Space the Final Frontier

Okay, Who Rigged Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Computer to Display Hayden Panettiere Before the Planetarium in Search Results?

Come on, guys.
(Photo: Twitter)

(Photo: Twitter)

Renowned physicist and biggest baller alive Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of the Internet’s favorite heroic figures; he is so beloved by science geeks and techies alike that at an event hosted by Gizmodo last summer, attendees broke into spontaneous applause at the mere mention of his name.

Mr. Tyson is the director at New York’s popular Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space uptown. The Planetarium, as wondrous as it is, has a bit of a branding problem: namely, it boasts the same name as actress Hayden Panittiere, star of the new series Nashville, which we keep hearing is actually good but like, really? Is it?

Today, Mr. Tyson took to Twitter to express his love for the Bring It On 3 star–particularly her space-themed song, “Telescope.” But naturally, he lamented the fact that Ms. Panettiere outranks the Planetarium in Google search results.

(Screencap: Twitter)

(Screencap: Twitter)

Some Twitter users spoke up to defend the Planetarium, saying that it actually surfaced above Hayden Panettiere in search results. Indeed, when we tried the query, we got the Planetarium directly above Ms. Panettiere’s Wikipedia page in both regular and incognito windows.

This inevitably led us to wonder: which bored planetarium prankster rigged poor Mr. Tyson’s computer to put Ms. Panettiere first? Sure, Bring It On 3 wasn’t the best, but no need to drag the illustrious Planetarium into it. Or perhaps it was a higher up trying to convince him to work yet harder? Or did someone at Google see his tweet and automatically seek to correct what was obviously an error?

For now, it’s a mystery; if only our eyes were like a telescope.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com