We’re running a membership drive this month – our goal is 150 new members – and as a part of it we’re including this blatant clickbait series… Besides, it’s a chance to tell some of the funny stories that come up during cloudy nights at the VATT!
The old astronomer tells the tale… As a guest in one of the University telescope domes, I watched as two observers set up for a planetary occultation observation. The senior astronomer worked quickly to get a strip chart recorder fixed (this was a while ago!) before the observations were to begin, while the grad student opened the dome and readied the telescope.
In those days, when you actually worked in the dome, you also had a finderscope with an eyepiece. But looking through the eyepiece, the student reported in a panicked voice, that nothing could be seen!
I looked up into the dome. The telescope was pointed at the wall.
I decided to let the student work it out. (They did.)
Don’t let our site go blank! Why should you click on our donate button and help support our site? Your money supports the work of the Vatican Observatory, including our research, our telescope, our biennial summer schools, our educational outreach… and our mission to serve as a living sign of how science and religion are not enemies but work together without preconceptions in search of the truth. About a third of our budget comes from donations. And rather than just being at the mercy of one or two big donors or foundations, we want to show that our mission has a broader appeal. So we’re asking for lots of people willing to send us $10 a month as a sign that they support our mission..and enjoy reading our stories. Can you join us?