At parties, some people are intimidated when I say I'm an astronomer (or, worse, astrophysicist).  They assume I'm a haughty ivory tower genius who laughs at little people like them.  It's so hard to reassure them that, no, I don't laugh, I merely chuckle.  But I do feel it's my duty to help make life easier for the non-astrophysicists out there.

So, say you're at a party and you meet a famous astronomer.  It doesn't matter which one, we're all famous (or at least published).  Here are 6 things not to say.
  1. I'm an Aquarius, can you tell me my future?
  2. I'm angry because Pluto isn't a planet anymore!
  3. What will happen in 2012 when the Earth, sun and the center of our galaxy line up?
  4. How old am I in light years?
  5. I bought a star from the star registry, did you learn its name yet?
  6. Why do planetary nebula have absolutely nothing to do with planets?
Okay, I'll admit I'd welcome that last one. It bugs me too.

Alex, the daytime astronomer

The Daytime Astronomer, Tues&Fri here, via RSS feed, and twitter @skyday

p.s. The answer for #3 is: winter solstice, same as every year this line-up
happens.  Twenty bonus points to readers for suggesting good,
non-offending answers for the rest of them.
 an S. Harris astronomy cartoon
 An S. Harris astronomy cartoon, from