Tales from THE EYEPIECE
Stories and strange tales from the world of amateur astronomy by Jonathan Powell
Tis the season for Christmas jumpers, hats and gloves! All of which are very welcome when observing on a cold winter’s night. However, many moons ago, I spotted in a shop window a product labelled as a hand-warming device. Thinking this would be a great astronomical accessory, I duly purchased it. The ‘hand warmer’ was in fact several charcoal-coloured flat sticks, each measuring about five inches long, wrapped in a small polythene sheath! It transpired that the sticks needed to be placed in a far more expensive pouch that allowed the heat to be emitted safely. D’oh! So, if you’re buying things to warm the hands of the astronomer in your life this Christmas, gloves are a safer bet. They shouldn’t cost the Earth and indeed, they won’t burn a hole in your pocket!
Jonathan Powell is the astronomy correspondent for the South Wales Argus