Coast to Coast AM interview tonight!

By Phil Plait | August 27, 2008 6:07 pm

I’ll be on the Coast to Coast AM radio show tonight from 11:00 – midnight Mountain time (05:00 – 06:00 UTC)! They just called and needed someone to fill in; it’s been a while since I’ve been on so this’ll be nice. The host, George Noory, and I like each other, and he’s an easy guy to talk to. We disagree on a few issues, as you might expect, but we still respect each other and get a kick out of chatting. I’ll probably be talking about the Mythbusters, of course, the news from Hubble today about dark matter (I haven’t had a chance to write it up, but the ever-diligent Universe Today has the goods) and probably plug Dragon*Con, which I’ll be attending this weekend (and I’ll have a post up about that Thursday).

You can find the affiliate stations that carry C2C at their site, linked above. Many stations stream it (I like CFUN) so you can listen no matter where you are.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: About this blog, Astronomy, Cool stuff

Comments (50)

  1. Dark matter FTW! Very cool to have another example like the Bullet Cluster.

    Hmmm… 1am ET, I may still be awake. I haven’t listened to Coast to Coast since I was a credulous kid fascinated with UFOs…

  2. Dave Hall

    Great! I listen to Coast to Coast AM on the drive home from work every night. It will be a treat to hear someone from Earth as a guest. I am looking forward to a fun evening.

  3. CFUN is in Vancouver! Yeah! I can hear you!

  4. Grand Lunar

    At last! A guest worth listening to!

    I only recently tuned into Coast to Coast AM, and my experience hasn’t been too exciting. Too much attention to ghost hunters, UFO claims, pseudoscience, ect.

    At least now I’ll have a reason to tune in and listen to the whole thing.
    It’s be midnight where I’m at.

  5. I’m going to be a hypocrite and say I’m both pleased and displeased to hear about this. Pleased that the show actually does give some (not equal, but some) time to skeptics, scientists and critical thinkers.

    Mostly however, what Art Bell did and what George Noory does is capitalize on and exploit others’ weaknesses. That it’s often entertaining makes it no less exploitive. You can’t argue with the success of the show and that exploitation works, but I am surprised (and a bit disappointed) to hear that you “respect” Mr. Noory.

    People like George Noory are good for your “job security”, but wouldn’t you rather live in a world where doing what you do was less necessary and not more necessary? P.S. I love your blog, and I’m very glad that you do it, but I’d prefer to live in a world where it wasn’t necessary. Is that really a worse dream than believing aliens regularly land on the planet, stargate like wormholes are a foregone conclusion, crop circles were made by aliens, and dead people contact us all the time?

  6. Kaptain K

    I’ll be listening!

  7. Not sure what’s up with the CFUN feed, but they seem to be broadcasting an hour delay.

  8. Ok, now I’m picking up Coast to Coast on CFUN. Not sure what happened.

  9. Tony

    Good Luck Phil, it’s always good to hear you, especially so you can wash that loon, Hoagland, out of my head.

  10. Topher
  11. I’m enjoying the show, Phil!

  12. Awesome show! Really enjoyed it. I love your enthusiasm, it’s contagious.

  13. Patrick H

    Really enjoyable show, just got done reading it while working around the house. Thought it was interesting that the classic question about looking at the Apollo lander on the moon came again.

  14. Fred

    Great job, Phil. I liked the shout out to Richard and A at the end of the show. Have fun at D*C!

  15. Avi Steiner

    I love how he said, as soon as you were finished, “And next we are interviewing [some guy] about developments in past life regression therapy” (approximately).

  16. Evil German

    Great show Phil and I can’t wait to read about the new hubble picture.

  17. David

    Yeah, am’ enjoying the show too, Phil-excepting, that finding it hard to deal with the fact that no one-I repeat no one, listens to me, of how the earth could avoid being hit by an ‘Astroid Collision’, in the future. As, I heard you mention it, on ‘C to C AM’.

    I actually have the ‘Solution’ to the problem, an no one cares! I’ve written George Noory, Art Bell, an Ian Punitt, an the best reply I get, is from Ian, saying: “Good Luck to ya’!” Well, big deal.

    An the Apathy, concerning this, dumbfounds me, as I cannot see why no one, can understand, that my solution, is the best, cheapest, an most direct way of solving this problem!

