Discover Bad Astronomy!

By Phil Plait | July 1, 2008 6:00 pm

Welcome to Discover Blogs, the new home for the Bad Astronomy Blog!

I am very pleased to finally announce my Big News: the Bad Astronomy Blog is now a part of Discover Magazine Blogs.

The BABlog had been the front for my Bad Astronomy pages for over three years. In that time, it grew from a simple newsletter to become one of the biggest science blogs on the planet. For that, I owe thanks to a lot of people, most notably Fraser Cain from Universe Today.

Over time, I’ve received offers from various people and blog collectives to move my blog to their sites, but things never really clicked for me. However, when Discover Magazine talked to me recently, that changed. The magazine has been around a long time, and has a good record of presenting science to people, a goal we have in common. The folks at Discover were warm, friendly, and open to ideas on how to best make sure this move would go smoothly. They were also really great about discussing how to support the blog once things settle down, too.

It maybe helped a little that the magazine’s CEO is a Doctor Who fan. And that they have such other fine blogs as The Loom, Better Planet, and others I’ll link to as they come online.

So the deal was hammered out, and over the past few weeks we have been moving toward consolidating our mighty powers. Links to the old blog posts should redirect here (note that the static HTML web pages, like my Fox Moon hoax page, the debunking of astrology, Planet X, and so on, are still hosted at Those of you who read the blog via feedreaders should still be getting it. Same for email; the transition should be seamless for you. If there are any problems, leave comments below! I know there will be growing pains, but we’ll do what we can to minimize them.

In fact, let me know what you think no matter what’s going on. I always appreciate comments and suggestions.

But most importantly, nothing will change as far as my writing goes. I will still wonder over the beauty of the universe, still hammer away at chuckleheads who deny reality, and still post the odd cartoon, LOLcat, and David Tennant mancrush stuff I always do. I see this as an opportunity to bring all these topics to an even bigger audience, and I won’t be changing my tune now. If anything, I will concentrate harder on all these things. There’s still so much to do.

So to those of you who deny the Apollo Moon landings, or think global warming is a hoax, or want to teach religion in schools, or cry doomsday when none exists, or think aliens are probing your privates, or see the face of Jesus in a drywall water stain, or think the Universe is anything less than 13.7 billion years old… you’d better watch your backs. I’m standing right behind you, and I won’t let your antiscience go on without a fight.

And for those of you who like reality the way it is… keep standing behind me. I still need and want your support. Together, we can keep the forces of evil at bay.


Comments (131)

  1. Brango


    Congratulations on your, ummm, BIG news Phil!

  2. Good Job!

    This is a step up in the world for you, very nice. My biggest fear this morning was that Discover would be censoring your character and stopping the fun of your blog, but it looks like your going to keep on keepin’ on. Congrats!

  3. Welcome home Phil!

    I’m loving the look of the new place, and I’m behind you 100%!

  4. Kevin

    Hope they paid you a lot of money dude.

    I hope at some point that by going to it won’t redirect here. Is that the plan, once everything is settled?

    I remain the one of the faithful, oh mighty BA.

  5. JackC

    Congratulations – and about time you got off that airplane and got it working!


  6. justcorbly

    Hey, nice new digs! Looks to be a WordPress site, which should have eased the transition. Still, buy a beer for the guy who babysat the database. If that was you, buy two beers.

  7. Congrats! While my initial reaction was “oh noes! no more poking holes at religion or other non-reality based folks” it sounds like you’ve ironed that issue out. Phil, you’re quite the ambassador for the science and skeptic community, please keep up the good work!

  8. FrankM

    Outstanding! I think this new home will suit you quite well.


  9. Stark

    So Phil, does this also mean we might be seeing the occasional “Phil Plait” by line in the paper print arm of your new home? I certainly hope so!

  10. Yoo

    Best of luck with the move to a new blog home, Phil! :)

  11. Blaidd Drwg

    Lookin’ good, Dr. BA!

    The only change I would suggest would be to number the posts that come in, for those of us who wish to reference a specific post. But congrats on the new digs, hope you have a long, prosperous future in your new home. Keep on stickin’ it to the wakaloons, and the woomeisters!

