits, and (perhaps stupidly) put a note on my main page asking people to drop me a line and say from where they came, so I could find out. An hour later I had received about 30 emails, so I hastily tore that note down. ;-) Anyway, in a year and a half since I started these pages I had received about 30,000 hits, and in the two weeks since Yahoo! listed me I have received over 50,000 more. So thanks, folks at Yahoo!, for making this site available to so many people. Incidentally, you can also get to the Cool Sites list using Netscape by clicking on the "What's Cool" button right at the top of your browser.
April 22, 1998
April 21, 1998
Published on 04/14/98, Article 1 of 1 found.
Bad means good when it comes to the Bad Astronomy
It would help if you had a little interest in astronomy
before visiting the page though. Stargazers will get a
kick out of the Bad Astronomer's stellar sense of
humor. He picks apart media reports that involve
astronomical claims and scientific conclusions.
Published on 04/14/98, Article 1 of 1 found.
Bad means good when it comes to the Bad Astronomy Web page.
It would help if you had a little interest in astronomy before visiting the page though. Stargazers will get a kick out of the Bad Astronomer's stellar sense of humor. He picks apart media reports that involve astronomical claims and scientific conclusions.
The Baltimore (Maryland) Sun picked up the story as well in their new section called "Plugged In". Unfortunately, they also included the wrong URL! Oh well. If you're reading this that doesn't matter anyway.
April 20, 1998
(April 9, 1998)
Here's what they said about Bad Astronomy:
SHOTS IN THE DARK
The alleged "face" on the surface Mars
is really a butte. It is
impossible to read by starlight alone. There are actually 13 to 24
constellations in the zodiac. Everything the producers of NBC's "Asteroid"
know about the actual article would fit neatly on the head of a pin. Foul
in name only, Bad Astronomy takes
pains to debunk all the false information we are fed about the heavens by
television, films and ingrained superstition, and does so in such a witty
and entertaining fashion that even nonbelievers can't help but smile.
Philip Plait claims to be only an "average" astronomer,
his ability to explain astronomy in such basic, friendly terms puts him in
our cool book. Plus, he makes a point of crediting his references, isn't
afraid to admit when he's wrong and looks good in a
(March 11, 1998)
The folks at the Lucille Miller Observatory in Maiden North Carolina gave the Bad Astronomy web pages "four Bobs", which I assume is a good thing. They also give a special "Dumbbell Nebula" award to people and things that dispense Bad Astronomy, such as newscasters TV ads and the like. It's nice to know I am not alone here in bringing this stuff to the public eye.
The discerning people at SpaceViews, a subsidiary of the wonderful group the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), gave my "Asteroid" review below an award as one of two "Best Sites of the Week" for February 24, 1997.
Majon's Cybermall is a huge collection of Internet shopping links. They said that I am the "WINNER of our esteemed Majon Web Select 'SEAL OF EXCELLENCE AWARD.'" They then tried to sell me their service. So is this award a true declaration of accomplishment, or merely a marketing ploy? I'm not sure. But what the heck, I can't blame them: they have received well over a million hits between March and September, 1997. They do a lot of business, so let them link back to me!