Astronomy watering holes

By Phil Plait | September 14, 2008 9:25 am

So you love astronomy, and you love talking about it with other people. What’re you gonna do?

There are lots of astronomy communities online. Fraser Cain from Universe Today and I have one at the Bad Astronomy and Universe Today forum. Others abound.

I just found out my friend Chris Pirillo has started one, too. Well, it’s not just astronomy geeks, he’s started a community for all geeks, and astronomy is a subset of it. It’s brand new, so it’s not well-populated yet, but I bet it will be pretty quickly; Chris is popular (type "Chris" into Google. I dare you).

Do you know of more places to hang out and talk astro? Leave ’em in the comments!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff

Comments (35)

  1. Now if we could just get on line beer with our on line Astronomy watering holes, we’d be all set!

    When’s the next live chat, Phil?


    Do you know of more places to hang out and talk astro? Leave ‘em in the comments!

    Check these out:


    Do you know of more places to hang out and talk astro? Leave ‘em in the comments!

    Check out this one:

  4. Danniel B.

    Wow, that’s amazing, how did he manage to get google to do that? And yes, when IS the text live chat?

  5. Do you know of more places to hang out and talk astro? Leave ‘em in the comments!

    Click on my name (not my own blog) and the link will lead you to a cool web-site.

  6. I like I’d like to see something similar, but with a broader astronomical focus.

  7. Click on my name again and the link will lead you to another astro blog, with links on the right-hand side to even more blogs!

    Hey, Phil! You’ve got some competition!

  8. Hey, I’m a Chris, and I’d like to complain about not being fairly represented! 😉 Good post, though — I need more nerdery or geekery.

    An Amazing Apostate

  9. Off topic a bit BA (but click my name for the link to get to your “10 things on Earth” thread) but please BA Can you put me out of my curiousity inspired misery & answer for me :
    StevoR said on Sept. 10th, 2008 at 7:48 am :

    Thanks BA awesome post although I think I knew most of them already!

    Five Earthly quasi-Moons you say? Hmm …

    1) Isaac Asimov mentioned the quasi-moon ‘toro’ (I think) in one of his science books I read ages ago

    2) Cruithne was mentioned in Stephen Baxter’s excellent hard Sf novel ‘Space’ (Manifold series)

    3) .. and I heard about the Saturn booster from one of the Apollo missions (XII?) becoming another quasi-moon – if not exactly a natural one …

    BUT what are the other two? Are you counting the Moon maybe? If so that still leaves one other quasi-Moon .. which is .. Hmm .. anyone? Please?


    What are the others .. Pretty sur eyousaid there were 4 (?) quasi-moons of Erath sofar I’ve got :

    1) Cruithne

    & maybe ..
    3) the Moon & maybe
    4) that Saturn V booster that was mistaken for an asteroid

    what are the others???

    Please BA eithe rhere on the other thread, tell me please – I’mn dying with curiousity!

    Hey who says it only kills cats! 😉

  10. Yeeeaarrgh!! %$##@!! typos &spacin .. *Sigh*

  11. “…Chris is popular (type “Chris” into Google. I dare you).”

    Some day I’ll be the top “Chris” link in Google. Someday. Muhahaha!

  12. If I may…
    This is a blog/video/vidcast site that my husband and I have made. We re-broadcast NASA TV a lot of the time, and have a live show on Fridays 2am UTC.

    We are on UStream and have incorporated the chat room into our site. There is almost always someone in the room and we like to cover all things space related.

  13. Davidlpf

    One great thing about BAUT forum is that if you insult someone, you get suspended and after too many times of doing that you are banned, I would not last long there. Yes I suspended for 1 day for insulting comment but that was once in three years.

  14. LOL@ Davidlpf… HA! You wear rubber army boots!

    On your head! You mean those kind of insults? :)

  15. Jose

    I don’t know any online places, but I think the International Space Station is a great gathering place to hang out and talk about astronomy. Getting there is pricy though. Also, the studio where they filmed the moon landings is a good spot. It’s in the basement of the Alamo, but you probably knew that already.

  16. Davidlpf

    @ Michael L the main idea is to attack the idea not to attack the person.

  17. DeiRenDopa

    There’s a discussion forum associated with Astronomy Picture of the Day (click on the “Discuss” link at the bottom of the main APOD page), which is part of a larger forum (“The Asterisk*”) that includes an Astronomy Café.

    Galaxy Zoo has a forum too (click on “Forum” on the GZ homepage, or this URL:

    PhysicsForums (dot com) has an Astronomy section; PF is the only open forum covering astronomy (that I know of) which supports LaTeX, so you can get as geeky as you want, with equations etc.

  18. DeiRenDopa

    @Michael L: having recently spent some time reading Nathan Myers’ comments on Phil’s blogs, I’d say he’d last about a day on BAUT forum … it even has a running log of banned members, from which you can pretty easily see what sorts of things would get you banned.

    As Davidlpf says, BAUT forum seems OK with someone attacking ideas (quite vigorously at times), but has close to zero tolerance of ‘attacking the person’.

