Mo’stronomy in Motown

By Phil Plait | April 28, 2008 10:07 am

I’m going to be heading to Michigan in May to attend the premier of — get this — the Bad Astronomy planetarium show!

I’ve been working with folks from the New Detroit Science Center for some time now on this project. Well, to be more honest, they’ve been working really hard, and I’ve been heckling them. Last year I flew to Detroit to film some segments for it, and from what I have seen the show will be funny, informative, silly, and perhaps with a slight hint of fromage. I have not seen the final product, so it’ll be as big a surprise to me as it is to everyone there.

I’ll be at the NDSC all day on May 10th from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and giving a talk at 1:00. They’re charging a nominal fee for this, seeing as how I’ll be a huge star after the premier. Click here for the flyer. I’ll be happy to sign books, too; they’ll have copies of my first book there for purchase. The second book, Death from the Skies!, won’t be out until October but as usual I’ll be shilling it mercilessly and without remorse.

While I’m in Michigan I’ll be giving a talk at the nearby Cranbrook Institute of Science, a nice museum outside of Detroit. The talk is on May 9th from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $10 ($8 for members). They require pre-registration, so they know how many rotten tomatoes to stock.

I graduated from the University of Michigan, so it’ll be nice to be back in the land of harsh vowels, Vernor’s soda pop, and holding up your hand to show people where you’re from. And if you don’t get that last one, well, you’re just not from Meeechigan.


Comments (26)

  1. KC

    Sounds like fun. I liked the Bad Astronomy logo framed by Scorpio and a Flying Saucer.

  2. Kevin


    Our observatory is having one of our regular public nights that evening, and I have to be there!!

    Hey BA, come over to the west side of the state!! We’d love to have you talk over here.

  3. Dave

    Since I live in the area, I’m planning on being at both events. I attended one of your presentations at Albion College a couple of years ago, and really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to attending one of your presentations again!

    I’d probably be at the Science Center that day anyhow. My astronomy club helps out at the Science Center on Astronomy Day by setting some scopes up outside for some solar observing. Its a lot of fun showing off the sun for folks as they come and go. This just gives me extra incentive to show up!

  4. I do know what you mean by the last one, but in a different way – I live in WV and to show people where something is in the state, we have to flip them off. It’s fun, especially when they haven’t seen it before.

    (To make WV with your hand: take your right hand, stick the thumb out, stick the middle finger up, and turn your hand so the palm is facing you. Congrats, that’s my state!)

  5. Quiet_Desperation

    Will there be a laserium show, too?

    God, I’m old… :-(

  6. meredith

    Go Blue! Sounds like an awesome addition to the science center. I blame them and Cranbrook for my path in life (astro grad student). Enjoy the mitten!

  7. hale_bopp

    Yeah, you silly Wolverines. Spartans rule :)

  8. Greg

    >>holding up your hand to show people where you’re from.

    You can do that if your from Florida as well – only you don’t use your hand.

  9. nowoo

    >>holding up your hand to show people where you’re from.

    I lived in Michigan years ago, and now I’m in Vancouver, where you can do the same map trick by turning your hand 90 degrees counter-clockwise. The Fairview neighbourhood of Vancouver is the equivalent of Midland Michigan, and Kent County, MI is the equivalent of Vancouver’s Oakridge neighbourhood.

    Now I should get back to work in the Vancouver equivalent of Cheboygan.

  10. Eric

    Although I can hardly agree with your choice of schools, I am positive that Michigan State has a much better Astronomy Program, I am happy to hear that you will be in Michigan. Ill be sure to make it to at least one of the events, maybe both.

  11. Spock's Brain

    I lived in Michigan for a year once.

    But since the comments policy is “be polite,” I have nothing to say about it.

  12. Well, nuts. You come to my neck of the woods, and I will be out of the state that weekend.

    I hope you have a great trip.

    Will you have any time to drop into Ann Arbor for a Blimpy Burger or suchlike?

  13. Debra

    Did you know Jim Loudon at U of M? Actually, you’re probably too young. He gave great lectures to the general public on astronomy and the space program, etc. in the late ’70s/early ’80s.

  14. Debra, I did know Jim, but only tangentially, through my friend Dan Durda who knew him much better. I did attend one of his talks, and it was really good.

  15. Harsh vowels? Do Michiganders really have accents?
    Maybe I’ll see you at the Science Center!

  16. Supernova

    Heh, we did that in Wisconsin too (right hand, palm facing you). Funny how widespread it is. Doesn’t work so well in Colorado, eh Phil? :)

  17. Ibeechu

    This is excellent. I will surely try to go. God, I wish I had my own car. My mom might have to take me. 😛
    I severely hope I can get the members-only tickets, but it didn’t say how much they were on that flyer. Do you know, Phil?

  18. David Masten

    What do you have against people from the northern reaches of that fine state?

  19. Michael Farmer

    I bought tickets 2 weeks ago. I can’t tell you how excited I am to attend!

  20. Zyggy

    mmmm….Vernor’s. I have to pay about $7 a six-pack in Salt Lake City for a taste of that…Oh, right, this is about Bad Astronomy, not good soda.

    IMHO many more places (Salina, KS., Texas in general) NEED to have this type of program to reveal misconceptions in the world of science. Bravo Phil!

    …now if someone could only make a mainstream show that debunks all that “intelligent design” nonsense.

  21. Mark

    Hehe, I remember a high school science club trip to Cranbrook. We saw the Dark Side of the Moon Laserium show at their planetarium. They have an awesome collection of gems, stones, geodes, etc..

    BA a Wolverine? First thing I’ve been disappointed in learning about you 😉

  22. Clair

    I was so ready to hop on a plane to be there for the day, but alas… no real public transit and I can’t afford a rental car or a taxi to and from the airport. :-(

  23. I’ll be at Cranbrook. Won’t make it to the Detroit Science Center on Sat, as Cranbrook is hosting Astronomy Day, as usual. The Warren Astronomical Society (a club) is supporting the event with solar scopes. Afterwards, we’re doing an open house at our observatory. Come see the 22″ Dob.

    Hope the weather cooperates. We often get the Michigan Nebula. A much more frequent beast than, for example, the Arizona Nebula. Detroit is 2nd only to Seattle for cloudy days. When we go a calendar month without sunshine, it’s hard to imagine Seattle.

  24. baryogenesis

    The whole focus of Cranbrook must have changed, for I seem to remember it as an art school . Come to think of it, I recall seeing an article about their selling off the Egyptian artifacts from their museum collection years ago. While there, ask the locals about the Red Fox Inn; last known siting of Jimmy Hoffa, not far from there. Some Michiganders have a bit of a nasally accent.

  25. Cranbrook is an art academy, high school, girls school, and they have a science museum among other things. If I didn’t have another art event to attend tonight I would be at Cranbrook but as it is I think I will be there Saturday at 1:00. Funny though to have just found this page two days ago and then yesterday you reveal that you’re coming to my area only weeks before I abandon southeast Michigan for graduate school in Wisconsin… Must be the result of some kind of astrological symmetry or some such…

  26. man on the moon

    i grew up just north of A2, spent a fair amount of time in lots of places around there. While as a city Detroit is rather miserable (sorry, I happen to agree!) they do have some sweet museums. We did several trips to the children’s science museum (whatever it’s called, I LOVED it) and Cranbrook’s various offerings. Cranbrook I appreciated much more as a middle/high schooler than as a kid.

    Now I live in sunny California, but am actually in Michigan this week for the brother’s graduation, but plans are made for the today. As I write this, you are probably gearing up or getting up for the program. If you ever make it back to the general Bay area in Cali, I may stop by!


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