    So (Relatively) Cheap, it would astound the scientific community! Yet, no one seems to care, as it doesn’t directly affect them now, an only looms out there in the future, for other’s to handle. But; by then it’ll be too late.

    We have to act now, to avoid this catastrophy. An even if it doesn’t collide with earth, there will be others in the future that will… I’m hear to tell you, you’d better start listening to me.

    Someone… Someone out there, that can make a difference, please write me at: (But, only if you can prove your credentials, an if you can actually make a difference, an get something going, in relation to this topic of conversation!

    This remedy to a most perplexing problem, that no one seems to want to confront, because all this looms in the future! But; believe me, it will affect you, if you’re young enough, or your relatives, or offspring will be affected by this dilemma! (Sp.) Please write me, if you care!

    Will listen, but you have to be sincere, no bad emails please! Because I do have a good working solution to this problem, so cheap it would blow the minds of most people at NASA. By the way, wrote them too! ‘NO REPLY EITHER!’

    I know this would work; but no one seems to care! I need to talk with someone, whom has some clout, in this field of endeavor! Please, if you are someone who truly is concerned, an cares to hear, an can get someone of importance to listen, then by all means, write me at the above address, an let me know who, you know!

    I want to save you all. I want to save us all! But; no one will listen. In approx. 18 some odd years it will matter, very much! And then someone will listen… But, by then it will be too late! Write when you will…
    Sincerely, David

  18. David

    Oh, also, I wish to say at this time, that ‘C to C AM’, can answer an email from the ‘Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders’ writing in to them; yet, cannot even take the time it would take to just ‘Explore’ this option of mine, a ‘Remedy’ to the problem of future astroids hitting the earth! I have the solution, an no one seems to care!!!
    Signed, Thoroughly Disgusted

  19. I can’t find the original Apollo photos that you talk about on C to C, But what I really want to see and maybe even download is the original videos. I paid for those video with my tax dollar, can you please shed some light on this matter.

  20. That was fun, as it usually is. Man, you have to think on your feet sometimes; the questions can be really hard to answer. People always want to know the answers to questions that — to answer correctly — would take ten minutes to explain. :-)

    Still and all, it’s a good time. George is a good host, and it’s always cool to chat with him.

  21. I typed in your web site search page “Original apollo videos” and this is what I got back… Your search – “Original apollo videos” – did not match any documents. and without the quotes, I got lots of junk. All I got to say now is Google sucks, you web site sucks, and most of all you may suck,

  22. David L

    Hi, I called the show tonight and asked the question about why no one has taken a pic of the stuff we left on the moon. Its hard to believe that with all the tech that we have that we cant see the stuff on the moon. We can peer millions of light years into space, have satillites that can see poeples face on earth from orbit. I just seems a little odd to me. Thank You.

  23. CanadianLeigh

    I didn’t check in until the show was over. Can I download a replay? I would sure like to hear it. Can’t believe it was our CFUN your listening to. Go figure. If your on the show again I hope you will be able to give us more warning.

  24. Of-topic but this anti-science is killing me. Take a look (

  25. madge

    ATTENTION ALL BRITS! On Thursday September 4th BBC4 is showing two programmes to celebrate the start up of LHC. At 8:00 pm Lost Horizons: the Big Bang looks at the the theory through the BBC archives with Professor Jim Al-Khalili and at 9:00 pm Professor Brian(swoon)Cox fronts The Big Bang Machine, a tour of LHC and explanation of the experiments significance. Then on September 10th BBC Radio 4 is turning over the schedules to BIG BANG DAY a complete day of programmes celebrating the big switch on. With experts and even a special episode of TORCHWOOD!

  26. Grand Lunar

    Glad I managed to listen in.
    I forgot there’s another time zone between me and Mountain time, so I expected to hear the broadcast at midnight, rather than at 1am to 2am.

    I was going to remark on you being quite the night owl Phil, when I realized that as an astronomer, you must be used to it. True?

    I was pleased to hear the fears on the LHC being tackled, as well as the reason we can’t yet spot the Apollo artifacts on the moon.
    That’s some news about the LRO’s resolution. Capable of seeing stuff down to 18 inches or so? We definately ought to have it look at the Apollo sites.
    Wonder what excuse the HBs will make then.

  27. fred edison

    Good to hear you on again, Phil. Make that +1 for science.

  28. Funny, I was just writing about your past astronomical debates on Coast to Coast today. Ahhh, memories. Where IS Nancy Leider these days anyway?

