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Soyuz Docks with Space Station.

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Soyuz Docks with Space Station

Image credit: NASA
South African space tourist Mark Shuttleworth and his two crewmates arrived at the International Space Station when their Soyuz capsule docked on Saturday. The three visitors entered and were greeted with big hugs by the station's residents. A few hours later Shuttleworth was congratulated by South African President Thabo Mbeki for his achievement of becoming the first African in space.

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Apr 27, 2002, 6:05am

Book Review: Bad Astronomy by Phil Plait

Astronomer Phil Plait has found a great niche for himself - debunking bad science, specifically Bad Astronomy. He's been at it on the web for years, and it came as no surprise to me when I found out there was a book deal in the works.

Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon landing "Hoax" is exactly what it sounds like. For 260ish pages Phil takes a look at many of the common misconceptions that have plagued astronomy for years.

The first half of the book is interesting reading, but it's more of a science book. Phil looks at many of the commonly misunderstood concepts in astronomy and sets the record straight. I'd like to think I know a little about astronomy, so I was pretty surprised to learn I was misinformed about many aspects of the basics: tides, meteors, gravity.

It's in the second half of the book where Plait really hits his stride as he examines some of the "bad astronomy" hatched more recently: Apollo Moon landing hoaxes, UFOs etc. Because the culprits are still spinning out the bad science, Phil firmly debunks their "theories". I especially enjoyed the Top Ten Examples of Bad astronomy in Hollywood.

If I had a complaint, it's that Phil spends a little too much time explaining how to balance an egg in any season (a whole chapter!, but I guess he was trying to make a point). Seriously, though, it's a great book, not Bad astronomy at all.

Click here to find out more from Amazon.com.

Soyuz Launches with Space Tourist

Image credit: RSC Energia
Space tourist Mark Shuttleworth is finally on his way to visit the International Space Station. Shuttleworth and his companions, Yuri Gidzenko and Roberto Vittori, lifted off from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 0626 GMT (2:26 am EDT) on board a Russian Soyuz rocket. The Soyuz will dock with the International Space Station on Saturday. This team will visit the station for a week, and then return to Earth in the replacement Soyuz currently docked.

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Apr 25, 2002, 1:29pm

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