Theoretical cosmologist Katie Mack spends a lot of time on Twitter. Mack, at North Carolina State University, joined the platform to talk about science under the moniker “Astro Katie” more than 10 years ago. Since then, her fun and informative posts about space have earned her nearly half a million followers. Unfortunately, she says, there are many other astronomy-themed Twitter accounts sharing misleading or downright wrong information. From doctored images to sinister conspiracy theories, Mack has seen it all.
Last week, at the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science, Mack discussed space and physics disinformation—and how it can erode trust in science. She sat down with Science to chat about common space falsehoods, how silly pictures can lead to conspiracy theories, and how to spot something fake before you share it.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.