Phil Plait bigraphy, stories - Astronomer, skeptic

Phil Plait : biography

September 30, 1964 -

Early life

Plait grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He attended the University of Michigan and received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Virginia in 1994 with a thesis on SN 1987A, which he studied with the Supernova Intensive Study (SINS).

Media appearances

Year Program Episode(s) Notes
2012 Curiosity Episode #2.12 - "Sun Storms" TV series documentary
2012 The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson Episode #8.184 TV series
2010-12 How the Universe Works "Extreme Planets""Solar Systems""Volcanoes""Megastorms""Planets from Hell" "Megaflares""Extreme Orbits""Comets" "Asteroids""Birth of the Earth" TV series documentary
2011 Captain Disillusion: Fame Curve Collection Video short
2010 Bad Universe "Death Stars""Alien Attack!""Asteroid Apocalypse" TV series documentary
Known Universe "Stellar Storms""Cosmic Collisions" TV series documentary
2008 Naked Science "Hubble's Amazing Universe" TV series documentary
2007 Is It Real? "Life on Mars" TV series documentary
The Zula Patrol "Larva or Leave Me/Egg Hunt""There Goes the Neighborhood" TV series
2006 Nova "Monster of the Milky Way" TV series documentary
2005, 2009 Penn & Teller: Bullshit! "Conspiracy Theories""Astrology" TV series


During the 1990s, Plait worked with the COBE satellite and later was part of the Hubble Space Telescope team at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, working largely on the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph. He went on to perform web-based public outreach for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and other NASA-funded missions while at Sonoma State University from 2000 to 2007.

His first book, Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing "Hoax" deals with much the same subject matter as his website. His second book, Death from the Skies, describes ways astronomical events could wipe out life on Earth and was released in October 2008. from

Plait appeared on two Penn & Teller: Bullshit! episodes. In season 3, he argued against the Apollo moon landing conspiracy theory and in season 7 against astrology. His work has also appeared in the Encyclopædia Britannica Yearbook of Science and the Future and Astronomy magazine. Plait is also a frequent guest on the SETI Institute's weekly science radio show Big Picture Science.

Bad Universe

The final slide to Phil's presentation at the [[JREF's TAM6 The Amazing Meeting convention]] was a website created in the late 90's dedicated to clearing up public misconceptions about astronomy and space science in movies, the news, print, and on the Internet. Plait also debunked several pseudoscientific theories related to space and astronomy, such as Planet X, Richard Hoagland's theories, and most famously, the moon landing "hoax". Plait's original website is now archived and can still be viewed, although now redirects to his current Bad Astronomy blog.

In 2005, Plait started the Bad Astronomy blog. In July 2008, it began to be hosted by Discover Magazine. Primarily an astronomy blog, Plait also posts about skepticism, pseudoscience, antiscience with occasional personal and political posts.

The Bad Astronomy blog has been a finalist in the Weblog awards best science blog category numerous times and a co-winner in 2007. from the Blog award It was also named in's 25 Best blogs 2009.McNichol, Tom. . Time magazine. 2009. Retrieved December 20, 2011.

On November 12, 2012, the Bad Astronomy blog moved to Slate magazine, ending 4 years of being hosted by Discover Magazine.

Personal life

Plait currently resides in Boulder, Colorado with his wife, Marcella, and daughter.. Bad Astronomy. Retrieved December 20, 2011. Plait and his wife run Science Getaways, a vacation company that provides science-based adventures.

In March 2008, Plait had an asteroid named after him by the late astronomer Jeff Medkeff. Asteroid 2000 WG11 was renamed 165347 Philplait. from Blue Collar Scientist from 165347 Philplait from NASA


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