Exposing PseudoAstronomy

About / Contact Me

I am a postdoctoral researcher in astronomy, focusing on planetary geophysics. My current research is in craters on Mars and small, kilometer-scale features on the moon (mostly craters), but my interests really focus on planetary surfaces in general. I am also interested in astronomy education, especially correcting misconceptions and really bad astronomy. Since there’s already a blog entitled, “Bad Astronomy,” I couldn’t really name this that.

For more information about me, visit my personal website.

40 Comments »

  1. Planetary geophysics, huh? Wow, if I decided to continue with university and went to graduate school, that’s probably what I would have studied. I’d taken geology in my first year of university, and went on to get a degree in physics and astronomy, but I would have carried on with planetary geology, basically. Stars, galaxies, etc, those are all fine, but what really interested me are the places we could go and stand on. Other worlds. Extrasolar planets also interest me, but it’ll be a while until we can see what the planets are actually like. Hoping for a solar system sized interferometry telescope.

    Comment by earthandbeyond — September 5, 2008 @ 2:26 am | Reply

  2. Hello. As someone else working in the crackpot astronomy area, I’ve added you to my blog list.
    Dealing with Creationism in Astronomy
    You’ve got some good stuff here.

    Comment by Tom Bridgman — November 4, 2008 @ 5:52 pm | Reply

  3. Terrific posts responding to the faked-moon-landing guys. Keep it up.

    Comment by Dale Wisely — July 17, 2009 @ 1:46 pm | Reply

  4. Thanks Stuart. Truly excellent and refreshing posts on a wide range of very large subjects. So, how about the book…

    Comment by Robert Frampton — March 17, 2011 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

    • Thesis due in 5 days. Everything is on hold right now but that.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — March 17, 2011 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

  5. I have looked at your ‘stars’ and the reading indicates that you will pass.

    Comment by Mick — March 18, 2011 @ 6:06 am | Reply

  6. The predictions of 2012 and the earth changing “poles” or flipping on it’s access, or whatever they are saying will happen are just down right frightening!
    So then, why are there not more scientists and our government refuting such claims? We know the ice caps are melting and climate is changing (either due to natural cycles or our impact), but the claim is that once the ice melts, the weight of the water distribution will make the earth shift. How feasible is this claim? Is it true that the poles have shifted before and will again? I find it very frustrating that scientific fact is not as easy to dig up as the “fear factor.”

    Comment by Sara — June 9, 2011 @ 9:11 pm | Reply

    • “So then, why are there not more scientists and our government refuting such claims?” Because they’re stupid and no one but a very few skeptics such as myself want to actually take the time to go through why they are wrong. We each have our own reasons – mine because I find that you can learn better by understanding where people go wrong than just by getting it right the first time.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — June 12, 2011 @ 5:43 pm | Reply

  7. I just listened to the podcast “Gaps the creationists must ignore”. I learned a lot of facts and concepts that I can use when discussing creationism. The analogy of the creationists using the scientific tools incorrectly as using a hammer to do one’s taxes was very helpful.

    Comment by tony shallin — May 28, 2012 @ 8:14 am | Reply

  8. Thank You for all this work. I am extremely interested in your views on the Capitalistic comment about Brent Miller. I don’t think his intention here was to make money from unsuspecting believers. He may just have believed the information he received was correct. I think that happened to Billy Graham with one of our presidents. A hard lesson learned. There is a need for rebuttal in any society that claims to be free. Let’s do that with great respect for the efforts of those with good intentions. Like most leaders there is never any admission of wrong doing. I noticed his site is inactive since 2009.

    Comment by BM — May 30, 2012 @ 7:47 pm | Reply

  9. Hi, I was wondering if at some point you might do a podcast about Galileo. He is an interesting character because two groups of people who don’t particularly like each other like to invoke him: crackpots invoking the “Galileo Gambit,” and naive rationalists wanting to get some potshots in on religion. Interestingly, both groups refer to a heavily mythologized view of Galileo. I refer you to the Renaissance Mathematicus blog; thonyc is a great admirer of Galileo but spends half his blog posts mythbusting (most recently not so much the myth as the heavily simplified account of the astronomer who refused to look through Galileo’s telescope, http://thonyc.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/refusing-to-look/) Even if it’s too far outside your area for a podcast, I thought it still might interest you.

    Comment by Jeff Rubinoff — August 23, 2012 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  10. Love your podcasts having only discovered them a few days ago. Has there been one on ‘contrails’ or is that outside the remit of the podcasts? You know the theory that the government is spraying the population with chemicals?
    ‘why?’
    ‘I dunno they just are’ being the usual level of debate.
    I absolutely loved the Episode 10 interview about Mike Bara…although his pious victim act would made the listener’s blood boil if we didn’t have the wonderful clear concise reasoning of your guest to cool us down.

