Tuesday, April 17, 2018 

Substack welcomes The Bad Astronomer

A new newsletter materializes in the firmament

Phil Plait has been in the business of popularizing science since 1993, when he started publishing at BadAstronomy.com, setting an example for the likes of Neil deGrasse Tyson and IFL Science to follow. We first came across him when he was one of the most popular bloggers at Slate at the beginning of this decade. Today, Plait writes for Syfy Wire, is a regular on TV shows, has multiple books to his name, and is highly active on Twitter, where he has more than 600,000 followers.

Now, we are delighted to welcome Plait to Substack.

On Monday, Plait published his introductory issue of his Bad Astronomy newsletter with the promise of providing readers with exclusive photos, thoughts, jokes, links to cool articles, product reviews, and political rants.

The first issue is available for free at badastronomy.substack.com and includes this bad-ass (that’s short for “bad-astronomy”) artwork of the supergiant star Betelgeuse exploding, which apparently could happen any time within the next hundred-thousand years (mark it on your calendar).

(Image via ESO/L. Calçada)

So, why does a writer who has a huge social media following want to do a newsletter? Well, here’s how Plait explains it:

Twitter isn’t designed to have much depth, Instagram doesn’t allow linking, and Facebook is just a godawful mess (while I can post images and longer thoughts there, it’s impossible to search, the user interface is and has always been a disaster, and then there’s the whole selling all your info and potentially swaying the election for Trump things).

Plait is identifying one of the many things we love about newsletters: they offer a quiet place far removed from the churn of social media where writers can connect directly with their readers. There’s no middleman, no newsfeed to get lost in, and readers can keep up with everything their favorite writers publish. It’s simple and it works.

We couldn’t be happier that writers of Plait’s caliber share our love for the form. Once you start reading his newsletter, we’re sure you’ll agree with us. To get a twice-weekly download direct from the Bad Astronomer’s dark matter, subscribe today for $5 a month or $50 a year.

Know other writers who you’d love to see doing a newsletter? Tell us about them at hello@substack.com.