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Thread: 'Fess Up...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Is anyone else tired of the weather but me? Then let's see if we can't bring a smile round to visit...

    Come on, 'fess up. What has been one of the dumbest things you've ever done in astronomy that you're glad no one was around to witness??

    Once upon a time, I was viewing the full Moon through my 12.5 scope. Yeah, I know astronomer's aren't supposed to like the Moon, all right? But, I do! I'm just sitting there, groovin' away... Rock and roll playing... Warm summer night... No aperture stop... No filter.... Just me, a huge telescope and the full Moon. I don't know how long I watched it, but I was feeling pretty photon enriched when I finally decided to look away.

    Holy crap! I'm blind!!!

    My immediate reaction was that I had looked at that bright, magnified Moon for so long that I had actually damaged my vision! I looked round myself, horrified that I could barely see out of my left eye. What had I done?!? Would I recover?? I reached a trembling had to my face and pulled off my glasses to massage my eye in hopes of restoring my vision.

    Then I looked down and noticed the left lens of my photosensitve glasses had gone totally dark...

    Only in Ohio, and Only


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Loved your story,Astronimer .

    My tale is about a kaleidoscope, that looked like a sort of telescope.

    We went to this bloke's place for a Christmas party and there was about 12 people there. He announced to everybody that he's bought a beaut new fancy "kaleidoscope" and asked us if we wanted to have a look through it, explaining to us about the nice patterns if you see if you hold it up to the light.

    Ok - he brought the damn thing out and gave it to me - so I put it to my eye and looked upwards towards the light, turning it around and around, amused by the changing patterns - quite pretty I must admit.

    When I'd finished and gave it back to him there were gails of laughter from everybody as they looked at me. What the hell's up?

    Somebody ultimately gave me a mirror.

    The eyepiece of the k'scope had been coated around the edges with black powder and as I turned the instrument around a thick black ring totally circled my eye.

    Big joke! Soap wouldn't take it off - had to use washing-up detergent. :blink:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    LOL TheAstronomer - that's pretty funny!!

    I can't remember doing anything like that or even anything embarrassing as such, but I do remember learning the constellations as a kid... I saw the Pleiades and thought it was Delphinus because the book described it as a tiny constellation and the shape was the same

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Astronomically, maybe the worst is this:

    there was a huge fireball that fell/exploded over western europe in December 2001. Very spectacular apparently.

    I was in a perfect viewing position, but I missed seeing it because I assumed the light (which was INTENSE) was car headlights behind me, so I didn't turn round and see this incredible chunk of rock burn up!!!

    I was well hacked off when I found out later what I'd not looked at.

  5. #5
    Faulkner Guest
    I once saw an anomalous light in the sky & shrugged it off as a meteor. Stupid, I know. It was really a flying saucer!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    We had a bolide similar to that a few years ago. As luck would have it, I was just getting out of my car when it began breaking up and coming down in a fiery train of glory. My first thought was an airplane had exploded, but my astronomer mind knew immediately what it was. One of the most incredible meteors I had ever seen...

    Too bad somebody didn't tell the big kid that lives inside of me I couldn't catch it no matter how fast I ran!

    I've got no idea of why I actually ran after it. I don't think I realized I was until it had quit the sky and I found myself in the middle of a plowed field. (and knowing me? i was probably giving a scottish war whoop the whole time&#33 It ended up in the newspaper the next day, since it had been witnessed across the entire state.

    The bolide, that is...

    Come now! Not one of you has ever spent two hours on a perfectly clear night on your hands and knees with a flashlight looking through a patch of clover to find the set screw you dropped?? No one here has ever forgotten you had a moon filter on your 9mm eyepiece and couldn't figure out why you couldn't see any details in an 8th magnitude galaxy?? Not a single soul has ever been intently studying a field to identify a distant quasar to have an airplane fly across the field of view and startle you so badly that you darn near knocked the scope over to look up and see what the heck just blotted out the 3C 273?!

    Ah, my... And we haven't even gotten into the wildlife adventures yet!



  7. #7
    Planetwatcher Guest
    As for me. Last summer when Mars was at it's peak closest opposition.
    After months of talking about it and saying how much I wanted to see it through my telescope, I didn't. I stayed inside and watched TV. Shame on me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004

    I actually got tired of watching Mars! After five months of watching it, imaging it, and discussing it... "It" got kinda' old. There were a few beautiful nights though, when giving a public program through the 31" that I had the opportunity to watch it for seven and a half straight hours. It was a little bit harder to get bored when you have an opportunity to view it once every few minutes and see the rotation and details. Ended up making it a lot more difficult to enjoy in a smaller scope!

    Although I gotta' admit there is something kinda' nice about viewing right from your own rural backyard.... The appearance of the aurora to the south last fall was one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had. I had to immediately report because I couldn't believe where I was seeing it at! Heading back out, I settled into a lawn chair with a blanket just to watch. After about an hour or so, my neck got tired so I tipped back on the chair and just rested gazing at the zenith.

    Being a veteran meteor watcher, anything that moves catches my eye. I was unprepared for what came next. Out of nowhere, a perfect black delta wing of nothingness cruised overhead blocking out the stars!! Not a sound nor a light... And moving quickly and purposefully from the northwest to southeast. Well, I gotta' tell you... Mr. Faulkner's UFOs sure were on my mind! As it cruised into the incredible red spires and ghostly glowing green clouds in a part of the sky that does not normally have aurora, I didn't know whether to run or dig a hole! (it's the end of the world as we know it... and i feel fine.)

    Of course, them steath bombers aren't exactly into kidnapping blanketed old astronomers.

    Rockin' the Night,


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