  12. I just want you to know Phil, no matter what the format, you are TEH HAWESOME! I’m right behind you every step of the way.

    Just please tell me you won’t stop reviewing movies on occasion. I do enjoy that so very much.

  13. Andre Vienne

    Congrats, Phil. The only problem that I have with the move so far is that the font isn’t as nice and friendly (also, easy to read) as the old one. A small price to pay, I suppose.

  14. wright

    Many well-earned congratulations, Phil! New site looks great!

  15. Kalium

    Together, we can keep the forces of evil at bay.

    In dark times and dark places, there will always be a light, and there will always be someone to guard the flame.

  16. Kurt

    This is awesome. I love it!

  17. STrimmer


    I am excited!!!!

    Congratulations Phil….

  18. STrimmer

    Will this result in a regular BA column in Discovery????

  19. mattie

    Say, that is big news! Well done, Phil.
    Keep fighting the good fight, I’ll keep cheering you on!

  20. GodlessHeathen

    This is awful! Horrible! Terrible!

    I hate orange =-.-=

    Ah well, I’ll keep reading anyway, just ‘cuz I dig science! =-_^=

  21. Egaeus

    So, does this mean that Discover won’t be publishing any more pseudoscience and woo?

  22. Nachtbraker

    Teehee… There is a *HUGE* banner ad in the top for, some blather about 100% accurate horoscopes. BA, please go back to I don’t know if anybody else gets the same advert, so in any case I saved a screenshot here:

  23. Interesting Discovery

    (my RSS through Google Reader showed the last 9 entries, but not this…)


  24. Congratz Phil! Glad you get to keep fighting the good fight! This is exciting, indeed. :-)

  25. Congrats on your new digs! May gajillions of new readers discover you, your message, and your fine bloggy goodness.

    And, of course, your mancrush on David Tennant.

  26. Helioprogenus

    So those of us who think the universe is 13.6999873436 billion years old don’t count? That’s a little extreme BA. You have to provide some temporal allowances.

  27. Oooh! I really like the new layout. Especially with ad placement. The advertisements are a lot less in the way than they were before. I look forward to getting used to this new layout.

  28. Joe

    I’m relieved to hear the content of the pages will remain unchanged, and I’m sure I’ll get used to the new layout soon enough. =D

  29. John

    I’ll have to get used to this color scheme, but I’m still happy for you Phil.


  30. Congratulations, Phil! Good on ya!

  31. Woot! Way to go Phil! Site looks great.

  32. He has written two books, dozens of magazine articles, and 12 bazillion blog articles.

    [emphasis mine]

    Yeah right! I only count a bajillion, max!

  33. sean


    One question, who has editorial control over the content of your blog and the comments? You or Discover Magazine?

    Put another way, if someone writes something that the editors of Discover magazine want to remove but which you think is acceptable – who wins?


  34. Alex

    This layout is a lot better looking in my opinion.

  35. Brie

    Congrats and good luck. I’m not much of a commenter here but read a lot and learned a lot. Nice to know Ill still be fed.

  36. Well, I think that the universe is only 13.69999 billion years old! So there!

  37. firemancarl

    Great Phil. Thanks to you incessant “Oh Dr.” this and “Oh Dr.” that, I have started watching Dr. Who again. The last one I caught was “The Forrest”. Heck, even Mrs. FC likes it as well, though I suppose it’s cause of the Dr.

  38. tim

    Right on, Phil! I have to admit I was a bit skeptical of the choice of venue, having briefly been a Discover subscriber during the years it was owned by Disney. But then I remembered that Discover’s purpose has always been to present science to the general public, and it’s the general public who are most in need of a Bad Astronomer. So well done all around.

  39. allkom

    Congrats. ! Keep on with the great work.

  40. alfaniner

    Very cool!

    But does this mean you won’t be able to post about, you know, the other stuff? (and still no comment preview, for editing…)

  41. mus

    Yay! congrats Phil!

