Wednesday, February 11, 2015

How Many Stars Am I Holding Up?

Probably more than once an astronomer or two has finished his or her observations of the immense universe, felt in some way a little bit overwhelmed by said immensity and said, in time-honored fashion, "I need a belt."

To the rescue comes the Barge Inn of Wiltshire, UK, which has been granted permission to build an astronomical observatory next to its current lot. The observation dome will accommodate up to 20 people at a time using its 14-inch telescope. Patrons of the two-century old pub may also observe the telescope's sights on screens which will be installed inside.

Access to the telescope will be with the traditional staircase and observation walkways, although I might have thought they would fix the eyepiece so that it could be used from a prone position on the ground. Apparently, pub regulars are better able to hold their pints and will not need such an unusual configuration.

The story doesn't say if observing parties will be allowed to bring their beverages into the observing dome with them, but I would think probably not. Imagine the embarrassment if what was thought to be a brand-new stellar phenomenon turned out to be spilled stout on the lens.

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