  19. IVAN3MAN

    Apologies for my repeat posts above — that was due to my initial submissions not getting through the bloody system. Why is it that it always has to act up on Sundays?!

  20. Davidlpf

    Actually in the rules it states if your going put something that against the mainstream or a conspiracy theory be prepared to defend your ideas beacause they will be attacked.

  21. @David… Just teasing! :)

    I’d never seriously insult anyone on here…

  22. Davidlpf
  23. Quiet Desperation

    I really hate the word “geek.” Too many bad memories from my school years. I know it’s an attempt to co opt the word into something positive, but I don’t like it.

    No matter how you sugar coat it, it represents a ridicule of intelligence, and no matter how much “geeks” try to be proud of the label, it’s still a prime indicator of what is wrong with American culture.

    Same goes for “nerd.”

  24. Quiet desperation:

    What about “dork”? :)

  25. Any bar within stumbling distance of an astronomy conference.

    Okay, seriously. AAS just started a forum especially for junior members, but I’ll bet old PhD-toting fogies are welcome as well. We kids (that covers undergrads and grad students who have splurged on membership) need the advice!

  26. Well, heres a very good forum from Michio Kaku.

    The Hyperspace Forums (

  27. Guy

    There’s It’s mainly about observing and astronomical equipment. I’ve always found the people on the forum to be very helpful and friendly, and it was a huge help when I was looking to buy my first telescope.

  28. Instead of Geek, dork, nerd etc .. What’s wrong with using the proper terms – intellectuals or academics? Or just Thinkers?

    It shouldn’t be an insult to be smart or bright (there was a whole movement to call athiests that if memeory serves) curious about science and so forth.

    It speaks volumes – all bad – about our society that we demean and beliitle intelligence so much & elevate the physical and appearance so greatly over anything else.

  29. What do we value as asociety – what is generally the most prized commodity thestar card in mobvies, media, popular culture etc .. ?

    I’d reckon :

    Strength – often incl. using brute force
    Fashion sense or fads
    “Coolness” – a peer group pressure to conform in “rebelling” the same way with the same look.
    Sporting ability
    Faith & trust (Often in a religious sense, sometimes just in what freinds etc .. say)

    What aspects or aqualities are viewed with suspicion or seen as less attractive?

    Intelligence, suspicion, skepticism, educational knowledge ..

    No wonder we’re in trouble … If our idols are the likes of Paris Hilton and not say Maxwell we’re leaidng oursleves backwards evolutionatily.

    If we decide our president is to be an endearing (or not so endearing!) aimable buffoon or an aging war hero, traumatised by his experiences and well past his prime rather than an “elitist” smart guy like say, Al Gore, then we’re deliberately putting stupid people in charge of making the vital decisons that affect – and may even end – our lives.

    Why are we so crazy and we don’t we stop and think more -and value thought more. Wish I knew – more than that, I wish it would change.

  30. Hope this isn’t seen as too bad netiquette-wise (please let me know either way) but I’m really hoping and trying to find an answer here on the identities of the earth’s quasi-moons on that ’10 things on Earth’ thread (or here now I guess!.)


    The Wikipedia page for Cuithne notes that :

    Three other near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), 54509 YORP, (85770) 1998 UP1 and 2002 AA29, which exist in resonant orbits similar to Cruithne’s, have since been discovered. Source :Wikipedia : Cruithne page.

    Oddly enough none of them is the Toro mentioend by Asimov … & one seems not to be in the quasi-moon orbital relationship at present … so I’m still a bit puzzled.

    Are those the ones you meant or not BA?

    Ands whatever happened to the Toro mentioned by Asimov and is the Saturn V booster counted in the list?

    Nb. Click my name above to go to the “Earth : 10 things” BA thread.

    PS. Are we supposed to put the names of peopel we’re responding to or quoting here in bold? Anyone know?

    THX for your forebearance y’all .. :-)

  31. Quiet Desperation

    MichaelL: “What about “dork”?

    I don’t see many people calling themselves dork.

  32. Chris A.

    And lest anyone think that astronomers are a bunch of teetotaling fuddy-duddies, witness ye the astronomer’s drinking song, penned around the turn of the nineteenth century:

    What better to belt out with your stargazing peers, whilst tossing back a few cold ones?

  33. Come and have a look at thenewRadiant at It is a small but active and informal community with people from all over the world who tend to socialise while talking astronomy and most people make a real friend or two in no time at all. We do not pretend to be experts, but confess to be addicted to astronomy…

    Register to see the whole site (non-members can see a lot of it, but members have access to an instant chat-box etc)

    Thanks for giving us the opportunity to mention our little site.

    We are very careful about security & ruthlessly get rid of spammers etc, so please ensure that you DO choose your country of origin when you register.

  34. The best place I’ve found for talking astronomy in all forms is Cloudy Nights ( They started out as a telescope/equipment review site many years ago, but they have a varied array of user forums and tons of helpful members. Cloudy Nights is now also the official host of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 discussion forums.


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