    Having said that, I must also say that I really hate the layout. It’s so… white… and orange… and the DISCOVER banner at the top is so huge… and the font hurts my eyes… and… and… and…

    It’s almost as if the person you have known for years and have seen every day has now changed bodies.

    Sigh. I’m VERY glad the content will still be the same though, and I guess that’s all that counts.

  42. My first post on yer new blog! Do it look good on me?

  43. davidlpf

    I wonder how discover tolerates puns.

  44. Pierre


    I like the new site. Except for the “Stumble it!” images. They’re annoying, distracting,
    ugly, and pretentious. Do you really need them? Have they ever contributed anything really
    good and necessary for you or your readers?

    I miss your “Bad Astronomy” logo too. Is there anyway to include it at the
    top of the Discover Magazine blog?

    Hope you like Canada. :-)

  45. Stephen B.

    Congratulations Phil. I’m sure this is a great step up for you. I enjoy your blogging immensely.

    S. Burrows
    Math Teacher and lover of critical thinking

  46. John

    Congratulations – I’ve been a fan of Discover Magazine for years.

  47. Congratulations! This is a really good fit, topic-wise.

  48. Jen

    How exciting! Now even more people will see how “hawesome” you are! 😀

  49. Um, I get zero pixels between the left-hand side of the text and the window border. It doesn’t cut anything off, but the effect is that it *looks* like something’s been cut off, which makes it somewhat unpleasant to read.

    So, is Discover good again? I dropped my subscription when every issue went heavy on short fiction and articles about sex.

  50. Live long and prosper!

  51. Yay! o/

    Well… +/- 200 million years… ~_^

  52. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Since I was grumpy on the other thread, I will note that since you imported your Overton window to look out on gods appearing in stains or proposed moon fakes, this is A Good Thing. Wash out the stains and hang out the hoaxes to dry in front of the general public!

  53. Congrats on the big news! Hopefully this means even more exposure for BA articles.

    Would you please ask the Blog Overlords to increase the default font size a bit (or go sans-serif, or both), at least in the article itself?

    a tired-eyed curmudgeonly reader

  54. @Mike – I suspect it’s your resolution that is causing the left hand margin to be so far to the left. Looking at mine (1680X1050) it looks like the blog is centered on the page with quite a bit of room to spare. The smaller the resolution the smaller the margin.

    I know, though, that not everyone can crank their resolution for various reasons, I’m just offering a possible explanation. There might be some back end settings, but looking at the other blogs on this site they are the same, so it might just be a template limitation.

  55. Blu-Ray-Ven

    i’ll add my congrats too

  56. duffytvs

    Congratulations, Phil! I like the new digs.

  57. Charlie Brown

    Congrats! I was, however worried that you would loose some of the cheesy sidebar ads. Imagine my relief when I saw an advert telling me I can run my car on water! Goodbye Laws of Thermodynamics! Hello pseudo-science! Woo!

  58. Chinacat

    The first question I had was “who owns the copyright, Phil or Discover?”

  59. Phy

    Hey Phil, will you still be able to call the DI folks the Disco ‘Tute? Y’know, what with being co-branded with a Disco of your own and all…

  60. miller

    What do I think? Honestly, I’m a little worried. Not because I fear change–I read this via rss feed and the move was indeed seemless. But I’m worried because Discover Magazine has been going downhill as of late. It’s not that I dislike the popularization of science, it’s just that Discover seems to embody everything that’s *wrong* with the popularization of science. You know… they seem to use the “David and Goliath” paradigm of science, they often fail to distinguish solid science from fringe science from pseudoscience, etc. etc.

    I just hope that you have a positive influence on Discover, rather than Discover having a negative influence on you.

  61. kimmy

    I have been reading your site for a few months.
    I got your link from Discover magazine.
    I will keep following you post regularly.
    Thank you.

  62. Charles


    Congratulations on the success of your blog. I’ve been enjoying your blog for a couple years now. I really appreciate people who can popularize science for us non-science folks.



