How to Piss Off an Astronomer July 22, 2009

How to Piss Off an Astronomer

The Park Bench has a short collection of questions designed to infuriate any astronomer:

4. To me, the Moon looks like a sort of light cheddar but I’ve heard others refer to it as a brie. What flavor do scientists think it’s made of?

I believe the consensus is that the Moon is made of gouda.

6. How much money did the government save by faking the Moon landing rather than actually going there?

I believe the savings from the Moon Landing were just barely enough to fund the Watergate break ins.

Next time you see Phil Plait, you know what to do.

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  • Isn’t the red-shift just due to the photons getting tired and slowing down? If thats the case, then the Ptolemy model may be more or less correct…. 😉

  • Richard Wade

    “Richard, is it true that tonight Mars will appear in the sky larger than the full moon? I’ve brought all my friends up to see it.”

    (speaking through gritting teeth, but trying to sound cheerful) “No, sorry to disappoint you, but that is a misconception started and perpetuated for years now on the internet, a wonderful device for spreading false information. Mars never looks larger than a tiny dot in our sky, even at its closest position. ”

    (muttering inaudibly) “And if I ever find the colon-for-brains who started that rumor, I’ll beat him severely and repeatedly over the head with a copy of The New Solar System by J. Kelly Beatty, et al, 418 pages, hardbound.”

    “Richard, is it true that several of the planets are going to line up soon, and there will be earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and hurricanes and other disasters?”

    (concentrating on not rolling my eyes) “No, planets have been lining up in the Solar System in various combinations for billions of years, including many, many times in our recorded history, and on those days . . . absolutely nothing unusual happened.

    “Richard, is it true that a giant asteroid will collide with the Earth in 2012, when the Mayans are saying the end of the world will happen?”

    (nursing a headache) “No, asteroid Toutatis will pass relatively close to the Earth, but will miss us by several million miles. You might be able to see a tiny dot moving slowly across the sky. The Mayans’ world ended centuries ago, so they aren’t saying anything.”

    “Richard, is it true that–“


    When I hear “Is it true that…” almost always there follows dunderheadism.

  • «bønez_brigade»

    Richard, I feel your pain. A few of my friends (who should have known better) have come to me with serious questions about the Mars hoax and 2012 nonsense. All of the hype had trumped their capacity to reason. Occasionally, other people will (innocently) use the word “astrology” when asking me a question about astronomy; but that’s more pitiful than annoying, really.

    [btw, here’s an oldie but a goodie]

    What’s your sign?

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