One of the best astronomy websites out there is Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy (2014 update: here is Phil’s old site). Phil is an actual, real-life professional astronomer who started Bad Astronomy in 1998 to right some wrongs about space science which he had noticed on TV and in films. He says, “As television and movies have become better and better at shaping our views of the world, it is becoming more and more important that we understand what it means to be scientific. Like it or not, those that understand science and technology will always have the advantage over those that don’t. If everyone had even a basic grasp of scientific principles, this planet would be a better place.”
I must point out that, contrary to what a non-science fan might think, Bad Astronomy is by no means dull or dry. Phil’s blog makes me laugh out loud and I can easily lose a couple hours (at least) on the messageboards which are as fun, funny and lively as any others out there, and more popular than most. One of my very favourite sections of Phil’s site, however, is the ‘Bad Movie’ page. Phil reviews films based on whether or not the astronomy contained in them is good or bad. Example: ‘Contact’: Good movie with basically good astronomy. ‘Men In Black’: Good movie with some bad astronomy. ‘Armageddon’: Just bad all around.
The other day I decided to Skype Phil to have a chat about Sci-Fi, bad movie science and travelling to the Sun…
Have a listen.