  63. Hoonser

    I’m not sure how kindly these ‘Discover’ folks will take to your loose cannon ways. What with making broad statements like ‘Louisiana: Doomed’ or that video you posted about the two coffee shops being right across the street from one another.

  64. sandswipe

    Good to hear you can still have that mancrush. I don’t even like Dr Who (I watched a couple of seasons, but the show just never hooked me), but the occasional update about it is still interesting, and those TARDIS mockups you’ve linked here- I mean, back there, at the old site- were really cool.

    I am curious about the exact degree of editorial control you have as well. Will all those DOOMED posts still go up just as mocking?

  65. # Dennis Says:
    July 1st, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Cool new home, but PZ scooped you on the news:

    Ummm, Dennis… Where did PZ get the news?

    Good on the move, Phil!

  66. Very cool, Phil. For our edification, how does this affect the massive troll blacklist you had amassed over the years from the old blog domain?

  67. Nice! But please, stop mentioning standing behind us in the same sentence as alien probing… ewwwww1

  68. Very awesome, Phil!

    I like how the internet puts us all on first name basis.

  69. hale_bopp

    Well, I followed you here…wow! I have been reading you for an amazingly long time and seen this grow from a really dicey forum with darn near impossible to decipher threads to this…what a trip!

    Although I have a bone to pick arleady…I think the universe is 13.7 billion years old plus or minus 2%…of course you realize this means war :)

  70. Cindy

    Congrats on the move, Phil.

    Gee, you’re moving up in the world. Just don’t get an ego like Carl Sagan’s.

  71. space cadet

    I had to look at Discover’s website to make sure it wasn’t associated with the TV network with the similar name. Whew! I was real concerned for a minute, there.

  72. I for one welcome your new corporate overlords.

    Congrats, Phil! You’re my own personal Jesus.

  73. Phil Phan

    Congrats Phil, this is a really great achievement for your. Your career has gone so far, just look where you’re at today. I just had a few things I noticed:

    – The font size is pretty small, I see sort of a semi-consensus on that in the comments.
    – Older posts in which you embedded YouTube videos do not appear in your posts
    – Phil, you have so many dedicated fans, and your outreach is tremendous. I think its time to remove the reddit, and stumbleupon buttons; they are just pesky and make you seem sort of needy for attention. I think you should keep the Digg button (but it should be placed in a more aesthetically pleasing location instead of like a header of every post) because you get a lot of hits on Digg and it provides excellent exposure for your.

    In all, its great to see your success, and all the luck with this new site, and the upcoming book!

  74. tamar

    Congratulations! That’s great news.

  75. Electro

    What did the editors of Discover promise for you to bring your
    Army of BaBlogees with you.

    I’ll bet that this is the most traffic this site has seen in a long time.

    However, when I try to intrest friends in science I suggest “Discover” for the curious, “Scientific American” for those well read and “The Sciences”
    for those whose education exceeds my own. Now I can just say check out the BA.

  76. Electro

    As “Phil Phan” says getting rid of the Digg/Reddit/Stumbleit would be very popular with me. I dont know how many visitors have trouble loading this crap but I would be interested to know how many actually use it. It was suggested to me a few days ago to install Firefox but this is a company work station and that involves red tape.

  77. OtherRob

    Congrats, BA! I’ve been reading your blog for over a year now, I think, and I’m looking forward to many more. :-)

  78. geomaniac

    You have come full circle for me Phil. I first became aware of through a small throw-away piece in Discover Magazine! This was before you even had a blog so you know that it was many moons ago.

    Congrats on the move and please keep the quality of your blog as high as we have become accustomed to.

  79. geomaniac

    Plus I will really miss those small touches that “your” blog had. “Luke I am your footer” comes to mind. Waaahh, I guess I’ll just have to get used to it…

  80. Crudely Wrott

    Ah. Here you are, Dr. Phil. A pleasant surprise. I used to subscribe to Discover in its adolescence; enjoyed it. I hope that this union will prove to beneficial to both you and the magazine.

  81. Nicole

    “…or think the Universe is anything less than 13.7 billion years old…”

    Sir, back AWAY from the Hubble constant! You, yes you!

