Death from the Skies???

Is a skeptic moving towards the Dark Side?
Sorry! A shameless plug for Phil’s new book.

“Reading this book is like getting punched in the face by Carl Sagan. Frightening, yet oddly exhilarating.”
– Daniel H. Wilson, author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising

A lively astronomy primer that uses cataclysmic scenarios to explain the universe’s most fascinating events. According to astronomer Philip Plait, the universe is an apocalypse waiting to happen But how much do we really need to fear from things like black holes, gamma-ray bursts, and supernovae? And if we should be scared, is there anything we can do to save ourselves? With humour and wit, Plait details the myriad doomsday events that the cosmos could send our way to destroy our planet and life as we know it. This authoritative yet accessible study is the ultimate astronomy lesson. Combining fascinating and often alarming scenarios that seem plucked from science fiction with the latest research and opinions, Plait illustrates why outer space is not as remote as most people think. Each chapter explores a different phenomenon, explaining it in easy-to-understand terms, and considering how life on earth and the planet itself would be affected should the event come to pass. Rather than sensationalizing the information, Plait analyses the probability of these catastrophes occurring in our lifetimes and what we can do to stop them. With its entertaining tone and enlightening explanation of unfathomable concepts, Death from the Skies will appeal to science buffs and beginners alike.


“Plait, an astronomer and author of the popular Web site, presents ‘in loving detail’ the many, many ways the human race could die, from temperature extremes and poisonous atmosphere to asteroid impacts and supernovae explosions. Such a state of destruction existed some 65 million years ago, when a giant meteoroid struck Earth, sending up so much flaming debris that ‘the whole planet caught fire’ and the dinosaurs were wiped out. Solar flare activity could bring on another Ice Age. Worse yet would be a gamma ray burster, a collapsed star whose radiation would be comparable to detonating ‘a one-megaton nuclear bomb over every square mile of the planet.’ Plait discusses insatiable black holes, the death of the Sun and cannibal galaxies — including our own. Balancing his doomsday scenarios with enthusiastic and clear explanations of the science behind each, Plait offers a surprisingly educational and enjoyable astronomical horror show, including a table listing the extremely low odds of each event occurring. He gives readers a good scare, and then puts it in context.” Publishers Weekly © Reed Business Information, Inc

“Phil Plait has done it again. He brings his unique and funny voice of reason and sanity to bear on making sense of a deadly universe. If things worked the way I wanted them to, any reporter about to do another “sensational” story on deadly meteors would consult this volume and BANG! Common sense would find it’s way into the news. How strange would THAT world be? On his blog and in his books, Plait is an important source of sanity and critical thinking, with just the right sense of wonder, reminding us that the universe is an amazing enough place without having to make crap up about it..”
— Adam Savage, from Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters

“These Doomsday scenarios are as gripping as any science fiction, but– amazingly–each one is grounded in carefully researched science. Plait’s message is simple: Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow–or five billion years from now–we die!”
– Simon LeVay, Ph.D., author of When Science Goes Wrong: Twelve Tales from the Dark Side of Discovery

“Reading this book is like getting punched in the face by Carl Sagan. Frightening, yet oddly exhilarating.”
– Daniel H. Wilson, author of How to Survive a Robot Uprising