Astronomer Phil Plait speaking April 24 at Merryman Center

KEARNEY – What would it be like to sail above Saturn’s rings, watch an eclipse from the Moon or stare in awe as sunset brings a million brilliant stars to the sky of a planet in a star cluster?

Astronomer and renowned science communicator Phil Plait will take you to these distant worlds during an upcoming appearance in Kearney.

He’ll speak 7 p.m. April 24 at the Merryman Performing Arts Center, 225 W. 22nd St., and sign copies of his new book, “Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Universe.” The event is sponsored by the University of Nebraska at Kearney chapter of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Honor Society and the UNK College of Arts and Sciences. It’s free and open to the public.

For as long as he can remember, Plait has been in love with science.

“When I was maybe 4 or 5 years old, my dad brought home a cheapo department store telescope. He aimed it at Saturn that night. One look, and that was it. I was hooked,” he says.

After earning his doctorate in astronomy at the University of Virginia, Plait worked on the Hubble Space Telescope as a NASA contractor at the Goddard Space Flight Center. He began a career in public outreach and education with the Bad Astronomy website and blog, debunking bad science and popular misconceptions. The book “Bad Astronomy” was released in 2002, followed in 2008 by “Death From The Skies!” Plait hosted the TV show “Phil Plait’s Bad Universe” on the Discovery Channel in 2010 and was the head science writer for “Bill Nye Saves the World” on Netflix. His blog has been hosted by Discover Magazine, Slate and Syfy Wire and he’s appeared on numerous television networks.

Plait has given talks about science and pseudoscience at venues across the U.S. and internationally, including the Kennedy Space Center, Dryden Flight Research Center, Space Telescope Science Institute and Hayden Planetarium. He uses images, audio and video clips in entertaining and informative multimedia presentations packed with humor and backed by solid science.