    Congrats on the new digs.

  82. Wes

    Wow. Two big pieces of news for me. I wasn’t aware you moved, and I wasn’t aware Carl Zimmer moved his blog either.

    I guess there’s a new player on the sci-blogging turf. Must update my bookmarks…

  83. Brian

    Phil, that was a lovely introductory post. Thanks, and welcome back to the blagosphere.

  84. Pop

    Good on yer, mate! Glad to see you moving up in the world. Next thing ya know, you’ll be reaching for the stars. WooHoo! Made a funny, there.

  85. Mike

    When I was working my way through University I took a job refinishing a bathroom and laundry room. The whole house was Christian Kitsch. I installed a door and noticed that woodwork looked vaguely like a face. With wood stain and polyurethane, I created the face of Jesus.

    She gave me an extra $300.

  86. Thomas Siefert

    Don’t know what to think really, it’s a bit like you have abandoned the good old homey Serenity for the inner planets and The Alliance. :-)

  87. madge

    Hey nice place you have here! I LOVE what you have done with it! Welcome home Phil! Right behind you all the way :)

  88. HA! HALE Bopp is a Creationist!

  89. quasidog

    Not bad. It’s gonna take a bit of getting used to not reading the old blue text, (hehe) but one thing is a major win … this new blog doesn’t seem to have any of those obnoxious advertisments that the old one had. ;p Looks much more professional this way.

    BTW ….. the last DR Who episodes 4×11,4×12 .. were the best yet, possibly even better than ‘Blink’. Hanging for 4×13 season finale. Exterminate !

  90. Jeez!
    I typed the web address twice. Thought I went by mistake on one of many web-spammers copycats sites.

    Looks like with BA blog’s help discovermagazine going to double their traffic ( Wondering how the move affected your auditory.

    Well, I really miss good old BA’s design.

    Anyway, congrads!

  91. HCN

    Egaeus Says:
    “So, does this mean that Discover won’t be publishing any more pseudoscience and woo?”

    I made sure to NOT renew Discover magazine after a very idiotic mercury woo story. The idiot “writer” even included a paragraph on the MMR without explaining that it did NOT contain thimerosal (which has a mercury atom).

    It is in the same rank as OMNI, and that is not good.

    Perhaps you and Zimmer can be an influence of good and bring up the actual science quality of your sponsor publication.

  92. quasidog

    Oh ok .. so the ad is still there. Well that is ok because Its in the top right hand corner and doesn’t move when you scroll. The fact I didn’t even notice it = win ;p

  93. olis

    Have anyone noticed that the text of the comments is grey and not black? That isn’t easy to read and causes much more eyestrain.

  94. The Yorkshire Sceptic

    ‘Discover’ huh?

    You sure this isn’t part of a deep-laid plot by the Discover-Y Institute…?


  95. Michelle

    Well, good for you.

    Are you gonna restore your home page to its old state now that the blog’s gone from there?

  96. Wow, Phil! I had no idea. How cool!

    Discover and Omni were the first science magazines to come out that really caught my eye. I was an issue #1 subscriber to both. Discover still ranks up there as one of the best, and it’s great to see you a part of that and get some recognition from the “establishment”.

    I’m proud of you, brother!

    Ditto here on the font size and color. Some of your posters are getting up in age. Orange hurts the eye and a size 8 font is just too small to deal with.

  97. firemancarl

    Phil, I dunno if you’ve seen this. My guess is that you have. but it would make a great BA theme song no?

  98. Maxwell

    I will say nothing more than ASCII metal-hands and that I will bear your children if you will let me.

    m/ >< m/

    Congratulations, Phil. Many more years!

  99. Eric

    As a long time reader of Discover (I actually found out about BA in an issue of Discover some months ago) I can only consider this to be good news. I hope it all works out for you and that you continue to practice bad astronomy…oops, did that come out right?

  100. Nadia
  101. Kevin

    Congrats, Phil! You’ve earned it!