    Comment by Dermot Power — September 19, 2012 @ 6:42 am | Reply

    • Thanks! Chemtrails really aren’t in this area and open a huge can of worms I don’t really want to get into. I do plan at some point to do HAARP, so chemtrails might get a brief mention.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 19, 2012 @ 11:12 am | Reply

  11. Great – I look forward to the HAARP episode- I was not familiar with it until checking out it’s wikipedia page just now; what a rich seam for the tin-
    foil beanie wearers to mine!

    Comment by Dermot Power — September 19, 2012 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  12. If You’re doing something about HAARP, then I suppose this also should fit the podcast – Schumman resonance. There’s lots of gibberish about it: that it’s frequency is increasing, that it is “the Earth’s pulse” somehow connected with the frequencies of human brainwaves (and hence its frequency is played on the ISS to calm down the astronauts), that the increasing frequency means the time passes faster, the Earth “works” faster and that’s the reason for the disasters and it will change the magnetic field… and many more.

    Comment by juzew — November 26, 2012 @ 4:15 am | Reply

    • Yes, that’s on my To Do list. In fact, I just listened to some guy claiming that the resonance has to do with the number of lightning strikes and that it’s speeding up … he’s a disciple of Gregg Braden, so it’s not surprising he has no idea what it is.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — November 26, 2012 @ 9:19 am | Reply

  13. While this is not my discipline of study, I find it fascinating and I really like how you approach topics with objectivity and intelligence. Awesome blog!

    Comment by DesiBjorn — December 1, 2012 @ 8:35 am | Reply

  14. Thank you for all your information. Have you already heard of the film and book called “solar revolution”? It might not only be filled of bad but worst astronomy. Have a look: https://www.facebook.com/SolarRevolutionMovie?fref=ts

    Comment by Miranda — January 15, 2013 @ 1:41 pm | Reply

    • Thanks, Miranda. I have not seen that specific presentation, but I am generally familiar with that claim.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — January 15, 2013 @ 1:54 pm | Reply

  15. Greetings,

    I bumped into this youtube vid “Why the Moon Landings Could Have Never EVER Been Faked” and immediately thought of you. It makes an argument that I’ve not heard before. The narrators basic point is that the moon landings could not have been faked because in the late 1960s, the video technology necessary to create such a fake did not exist. It’s well made and well worth 13 minutes of your life.

    Regards
    Andrew

    Comment by andrew chase — January 19, 2013 @ 9:02 pm | Reply

  16. Could you talk about the hollow sun theory?

    Comment by Aleksei Vashchenko — January 30, 2013 @ 10:13 pm | Reply

    • That’s a new one for me. You mean something like what Stephen J. Goodfellow claims?

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — January 31, 2013 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

      • Yes, he is just one of many that I have seen, If anything, I thought this would be an interesting topic to discuss.

        Comment by Aleksei Vashchenko — February 1, 2013 @ 4:18 am

    • Just when I thought I had heard everything new under the Sun…

      –j

      Comment by Johan™ Strandberg — February 3, 2013 @ 1:33 am | Reply

  17. Stuart ….any chance you could take this guy on?… I got into a Amazon review comment debate which I wish I didn’t start. Ended up doing a diagram but the guy is still convinced that the NASA picture http://www.lpi.usra.edu/resources/apollo/frame/?AS11-40-5930 is a hoax.
    Review link here;

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R1FQOHZJBTH0DA/ref=cm_cd_notf_message?ie=UTF8&cdForum=Fx18BHOP7VTGGLX&cdPage=1&cdThread=Tx25MJ4BMCKROVD#Mx13Q457RBQWSOH

    This is my (very basic) demonstration of the point I was trying to make after words didn’t work.

    http://dmoxia.blogspot.co.uk

    I am a film concept designer and think about this stuff all the time when doing my day job but I am not a scientist.

    I was about to reply to him that maybe NASA did comp some images together but that doesn’t mean it’s a hoax exactly … but realise that would be handing him an arrow to fire back.
    Maybe there is a pithy one liner you could hit him with before I just tell him to bog off!
    I could of course post a link to your excellent podcasts on the subject but fear he will not commit to listening to them.

    Maybe it’s a lost cause? ;(

    Still listening and loving the podcast- last weeks conversation with Expat was really great- you must have him on again-he sounds like Ridley Scott talking about film.

    Comment by Dermot Power — April 3, 2013 @ 8:05 am | Reply

    • It seems to fall into the more general category of photographic anomalies of the Apollo Moon Hoax. I’m aware of the “halo” -> bright spotlight claim, but it seemed so minor it wasn’t really worth going into. I find that most of these are usually lost causes, anyway, when taking on true believers.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — April 3, 2013 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

      • My philosopher brother (who is also a big fan of your podcast), advised linking to your Apollo Moon Hoax podcast and leaving it at that…could escalate in to a slagging match otherwise. But this guys arguments are so easy to answer it’s hard not to- I was going to refine my diagram to show a bowl shaped terrain to explain the curving and converging shadows but I fear it will never end!
        anyway thanks Stuart

        Comment by Dermot Power — April 4, 2013 @ 12:49 am

  18. I know you aim at pure crackpots rather than wackademics, but the all-panspermia-all-the-time “open source” Journal of Cosmology is at it again. The supposedly reputable national UK newspaper The Independent has just credulously written a piece about a piece in JoC, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-truth-is-out-there-british-scientists-claim-to-have-found-proof-of-alien-life-8826690.html. Primary author Milton Wainwright has a somewhat mixed publication history; plenty of straightforward papers in the 1990s, then marvels like this letter to The Lancet http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(03)13440-X/fulltext.

