The Four Observers

Inspired by many delightfull nights observing at Equuleus Observatory with friends who have a bad habit of making Monty Python voices in the dark, I was inspired to translate the classic sketch, The Four Yorkshiremen, into the language of amateur astronomers. - Attilla Danko.

The Four Observers

Mike: Ahh.. Very passable, this, very passable.

Richard: Nothing like a 30" goto Starmaster, eh?

Roland: You're right there, Sir Richard.

Matt: Who'd a thought thirty years ago, we'd all be observing with an binoviewered 30" computer-controlled scope in a luxurious roll-off roof observatory big enough for a whole star party.

Mike: Aye. In them days, we'd a' been glad to have a schmidt-cassegrain.

Richard: A Halley's-comet era Celestron

Matt: Without a tripod.

Roland: Or or a drive.

Mike: 30mm finder, and all.

Matt: We never had a finder. We used to sight along a seam in the tube.

Richard: The best we could manage was to sweep at random with 25mm Kellner.

Roland: But you know, we were happy in those days, though we had crappy gear.

Mike: Aye. Because we had crappy gear. My old Dad used to say to me, "Its not the scope, its the observer."

Matt: 'E was right. I was happier then and I didnt have even a telrad. We had this tiny observatory with with greaaaaat big holes in the roof.

Richard: Observatory? You were lucky to have an Observatory! We used to observe on the porch, all twenty-six of us, no dome slit. Half the sky was missing and we were all huddled together in one corner just to see down to 35 degrees!

Roland: You were lucky to have a porch! We used to have to climb the fire escape to the roof.

Mike: Ohhhh we used to dream of of fire escapes to the roof! Woulda' been Kitt Peak to us!. We used to observe out the bathroom window of of a downtown apartment. In the winter, the escaping warm air would cause airy disks to bloat to 20 arcseconds. Observatory. Hmmph.

Matt: Well when I say "Observatory" it was only a garden shed with the door open, but it was an observatory to us.

Richard: We were evicted from our garden shed; we had to go and observe in a sodium-vapor lit hocky rink.

Roland: You were lucky to have a rink! There were a hundred and fifty of us observing in a cardboard box in the middle of the 417.

Mike: [... challenging tone ...]Cardboard box?

Roland:[...determined look...] Aye.

Mike: You were lucky. We observed for thee months in the nude in a swamp. We used to have to setup at six in the morning, hack down the bullrushes, drain the swamp, sink the tripods four feet into the muck, collimate for 14 hours, just for a couple of hours of observing. And when we got home our S.O. would complain about how much we spent on telescopes.

Richard: Luxury! We used to have to set up in the swamp at six in the morning, drain the swamp, cut down trees, scrape mosquitos off of our optical surfaces, sink the tripods 6 feet into the muck, collimate for 16 hours. And we we got home, our wives would sell our telescopes, if we were lucky!

Roland: Well of course, we had it tough. ... We used to have to get set up the previous night, drain the swamp by bailing with our OTAs, re-aluminize our mirrors, and collimate 32 different optical surfaces for 20 hours. And when we got home our S.O. would accuse us of having sexual relations with a paracorr and divorce us.

Matt: Right. [...pause to muster effort...] I had to walk to the swamp, which was uphill both ways, carrying 300 pounds of gear, set up the previous night, sop up the swamp with my only copy of Uranometria, melt sand into glass, sift more sand into abrasives, chew pine trees to make pitch, grind 12 mirrors, collimate for 36 hours, observe with a 1mm eyerelief tasco eyepiece for 3 minutes under a limiting magnitude of -26 in heavy snow showers, and when we got home our S.O. would spit in our Naglers and run off with the editor of Sky&Tel.

Mike: And you try and tell the young observers today that... and they won't believe ya'.

All: They won't..

The original Monty Python sketch.

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