  102. ARP1234

    While I have a less than enthusiastic view of Discover magazine –
    I used to call it Scientific American Lite, until SciAm became
    rather “lite” itself – if you are happy with this arrangement
    and are able to continue writing freely, then things should be

    But do we have to look at that big DISCOVER logo every time?

    And if you ever hear them say “Resistence is futile” – RUN!

  103. Navneeth

    Congrats on the move, Phil!

    I just hope this stays the same old BABlog, now in orange and paying. 😉

  104. BMcP

    PZ Meyers already let the cat out of the bag by posting a link to the main blog page of the Discover magazine site (and there you were), but cool none the less.

  105. A few people (or maybe one person in several places on the Web) have complained that Discover magazine has “gone downhill” as of late with respect to the quality of their reporting on scientific issues. I don’t know. I haven’t read Discover in years. But, here’s to you lending your scientific integrity to Discover. Maybe their outreach to the science writers such as yourself is a sign they are interested in maintaining their credibility. We’ll all be keeping an eye on them 😉

  106. R2K

    “The folks at Discover were warm, friendly, and open to ideas on how to best make sure this move would go smoothly. ”

    I wonder how much money they gave… :)

    I would guess $180,000 per year.

    Hmm with a percentage of add revs. off the page? 25% add revs.

  107. BlondeReb3

    Nice new home/website Dr. BA! I like it :-)

    Keep the science coming!

  108. Walkiria

    Love it love it love it.

    Andyway, if you change it to somewhere else, put purple font over blue background, used childish font or anything else, I would continue reading.

    Congrats Phil! You still have a loyal Mexican fan hehe.

  109. FordPrefect

    Congrats ^_^

    I like the new blog design.

  110. I don’t really care for the blog being here. I liked it a lot better where it was.

  111. GPPlascencia

    Awsome! Just Awsome! Congratulations!!!

  112. SimpleGuy

    Movin’ on up! Congrats.

  113. Ryan

    Looks good and all. I think I only have 2 beefs with it thus far: I don’t care for the font too much (which you’ve addressed), and I don’t know about other people and browsers, but I have no pixel buffer between the left hand side of the page and when the text starts. Needs at least 5 to 10 pixels of empty space. Letters and images beginning flush against the left hand side of my browser (Firefox) just… doesn’t look right.

    Otherwise, congratulations on the move to Discover.

  114. drow

    globally binky. i’ve had a discover subscription since about 1984, and have always enjoyed the magazine. hope its a good match!

  115. Pro Libertate

    Congratulations, Phil! And best wishes for your “new” gig!

  116. Glad to see that DISCOVER is getting better 😉

  117. Ooh, it’s so aesthetically pleasing. Congrats, Phil! I will visit here daily.

  118. Michael Campbell

    Seriously. The value of this blog is its content; not the form, not the location. A new meteor discovery getting within eyesight of earth (or hitting it!), discovery of amino acids in the Martian ice, a non-natural radio signal at SETI, a protein folding breakthrough; THOSE are big news that warrant a pre-announcement and a half dozen “not yet, soon!” updates.

    But that you changed your URL and now the blog is hard to read? Yeah, not so much.

    OK, fanboys, go ahead and roast me now.

  119. Gebo

    The new blog looks great! Congratulations with the move.

  120. TFra

    I hope this is just another step forward for us all. The world is bigger than it was in Dr. Sagan’s day, and it will take many folks to fill the badly needed role of “spokesmen of science”. I think I speak along with many of the readers of your work when I say we are proud to be fans and supporters. Keep moving forward!

  121. Omedeto, Phil.

    I hope this move brings an additional income source to you, too.

    Keep on bloggin…combating the nonsense that permeates our society.

  122. Big Frankie

    Spiffy new format…

  123. Ty

    Ah great layout, a wonderful improvement. Congratulations!

  124. Seo

    Well some like this way, Buy I think you should consider the another side of the toppic too. Thanks

  125. Bad Astronomy, a Discover Magazine blog by astronomer Phil Plait that covers bad science and bad science journalism, unveiled a case of what he calls “dangerous” science reporting last weekend in a September 19th Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC AU News) report about H1N1 Flu vaccines.S


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