    Comment by Jeffrey Rubinoff — September 19, 2013 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

  19. Stuart – I just stumbled upon your blog (from Reddit), and I must say that you’re a breath of fresh air. As the chief of technology guy where I work, I try to keep our technicians up-to-date on math, electronics and physics during the lunch hour with short (30 minute) classes. Once classes are done, we have a very “open” Q & A. In the last few months, we’ve devolved into Q & A sessions about UFOs, faked moon landings, bigfoot, ghost hunters, et. al. Not wanting to stifle critical thought, I have attempted to inject a little bit of logic into the conversations.

    One thing that I’m constantly at odds with many “believers” is the use of conjecture by many “Low Information Experts” – people that purport themselves to be “experts” in their paranormal field, and begin to spout “facts” about their subjects that have absolutely no basis in reality. For example, finding ghosts using Electro-Magnetic Field Meters (“EMF Meters”), Infra-Red Cameras, and my personal favorite, “EVP” recordings (Electronic Voice Phenomena). I have quite a bit of trouble helping these skilled employees understand that other more sensitive (digital) recorders that are filming don’t happen to pick up ANY “EVP” – however the old, noisy, tape-and-inaccurate hand-held recorder seems to be able to pull miraculous disembodied voices from beyond the grave.

    Anyway, you’ve won a devotee with your blog. Please keep up the good work!

    Comment by Ed — September 26, 2013 @ 7:49 am | Reply

    • Thanks! And in the Internet age, everyone can be an “expert” after five minutes with Google.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — September 26, 2013 @ 9:36 am | Reply

  20. Hi Stuart, love your podcast. Anyway, I am sure you are aware that Art Bell has returned from retirement and has a new show (though it sounds a lot like the old show) on SiriusXM. Naturally, Richard C. Hoagland has made two appearances in two weeks. He railed during his first appearance against the skeptics against him. It seems true scientists are getting to him. Anyway, Art Bell himself requested an actual scientist to come on the air and explain some of the photographs that Hoagland has presented as ‘evidence’. Naturally, the photos, to him, indicate domes on the Moon and rocket parts on Mars that probably belong to aliens. Anyway, it is a load of complete bullcrap, but thought the call for an actual scientist would open up a chance for someone (you) to go on and refute Hoaglands claims. One advantage of Art Bell is he isn’t a softball questioner like Noory, and will allow serious debate. It is unlikely that Art Bell would cut you off like Noory did in the past. So, give it some thought, and keep up the good work.

    Comment by wissnx01 — October 3, 2013 @ 8:33 am | Reply

    • What did Art actually say with regards to getting a scientist to explain the photos? I’ve only managed to listen to most of the first interview, not the latest — I’ve been out of town until last night.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — October 3, 2013 @ 8:46 am | Reply

  21. You will remove my name from your website, or you will be contacted by my law firm. Thank you. I do not like inaccurate statements you have defamed me with, and I will take legal action to the maximum if this is not removed – Michael R. Vanderpool

    Comment by Michael R. Vanderpool — November 2, 2013 @ 12:10 pm | Reply

    • Michael, it appears as though I referenced you once – by request of someone else to whom you sent information, actually – in terms of alleged psychic predictions for the year 2012. I scored some of your claims. If anything I wrote was inaccurate, please let me know and I will correct it.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — November 2, 2013 @ 12:18 pm | Reply

  22. Have you seen the photos of the lunar rover, on the lunar surface, with zero tire tracks in front of, or behind the rover tires. I have been unable to explain this to skeptics. can you help me?

    Comment by mike doherty — January 30, 2014 @ 8:44 am | Reply

  23. OK Stuart, where is the link to listen to the podcast?

    Comment by Steve Miller — April 2, 2014 @ 3:18 pm | Reply

  24. hi Stuart,
    I had a good read on one of your article about bad psychics. Even though it’s in 2010 but Im still impressed as how you carefully address the issue with facts, statistics and also your humour :)
    I have a question to ask. Is there actually a real psychic who can predict with at least 80% of accuracy. I had a reading with Tana Hoy and still waiting to see if his predictions come true. I came across your website after I booked that reading with me. I don’t regret the experience. But I just want to know if you think there are such professional psychics. Who are they? could you name some? If I want to contact them to have a reading, how?
    Thank you very much.
    Georgia

    Comment by Georgia — July 1, 2014 @ 7:45 am | Reply

    • Nope, I have never found an alleged psychic who has been able to objectively predict things better than any random person.

      Comment by Stuart Robbins — July 1, 2014 @ 4:32 pm | Reply


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