Hot Tub Astronomy: A Guide for the “Wet Astronomer” Oct01


Related Posts

Share This

Hot Tub Astronomy: A Guide for the “Wet Astronomer”

This first entry was published in Astronomy Magazine October 1985. Why I wrote it is explained in the article. Unlike styles, politics,and many other things in 1985 the sky and the home view of it is the same now in 2010. The fascination has lasted us a life time. Astronomy Magazine published my stories as I submitted them, and I thank them… perhaps just a tad late.

A Guide for the “Wet Astronomer”

Here we are! Your new astronomers. A group that grows larger every night. To the world of fantastic amateurs and brilliant professionals comes the new breed…the Wet Ones! we consist mainly of people, who if you say “east” automatically look right. It used to be we only looked up to see if it was going to rain. Now wet and warm in our outdoor hot tubs we have discovered the sky.It’s a discovery that is absolutely inevitable. I wish I had known about it before installing the hot tub. Hot tubs are extremely difficult to relocate. Perhaps we can get a warning printed by, oh NASA or somebody, and have it attached to newly manufactured tubs. “WARNING! SITTING IN A HOT TUB AT NIGHT MAY LEAD TO AN ADDICTION TO SKY WATCHING. USE EXTREME CAUTION IN PLACING THIS TUB SO OBSTRUCTIONS TO THE SKY WILL NOT FRUSTRATE YOU.”
In any case the hot tub astronomer will become a specialist, concentrating only on that part of the sky yhat passes through his own view from the hot tub. The rest of the heavens will remain in Siberia as far as he is concerned.

People jump into hot tubs for a variety of reasons therapeutic and social. A survey at the local spa shop revealed a host of replies.
Question: “Why are you buying a hot tub?” Answers: “For my Arthritis.” ” The neighbors have one.” “To attract chicks!” “Why not?” In short not one person said, “To become an astronomer.” Little do they know the fate that awaits them. Soon they will be checking out the price on better binoculars, only to buy a telescope instead. (I will add at this point that 25 years has brought great change to this field.) Without the proper pre-care in the installation phase they may soon lament. “If only I had known I would put the tub over there”…pointing to an open space now occupied by the dog’s house. Here is a short list of things new spa owners need to know.

1. LOCATION. Don’t place the tub so you can see it from the house. Put it where you can see the sky from the tub. The dog would probaby like that spot in the shade of the eaves better anyway.

2. LIGHTING: The less the better.

3. HEIGHT: Don’t sink the tub into the ground like a swimming pool. You will want the seat to be chair high. This will give you a decent height for looking through your telescope and it is very difficult to have a conversation with those out of the tub if you are talking to their ankles.

4: Decor: The decorators have designed an array of cute little lattice buildings to put over and around the spa. We fell for an adorable gazebo look. Since we got it, we have removed so many slats in order to see out that it looks as if a tornado came though. However if you plan it right you can use it to block undesirable light.

Next read #2 A Star for Everybody

Download the Collection for your digital reader