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October 03, 2022

Backyard Astronomy: Mailbag (2004-03-27)

By Cheryl Haimann

This week, we open the Backyard Astronomy mailbag and field questions from our readers.

Q. I read that astronomers use red flashlights so they don't mess up their night vision, but I can't find any red flashlights down at the Wal-Mart. What should I do?

A. Help is just a phone call away. The official Backyard Astronomy SafeLight Conversion Kit will let you convert a standard flashlight of any size into a high-quality red light for use while observing. Just apply the exclusive government-approved solution to front of your flashlight. The kit is yours for the low price of $8.95 plus $1.80 shipping and handling. Order yours today!

Q. I want to become an astronomer, but then I learned that you have to take a lot of math and stuff in college. I hate math. What should I do?

A. Consider becoming an astrologer. Most people can't keep astronomy and astrology straight anyway.

Q. NASA scientists are saying there used to be water on Mars. What do you think happened to it?

A: Think? We know what happened to it. In cooperation with the International Guild of Astronomers (IGA), we are proud to offer exclusive Backyard Astronomy Martesian Spring Water to the public. A bottle of this miracle water can be yours for only $8.95, or three bottles for $25.00 (plus shipping and handling.) Supplies are limited, so order today!

Q. Which is more realistic, Star Trek or Star Wars?

A. Are you nuts? Star Trek, of course. William Shatner is all over the TV on Priceline commercials, and his musical talents are extolled in the same breath as those of William Hung. Patrick Stewart worked with Mel Brooks. Kate Mulgrew played Katharine Hepburn on stage. Data played John Adams on Broadway. Spock played Mr. Golda Meir on television. Geordi reads to kids on PBS. On the other hand, Mark Hammill...I rest my case.

Q. I am planning a trip to New Zealand, and would like to become more familiar with the southern constellations before I go. What do you recommend?

A. The southern constellations are, to put it bluntly, lame. Musca, the Fly. Circinis, the Drawing Compass. Norma, the Square. Mensa, the Table. Puhleeze. Here at Backyard Astronomy World Headquarters, we want you see the sky with a fresh eye, just as the astronomers of old did. The latest addition to our product line is the Backyard Astronomy "Make The Southern Sky Your Own" Kit. This innovative educational tool lets you find your own patterns in the stars before your trip and record them on your personalized star map. Then, when you arrive in the southern hemisphere, you won't be greeted by a strange sky, but by constellations that are meaningful for you. A one month kit is available for just $8.95 (plus shipping and handling.) Please allow four to six weeks for delivery.

Q. That new planet they just discovered sure is small. Do you think they will discover any smaller planets than that?

A. We're almost certain of it. Extensive studies of that subject are underway at Backyard Astronomy World Headquarters. Heat and pressure are two of the key elements to planet formation, and our research team has created those same conditions in the lab by not cleaning the dryer filter since 1996. We wouldn't be surprised if a whole new solar system comes blowing out of our laundry room any day now.

And when it does, remember you read it first in Backyard Astronomy!

Article © Cheryl Haimann. All rights reserved.
Published on 2004-03-27
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