WAS July Meeting

Date: Wed 5th July – Society Meeting: 7:30pm,
Location: Space Place, Carter Observatory

Pseudo Science in Astronomy – Sarah Taylor

As humans, we don’t like not knowing the reasons or causes of natural events. Our ancestors came up with amazing stories of a range of gods, to demigods, even to leopards in the Sun to explain natural events such as Earthquakes, Volcanoes, Lightening etc.

As science has progressed we have found the reasons for these natural processes, there are still areas of research ongoing and we will always be searching for answers.

Unfortunately, sometimes the answers from science are not always enough or when questions remain unanswered, people, either a group or one individual, can come up with their own version of events. This is where conspiracies can arise. Alien abductions, faked moon landings and Planet X are some of the most popular astronomy conspiracies.

Most of the astronomy pseudoscience claims, can be seen as silly or funny, however there are some claims that do need to be addressed, that have and can cause harm and fear with believers and nonbelievers alike.

Though the talk we will be looking at the history of the Planet X theory and conspiracies, conclusions what science knows and what could be out in the Kuiper belt.

Sarah studied earth and planetary sciences as an undergrad at Kingston University in London, where she was able to follow her childhood passion of learning how the earth and the planets work! But it wasn’t until travelling and working in Australia did she first get to see the planets through a telescope. She ended up working as a star talker at Ayers Rock (Uluru). Dinner in the desert, no light pollution and clear skies made for amazing work. Working out at Ayers Rock also sparked an interest in indigenous dreamtime stories of the sky from Australia and mythology around the world. Sarah has a Masters in crisis and disaster management, swapping the natural workings of the Earth to how to protect people from emergencies.