BAN #27: Comic Con, meteorites, and a haboob

July 16, 2018 Issue #27

Subscribing to this newsletter will make your Thursdays even Bad Astronomyer.


Q & BA

You asked. I answered.

In the BAN #26, Omphemetse Mputle asked how we know that diogenite meteorites come from the protoplanet Vesta. I’m here to help! 

You can find links to more details in the notes on the YouTube page. The question was sparked due to this photo I posted on Instagram:


Remember, paid subscribers to this newsletter can leave comments and questions, and I’ll pick one every week and answer it on video. So ask away!


Link o’ the ‘letter

Just a fun link I found or someone told me about

I was in Tucson, Arizona last week for Spacefest IX, which was a lot of fun. I got to reconnect with some old friends, hear some cool talks, and give a talk of my own about exoplanets.

It was ridiculously hot there, and I barely stepped outside the whole time I was there. And it looks like I left just in time. On July 9 — the day after I went home — the weather got worse. A sandstorm swept through nearby Phoenix, and it was massive. Technically called a haboob (from an Arabic word) this was a wall of dust that marched across the desert.

Photographer Jesse Watson caught it on a time-lapse, and yikes: 

I think this particular event was similar to a microburst, which I’ve written about before. My first thought is that it would be interesting to see one, but then, I thought that before I saw a tornado from not very far away, and you know what? Some weather events are best seen in video.


Upcoming Appearances

Where I’ll be doing things you can watch and listen to

I am very happy to let you nerds know that I will be at San Diego Comic Con this week! I’m doing two official events:

Thursday July 19 at 5:45 p.m. (PDT): I’m moderating a NASA-sponsored panel called “The Science of Star Trek”, featuring Morgan Cable, Jessie Christiansen, Hallie Lambert, and André Bormanis. We’ll be talking about planets and life in the Star Trek universe, how realistic they are, and what we’re doing to look for real aliens out there in the black.

Friday July 20 at 2:00 p.m. (PDT): I’m also participating in Science Speed Dating, sponsored by the Science and Entertainment Exchange.  This is fun, where different scientists and other professionals have just a few minutes each to talk about something they are passionate about without the use of any visuals or slideshows. If you can’t attend, it’ll be streamed live.

I’m sure I’ll pop up here and there around the con, too. There’s a lot to see and do. I hope to see some of you there! 


Blog Jam

What I’ve recently written on the blog, ICYMI

Monday, June 18, 2018: A (possibly) record-breaking exoplanet found with a ten-year orbit

Tuesday, June 19, 2018: Science, humanity, and the necessity of making mistakes (video of my latest TEDxBoulder talk!)

Wednesday, June 20, 2018: Postscript and transcript: About making mistakes in science

Thursday, June 21, 2018: News: Monster black holes shoot out neutrinos like cosmic bullets

 Friday, June 22, 2018: We now have official high-res maps of Pluto and Charon


Et alia

You can email me at thebadastronomer@gmail.com (though replies can take a while), and all my social media outlets are gathered together at about.me. Also, if you don’t already, please subscribe to this newsletter! And feel free to tell a friend or nine, too. Thanks!