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Funny Story - how not to observe


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This must have happened 15 years ago but it still makes me laugh. 

There must be lots of hilarious stories out there - why don't you share :)

Me and some friends were spending a couple of nights on a yacht.

One of them (who loved his gadgets but knew nothing about astronomy) insisted on bringing his telescope (I think it was a C5 or C6), which had never been out of its box from new a couple of years previously!

No amount of persuading would make him accept that a yacht was not the most stable platform for a telescope.

Anyway, one evening we were sitting in the cockpit drinking way too much when the clouds cleared.

Up jumped my friend, grabbed his telescope, hopped over the side and proceeded to set it up on the pontoon we were moored to - nearly as unstable a platform as a yacht.

We carried on drinking expecting to have to rescue either him or his telescope from the sea.

After a couple of minutes he shouted "I CAN SEE MARS - IT'S HUGE - AND IT'S MOVING"

"Wow" we thought, "gotta see this", so we hopped over the side to take a look. The first clue (which we all missed) was the low angle the telescope was pointing!

Sure enough, there was a large fuzzy red disk moving in and out of the field of view!

But it wasn't Mars; just a very defocused sodium street light moving as the pontoon was buffeted by the waves :)


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