I don’t know about other countries but we are a suspicious lot. I took my telescope out last night for a bit of “sidewalk astronomy”. Set it up in a mall parking lot and invited passersby to have a look at Saturn, Jupiter, the Moon and the Jewel Box. Most people just ignored me, a few did say no thank you and a few (the minority) did have a look. That of course made it worth it to see their reactions when they saw Saturn.
I know what a beggar must feel like, being ignored or brushed off. Is it because of the high crime rate, the rat race or something? We must learn to “smell the roses” again. Some good things in life doesn’t have to cost us something.

Hmm, yes, I think people in SA are probably more suspicious of anything unusual than they might be in other countries. This suspicion is understandable, given our pervasive social and cultural problems. Still, I think you’ll agree that a person on a street corner with a “looking-tube” who invites strangers to have a peek qualifies as unusual. And, yes, I agree with you that it’s a sad reflection of how fear and mistrust can completely inhibit our capacity for wonder. But if you carry on doing your one-man telescope expo regularly at the same place, I think people will slowly come around to trusting you and showing more interest.

Very worthy initiative, by the way!


Very worthy initiative, by the way!
Thank you. I live in Middelburg but I travel quite a lot and have done this (with the same results) in other locations. Maybe I will announce here where and when I'll be doing it again.

I had my scope out a few nights ago. Hope I helped (in a very small way) in somebody’s education. Me behind the scope, I am short. :slight_smile:

And don’t forget that comet Lovejoy is visible at the moment. Perhaps that will interest them, at least until they see it and it’s just a fuzzy patch. :slight_smile:

People are perhaps more paranoid today, but I think that rather sadly, large numbers of them are just profoundly uninterested. If it ain’t on TV, it’s not worth looking at. Oh well. It’s their loss.

More than seven years ago on a cold January morning, virtuoso violinist Joshua Bell stood in an entrance to a Washington metro station disguised as a street performer and played his heart out.

No one noticed.

Since then, the story of Bell’s social experiment – which saw more than 1,000 people pass him by and only 27 stop to listen – has become nearly as famous as the Grammy award-winning musician himself.

The way things are going in America these days, Mr. Bell and his audience can be grateful they weren’t arrested or fired upon by the police… :slight_smile:

Well, this post prompted me to finally dust the binoculars off, wait for some clear skies, and find comet lovejoy.

So there ya go, one skeptic reminded to take some time and once again appreciate the universe a little bit.

Granted that the moon is making things a bit bright at the moment, but still: a smudge is a smudge. :stuck_out_tongue:

This chart can help. It’s for northern skies, so almost upside down for us, but use Orion and the Bull to find Lovejoy. The Moon will not be a problem from Tuesday onwards. Crearskies!

Clear skies seem to be the biggest problem at this point. And somehow the northern hemisphere people always get to see comets at their best. Not fair! We need one that reaches its best point in the southern skies, in July. :slight_smile:

You understand me wrong, I found it pretty easy. It’s just not very impressive at this stage. At least, not through binoculars.

While we’re on the subject, check out this beautiful video NASA released showing Light echoes going through a nebula.

Just a smudge even in my scope (8 inch with 19mm eyepiece). Cannot see the tail, maybe with the Moon out the way and the clouds willing? Who knows.

Me, I was actually pretty impressed, because even this sort of smudgy comet is not all that common.

MaNaught wasn’t bad…