Astronomers Anonymous: Getting Help with the Puzzles and by Steve Ringwood

By Steve Ringwood

In this interesting parody of letters to a standard “lonely hearts” columnist, real-life professional and long-time astronomy columnist Steve Ringwood provides a sweeping review of universal questions and difficulties useful and beginner astronomers face, compiled from Ringwood's personal reviews on the earth of astronomy. His screamingly humorous reviews will preserve you guffawing out loud all through, so be cautious of studying this ebook in public! Written particularly for bothered astronomers, but in addition available to somebody with an curiosity in house or astronomy, readers will simply realize the problems they face and revel in the humor being directed at them and their science.

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Can you see where we are going with this? Hipparchus (and Ptolemy after him) decided to split all the stars into six groups of steadily decreasing magnitude (or lessening grandeur), with the highest level of 1 being the brightest and those at the lowest level (several steps down from the rostrum, so to speak) as of only 6th brightness. Astonishingly, scientists later discovered that unbeknownst to these ancient sages, the five divisions between the brightest and faintest stars visible to the eye correlated very closely to a logarithmic scale.

Perhaps some aversion therapy will do the trick. What should I do? Anon. , I know from personal experience how painfully difficult this obsession can become. In fact I know several friends of mine whose secret leanings have been exposed by the Multi Element Optics Group. So far as treatment is concerned, I’m afraid it is doomed to failure. I do, of course, know people who have tried hanging heavy weights from their tripods, going to bed with their current instruments under the pillow, thinking Newtonian thoughts, when abhorrent desires arise.

Thus was born the telescope accessory, the astronomical version of hi-fidelity’s woofer or tweeter. The accumulation of these accessories can creep up upon the unwary astronomer over many years. Before long, the total mass of these extra accoutrements can outweigh the telescope itself by several tons. As for the workhorse itself; here, at least, we have a case where size really does make a difference. Despite the fact that the full glory S. 1007/978-1-4419-5817-4_3, Ó Springer ScienceþBusiness Media, LLC 2010 33 34 Astronomers Anonymous of a night sky can best be enjoyed by the eyes alone, astronomers ironically spend much of their time acquiring increasingly bigger bits of equipment enabling them to magnify progressively smaller fragments of it.

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