PostHeaderIcon AstroInfo is One Year Old!

Well how about that, Alice’s AstroInfo has been live on the internet for a whole year! How exciting!

Time for a brief history lesson, and then we’ll get to the cake.


AstroInfo didn’t begin as a blog. A few years ago, while I was still in school, Steve White wrote several one-page papers for the planetarians of the Pacific Science Center to help them be more on top of some of the cool current goings-on Out There in space. These pages were lovingly referred to as “Fornax Facts.” (or was it “Fornax’s Facts”? I can’t remember). You see, planetarians at Pacific Science Center have code-names that we usually choose for ourselves. I happen to be called Altair, Steve is Fornax, Holly is Amalthea … etc. Well, Steve got an awesome full-time job teaching Calculus (he still stops by now and then to do some shows of his own), and the job of answering staff questions came to me.

Soon thereafter the IAU made their epic decision regarding Pluto. Most people were confused, or they understood it, but were having trouble making the explanation straightforward enough to include in the limited time we have in a planetarium show. So I wrote the first AstroInfo though I hadn’t quite named it that yet (I’m sorry, it looks like the whole article didn’t come through the transfer, I’ll work on fixing that). That article came out on August 25th, 2006.

Well, almost two years later I had amassed quite a few AstroInfos, and in addition to e-mailing them out to staff and other interested parties I decided to put them up on the internet for anyone who might be interested. Phil Plait and Pamela Gay were hosting a workshop at the 2007 Astronomical Society of the Pacific/American Astronomical Society meeting on astronomy education in cyberspace. They convinced me that Facebook was not an evil, privacy-invading organization, that it could indeed be (carefully) used as a tool, and they suggested WordPress as a good place to start a blog.

Well, I’ve come quite a way: AstroInfo is now hosted on its own site, running WordPress, and I’m on Twitter and Facebook.

I promised you cake

You already know that I like recipes, so here’s a good one. The measurements are American and Fahrenheit. I apologize to those of you who live elsewhere. To make up for this, the cake is Milk-, Egg-, Soy- , Peanut-, and Nut-free (M,E,S,P,N in Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network speak).

Ugly Cake

via my friend Corinne Cooley

  • 1 ½ Cup Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Carob or Flour (or cocoa powder)
  • 1 Tsp Baking soda
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 ¼ Cup Water
  • ¼ Cup Canola Oil
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp Vinegar

Mix dry ingredients in 8in circle pan or 9x9in square pan.
Mix wet ingredients. Stir into dry ingredients.
Bake for 45 minutes at 350°F

Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes


This is the world’s easiest and most flexible cake recipe. Double it. Triple it. Make it into muffins. Top it with brown frosting  and as many colors of sprinkles as you can find (this is where the name “Ugly” cake comes from).

~ A l i c e !

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