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Astronomical Misconceptions

Date: 11-17-03
Host: George Noory
Guests: Phil Plait, Scott Rubins, Paul Dowling

Phil Plait (website(1)), who works in the physics and astronomy department at Sonoma State, has made it his mission to clear up misconceptions about astronomy. One of his targets, as the main guest on Monday's show, was the work of maverick physicist James McCanney. He's just plain wrong about comets not being made mostly of ice and rock and in his assertion that comets can be as large as planets, Plait said. He cited a probe that measured Halley's Comet and found it to be only 10 miles long back in 1985/6.
He also took aim at the recent Harmonic Concordance, which was considered by many to be a celestially significant event as the Sun, the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Chiron formed into a Star of David pattern over a two-day period. But Plait noted that the pattern doesn't hold up if it's taken into account that these objects are at vastly different distances from the Earth.
For more on his comments on these and other "bad astronomy" topics view the specialpage(2) he created for this program, as well as the article below.

1. http://badastronomy.com/
2. http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/c2c_nov2003.html

Related Articles

Jupiter's Black Spot


One of the topics(1) Phil Plait tackled was the mysterious dark spot recently seen on Jupiter (pictured near the planet's equator in this photo by Eric Ng).
Plait does not believe the theory that the black spot is the aftermath of a nuclear explosion arising from the crashed Galileo probe, as espoused by Richard Hoagland. He said it would be impossible for the plutonium in the craft to create this kind of fusion and produce a local hot spot of this size.

1. http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/misc/c2c_nov2003.html

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Bumper music from Monday November 17, 2003

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