  29. MARIA

    I listened to Philip on Coast to Coast AM and I was wondering why all these scientists insist on treating us like morons. I am reffering to the phone call from a listener and he asked that if we went to the moon why don’t they use these telescopes to take pics of the moon landing (objects we left there) site. Well Philip answered by telling this man that the Hubble is not strong enough to see so close to the surface of the moon (the moon objects are too small to see with Hubble). Well I’m sorry but this is BULL. First of all Hubble takes pictures of Galaxies, Nebulas, etc., that are millions of light years away. Second of all Hubble is plenty strong, that’s the problem, it’s too strong. If they point Hubble to the moon’s surface all you would get is a big blur. The Hubble lenses are too powerful for the surface of the moon. So either Philip is wrong or The Hubble is wrong.

  30. drksky

    Ah drat, I missed it. Any chance of posting a replay of your portion of the show? Or are there licensing issues?

  31. Daffy

    Enjoyed the show a LOT, Phil.

    I can’t help asking, though. Do you think Noory actually believes all the nonsense he spews? Or is he just pandering? Do you have a take on that? I gotta wonder.

    In any case, you were definitely a breath of fresh air. Good on ya!

  32. Sci_Tchr

    Coast to Coast will be worth listening to, tonight!

    The MythBusters did a very good job with the Moon Hoax last night. I thought they went easy on the Hoaxers, though. But great science!

  33. Badger3k

    How do you respect someone who said that they would believe anything they heard (specifically about aliens, conspiracies, bigfoot, maya end times prophecies, etc) unless someone proved it to be false? I could enjoy the stupidity sometimes, and hope that maybe he wasn’t a moron, but when he said that, I lost whatever last shreds of respect I had for him. All I can say is that I have a letter for him – it’s from a Nigerian Prince….

  34. Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Cool. Space Ghost is awesome.


  35. Zach


    Hubble’s an extremely powerful tool for exploring the deeper reaches of space, and it exceeds at making the (seemingly) very small readily observable–we’re talking gigantic structures (galaxies etc.) that are very, very distant from Earth. Unfortunately, this means that the resolution of the telescope is a little less than stellar for objects that are (for all intents and purposes on the scale of space) right next to it. The article explains why Hubble is both a great telescope, but the wrong tool for the job that you’re proposing.

    And Grand Lunar….C to C AM is kind of all about the whack-a-loon theories of nutjobs. The reason that’s all you hear on the show is because that’s what the show is about…it’s kind of their thing.

  36. Vernon Balbert

    I listened into the broadcast and was pleased at how it went overall. The nutter who went on about the Philadelphia Experiment who went on and on about axions was a hoot.

    And the Mythbusters episode ROCKED! It had to be one of the more expensive shows to shoot, though. So much of it involved 3rd parties like the George C. Marshall Space Center in Alabama, Zero G in Florida, the laser in New Mexico, etc. The only thing that I didn’t like about it was that because there was so much stuff in the show a lot of the details about how things were made was left out. Oh, and no explosions. But it was still mondo cool!

  37. Beelzebud

    I stopped listening to George Noory when he started invitng Jerome Corsi of the swiftboat vets for truth on the show.

    Noory is a neo-conservative hack.

  38. ND


    Nebulas are actually quite large in the sky and some of them would actually appear larger than the moon if they were bright enough to seen by the naked eye. Would be a very impressive sight. You’re also assuming that the lunar lander would show up larger than the galaxies in an identical Hubble photo.

    What you want is a small but still powerfull camera in orbit around the moon. Such a camera orbits Mars right now and was able to show the Phoenix lander and it’s parachute. So far there has not been a scientific need to send such a camera to lunar orbit. And no one was willing to spend $100M+ just to take pictures of the Apollo sites to prove something the vast majority of the people on earth do not dispute. Although I think an upcoming lunar mission with such a camera onboard. Someone correct me if this is true or not.

  39. Justin


    ND is correct, an upcoming mission to the Moon will carry a camera capable of spotting small objects like the Apollo hardware on the Moon. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) will launch in February, and although I haven’t read of plans to image the Apollo sites mentioned by official sources, I’m assuming it will happen. Imaging Phoenix, Spirit, Opportunity and the Vikings on Mars hardly fits into the science being done by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, but it is great for public relations, so I’m betting LRO will follow suit.

