Re: (IAAC) Obj: Unknown - Inst: aperture=3.5 700mm Focal Length, tr
Dear Lew & Mark,
This year marks my fifty first year of what I can only call a passionate
love affair with astronomy.
Over the many years of doing astronomy I too have had my bloopers.
Here is one of my confessions below.
Back in January 11, 1986, Halley's Comet was the main event for our clubs
star party that night.
I was the VP and owned the largest scope of the club at that time. We had
a great turn out that night of a few thousand people. As I worked late
that day and only arrived a little after sunset among a huge crowd of the
public, I made my way to my parking spot and unloaded my scope. It was
like setting up in a busy mall during Christmas rush. The scope was so
larger the old style Odyssey II; I had to take off the eyepiece mount so
not to break it in transport. As I was installing the eyepiece mount.
With a huge crowed around me, a lady with a 60,000-candle watt flash took
a picture of me while I was looking down my tube to alien the eyepiece
Now, I do not know what lumens this was that went into to my good right
eye, but let me tell you, you never wont to have this happen. My night
vision was shot for the night to say the least.
Anyway, I had to get set up and do what I had to do and that was showing
the comet to the public.
There was no room to set up where I unloaded, so a few strong men helped
me carry the scope up on a small hill just off the road. As a few hundred
people followed, us for a peak of a once in a life time Halley's Comet.
A I lost my bearings I yelled out to my fellow astronomers, Where is the
comet! Everyone pointed to the West.
Therefore, I took my binoculars and quickly scanned the sky. I could only
see out of my left eye and poorly at most, but I found the comet! This
was before Telrad, so I amend my scope to the comet, by getting down on
my knees and found the spot. I scanned again through my 32-mm eyepiece
and found the Comet. That done, I looked around and had a line of at
least 250 people in line for a view. So I was set and could kick back
and enjoy what I could of the rest of the night.
Every thing was going great, I was happy to show Halley's Comet to all
those people, who I knew, would remember this night for the rest of their
lives. Only one thing spoiled this, and that was when my best friend's
wife came over to say high and ask if I needed any thing. By the way, the
lady who took the picture was just leaving after spending a good 30
min.'s in the line, when my friend's wife said loudly, "But Toney that's
not on Halley's Comet, it's on a Globular Cluster!" The lady, who just
was walking away, you should have seen the look on that woman's face.
What could I do but to move the scope over about 10 degrees and hope that
I would not be hung that night by all those who left the line thinking
they had seen the comet, but did not. As you see they did not and I am
still here to talk about it.
Therefore, when we make a blooper all we can do is laugh it off and keep
on learning from our errors.
This is a very human hobby, amateur astronomy, someone once said:
" It is important to remember to always reach for the moon... for if we
fall...we will land among the stars."
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