We approach the 49th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. On the Vatican Observatory Faith and Science site you will find this cool video (click here) of Pope Paul VI at the V.O. at the time of the landing, trying his hand at the eyepiece of a V.O. telescope and giving a public statement on the significance of the landing.
I do many public programs at my college’s observatory, and I think it is pretty clear that, at least at the moment shown in the video, Pope Paul was not getting a satisfactory view of the moon through that eyepiece. Notice how he squints and tries to keep one eye closed. Lots of people need some help in seeing through a telescope. When an inexperienced observer is going to use a telescope, it is good to select an eyepiece that is easy to look through. No doubt that telescope he was looking through was used for research, not public viewing, and the eyepiece being used was probably not great for a neophyte. Since Pope Paul VI is not beaming as he comes down from the telescope, I think his view was never satisfactory. I have seen that expression many times, but usually I can say “hey, let me help you get a better look”. Not this time.