    More on LRO:

    [fanning the flames]

    But couldn’t NASA just doctor those photos, too?

    LRO will really be a model airplane flying over a plaster version of the Moon’s surface in a Hollywood soundstage!

    [/fanning the flames]

    I’ve never understood the intense desire some people have for this proof of the Moon landings. Besides, when real evidence is presented, it’s so easy to take the conspiracy one step further, as demonstrated above. It’s been said before, but it bears repeating that at some point it just becomes easier to actually go to the Moon than to put on the show. Same can be said for the hoax believers- at some point it’s got to be easier to just accept that it happened rather than look for more “evidence” of a “cover-up.” Oh well, it does keep me entertained late at night.

  40. Cliff

    Phil I know this may be hard to believe, but Hoagland presented one of the best refutations of the Moon Hoax on the web. Hell, it IS hard to believe. But I guess Hoagland a brief, albeit very brief moment of clarity.

    I’ve grown to accept that Coast to Coast is just one big zoo of the mind and the outer limits of human belief. Try not to take the show too seriously and consider having Hoagland on as a guest tonight to talk about the Mythbusters. He’s an attention whore so you should have no problem getting him on.


  41. David D

    Hmmmm . . . BA on Coast to Coast. I wonder if BA would ever appear on a FoxNews (or as some folks like to say, “FauxNews” har-dee-har) program.
    Certainly C to C represents everything antithetical to a rational skeptic; I would imagine Fox would represent the 180 degree opposite to BA’s politics. Just wonderin’.

    Does this mean that some kind of dialogue with “respect” is possible with the fringe? Is it possible with political opposites?

  42. Chris A.


    Before you accuse Phil (or any other astronomer) of treating you like a moron, why don’t you make a minimal effort to educate yourself about what you are saying? It sounds as though your vehement claim that Hubble should be able to see the lunar landing hardware on the Moon is based on nothing more than a gut feeling, not even the most basic understanding of the sizes and distances involved.

    So, on the off-chance that you can be bothered to take the time to understand this, here goes:

    The largest pieces of hardware left on the Moon were the bases of the Lunar Excursion Modules (LEM), which are about 14 feet wide. The Moon lies at an average distance of about 239,000 miles, or about 1.26 billion (= 239,000 x 5280) feet. The equation that describes how large an object appears is:

    Apparent size (in degrees) = (Diameter / Distance) x 180 / pi

    Plugging in the numbers from above, we get that the base of the LEM appears to span an angle of 0.00000064 degrees from Earth and from Hubble (since Hubble orbits about 370 miles above the Earth).

    A more common way to measure angular size is in arc seconds; one arc second is 1/3600th of a degree, so the LEM appears to span an angle of 0.00000064 x 3600 = 0.002 arc seconds. Hubble’s highest resolution camera, the Faint Object Camera (no longer on Hubble), could see detail as small as 0.0072 arc seconds. In other words, the LEMs are nearly four times smaller than the finest detail Hubble could see.

    As to the other part of your question: Galaxies millions of light years away are enormous, which is why they can be seen when the LEM can’t. Let’s repeat our calculation with a typical galaxy imaged by Hubble, called M87. M87 lies at a distance of about 52 million light years. The galaxy is about 126,000 light years wide. So, once again:

    Angular size (in degrees) = (126,000 / 52,000,000) x 180 / pi = 0.14 degrees

    For comparison, the full Moon’s angular size is about 0.5 degrees. So the galaxy M87, if visible to the unaided eye, would appear about one quarter as wide as the full Moon. Needless to say, Hubble has no trouble imaging it (in fact, Hubble can only image a portion of M87 at once, because it is too big to fit in Hubble’s largest field of view).

    There, now you’ve had it explained to you without treating you like a moron. Unfortunately, as a little simple arithmetic shows, you’re still wrong.

    As for your claim that Hubble is “too strong to image the surface of the Moon,” see

    My advice is that you make a minimal effort to educate yourself before going off half-cocked if you expect not to be treated like an idiot. And while you’re at it, be thankful that there are people like Phil whose patience for your heretofore intellectual laziness seems to know no bounds.

  43. Greg in Austin


    “We have to act now, to avoid this catastrophy. An even if it doesn’t collide with earth, there will be others in the future that will… I’m hear to tell you, you’d better start listening to me.”

