BAN #31: Supporting science, Haboob redux, cruising Star Trek

July 30, 2018 Issue #31

Subscribing to this newsletter will not grant you immortality. You probably already knew this.

Q & BA

You asked. I answered.

In the Bad Astronomy Newsletter #30, reader Josh T asked, “Can you recommend some things that the average person can do to help astronomers and astronomy in general? (Besides subscribing to this newsletter, obviously.)”

Thanks Josh! Here’s my video answer:

This was fairly off-the-cuff, so I’m sure there’s a lot more out there you can do. But in the meantime, the two sites I mentioned are Cosmoquest and Zooniverse. Also, to be clear, I get a lot of wonderful support and positive comments on social media. But in general I get a huge amount of negative comments too, because duh, it's social media. And I'm not a woman, or a person of color; they tend to get far, far more awful comments. So that's why I think just being positive and showing some support on Twitter.

And remember, subscribers can leave comments on these newsletters. So subscribe, leave a comment, and hopefully I’ll be able to answer it on video!

Link o’ the ‘letter

Just a fun link I found or someone told me about 

In BAN #27, I talked about the haboob (a fiercely wind-driven sandstorm) that blew through Arizon a few weeks ago. Photographer Mike Olbinski took amazing video of this same storm:

Yikes. I haven’t changed my mind: I think seeing it on video satiates my desire; I don’t need to see one IRL. You can find more of Mike’s work on his website.

Upcoming Appearances

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

Who has two pointed ears and will be on Star Trek: The Cruise III?

Well, lots of people, but not me. I mean, I don’t have pointed ears, but I will be on the cruise.

Woohoo! I did this cruise last year and it was so much fun, so I’m really excited to be a part of it again. Even better: The MC is my friend Wil Wheaton, whom you may have seen on such shows as Leverage and Eureka. Oh yeah, and also Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Big Bang Theory, and The Guild, and and and.

There will also be a whole starship full of other Trek stars, as well as astronaut Rick Searfoss, Thomas Dolby, and more. We’ll be sailing for Great Stirrup Cay, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. Our ship, the Norwegian Jade, is lovely, state-of-the-art, and recently refitted to be more environmentally friendly (a key part in getting me to participate with the cruise, in fact).

I’ll be giving two astronomy talks and also doing some other shipboard activities (including stopping by the free and very tasty soft ice cream machine at least twice every day). If you’re a Trek fan, this is a really wonderful opportunity to mingle with the people who made it happen.  

The cruise leaves from Miami on January 4 and returns on the 10th. Book now!

P.S. Eaglemoss Collections is running a contest where you can win a free cruise for two!

Et alia

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