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SYFY WIRE Bad Astronomy

Charlie Talks Saturn

By Phil Plait

My friend Charlie McDonnell is pretty cool. Coollike, even, which is his YouTube handle. Heâs been making short, quirky, funny videos for a while now, and no matter what he talks about theyâre engaging, silly, and fun.

A little while back he started making short science videos, and theyâre great! He sent me a note recently saying he was doing one on Saturn and would I please check it out for accuracy?

Well, duh. And it was easy, since he pretty much got it all right (I basically just gave him some details that might be fun to add). Hereâs the result:

Isnât he adorable? I swear, when heâs a grizzled 50-year-old standing on his porch in a bathrobe yelling at kids walking across his yard heâll still be adorable.

Another reason I like Charlie is he really is a science nerd, as all people should be. I was in London a couple of months ago to film a documentary, and met up with him and another friend (Hi Teek!) for a day at the Royal Greenwich Observatory, which was fun. We found a book I liked.

And one final note: another reason to like what Charlieâs doing is because he has a long reach. Check out the number of views on that Saturn video, and keep in mind his audience is mostly young folks (while we were walking the streets of London town, we were stopped several times by teenagers who love his videos and wanted to get their picture taken with him). These are precisely the people who need to find their own love of science, and Charlieâs doing a fantastic job of reaching them.

And also, heâs adorable, which I may have mentioned, and a genuinely nice guy. Go watch his videos.

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