    Have you tried going to your local university, to the Physics&Astronomy department, and talking with one or more of the professors there? I’m sure that IF you have the calculations and data to back up your claim, they would probably be interested. All you have to say is, “Please, give me 5 minutes of your time” and show them what you have. Go to every professor there. If they don’t have time for you, then ask for some of the graduate students to take a look at your data. Those are the people most likely to help you, not radio talk show hosts or dumb bloggers, like us.


  44. Buzz Parsec

    MARIA and David L – It has been explained *many* times why we can’t see the Apollo landers with earth-based telescopes or the Hubble. Please look at any one of the Moon Hoax debunker web sites. (For example, will point you to the explanation.) As to your other question, why do scientists treat people like morons? Well, the first time someone asks a question, however obvious the answer might be to the scientist, they tend to think “How interesting! I wonder if I can explain this in terms anyone can understand?” The second time someone asks the same question, they think “Hmm, that’s a good question. Someone else just asked me the same thing. Here goes…” The third time someone asks, they tend to think “I wonder if I can explain it some other way…” But the four thousand three hundred and ninety-seventh time someone asks the exact same question, they start to think “Doesn’t anyone know how to use google? Why do they *always* think they’ve come up with some ‘gotcha’ question that no one has ever thought of before? What a maroon!” And that moment occurred *years* ago.

    And no, the Hubble is *not* too powerful and if it were pointed at the moon, everything wouldn’t be just a blur. The Moon is a 1/4 million miles away. It is a thousand times as far away as a satellite in low earth orbit is from the earth. Contrary to popular belief, a satellite can’t see people’s faces from orbit but it can see people and cars and trees and buildings and roads and small boats. But the Hubble, which has an optical system very similar in size and resolution to many spy satellites (in fact the design was based on a spy satellite design and it was manufactured by a company that builds the optical systems for spy satellites), is in low earth orbit, essentially at the same distance from the Moon as the surface of the Earth is (what’s a couple of hundred miles one way or the other when looking at something 240,000 miles away?) So the smallest thing it could see on the Moon is
    a 1000 times bigger than the smallest thing it could see on the Earth, or 500 ft vs. 6 inches! It can see the same angular size, no matter what distance. If you want to see something smaller, you either need a bigger telescope or get much closer. To improve the resolution from 500 ft to 5 ft,
    you would need a telescope 100 times as big, or 240 meters (750 feet!) in diameter. Or you could just get a lot closer. In low orbit around the Moon about 100 miles up, your telescope would be 240,000/100 or 2,400 times closer to the Moon, and could resolve objects 1/2400 as large or about 2 1/2 inches across. So we obviously don’t need a telescope the size of Hubble orbiting the Moon. A much smaller one will do. One 1/10 the size (and because of scaling, about 1/1000th the mass) of Hubble would do nicely. Please wait until next March 2, 2009, when the LRO is scheduled to launch. It has a camera about this size (the same design as the camera in the MRO which takes those amazing pictures of the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity and the Phoenix lander descending under its parachute. Or do a Google search :-(

  45. Buzz Parsec

    My idea, and it is mine and it belongs to me and it is mine, is that if an asteroid is going to strike the earth, we should all wear hats. Tin foil isn’t strong enough. Large tin cans would do it, like the old 2-lb coffee cans, or the big cans that institutional-size food comes in at Costco, depending on the size of your head.

    – A. Elk (Miss)

  46. Don Snow

    Sorry I missed C2CAM, the night you were on. I’d like to have heard that.

    I find that Ian P. has more reasonable shows that George or Art.

    For those who want to hear it, or to hear it again, the web site for C2CAM has archives, for people. Look under Phil Plait’s name, in the archives.

  47. themadlolscientist

    “if an asteroid is going to strike the earth, we should all wear hats.”

    I always keep a colander handy for just such occasions. I wonder: Would it work better if I covered it in Reynolds Wrap? Of course that would make it useless for draining spaghetti, but I suppose we all have to make sacrifices in the interest of safety. 😀

  48. Blaidd Drwg

    I suppose I could just line my fedora with aluminum – I can go several sheets if necessary…

  49. Phil, you were an excellent guest on C2C. They should make you ‘Science Advisor’ instead of that unqualified clown Hoagland. Pity you weren’t asked about his latest anti-gravity nonsense, “Von Braun’s secret”. It can be refuted with some straightforward math:


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