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Review - Bad Astronomy - Philip Plait


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There is something very appealing in reading about other people getting things wrong - and a book like Bad Astronomy gives us just that chance, detailing as it does mistakes and misapprehensions on the astronomical and cosmological front.

It's a lot more than that though - it's a great way to pick up the basics on tricky little questions like 'why is the sky blue?' and contains a wealth of information on astronomy and other sky/space related queries. It is written in an engaging, light way - only when he's explain the tides does he get a little confusing. My only slight concern is that the author comes across as irritatingly smug in his dismissals. Oh, and quite often he gets so excited telling us about some astronomical phenomenon that he forgets to tell us about the misunderstandings and goes straight for the facts - but he always returns to the main theme after a while.

If you've ever been inclined to think you can see stars in the daytime by looking up from the bottom of a well; if you thought that water went down the plughole in opposite directions depending on which hemisphere you are in; if you've wondered what Velikovsky's theories are all about; if you doubt Apollo ever reached the moon; or if you just want to be smarter than the average person on some impressive astronomical facts, this is the book to go for.

Also in eBook download:

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Reviewed by Brian Clegg


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Last update 05 June 2007