Retraction of a Retraction – Turns out I wasn’t wrong after all!

Yesterday I deleted a post about Caroline Herschel, the Google doodle that had been posted for her birthday and the type of telescope that she had used to make he comet discoveries only hours after I had posted it. I went on to claim that I was mistaken in my claims and to apologies widely on the Internet to anybody I might have misled. In the cold grey light of dawn I realised that I had indeed made an error, however not in my original post but in retracting it. How this came about can be attributed to one or more of the following:

1) Extreme tiredness

2) Mental and physical confusion brought about by my first day of remedial orthopaedic treatment

3) A brain fart

4) Early signs of dementia

5) Congenital stupidity

6) An inability to read

7) Late repercussion of my substantial drug abuse in my misspent youth

8) Aliens!

9) Add your own reason!

In my post I had said that the Google Doodle was wrong because it displayed Caroline Herschel with a ‘normal’ refractor, i.e. with lenses, telescope whereas the Herschel used reflectors, i.e. telescopes with mirror, which they designed and constructed themselves. So far, so good. Then in the comments Tony Angel drew my attention to an interesting article about Caroline Herschel and her comet hunting. I hastily, and here is where the problems begin, skimmed the article and read the following quote from Caroline:

I found I was to be trained for an assistant-astronomer, and by way of encouragement a telescope adapted for ‘sweeping,’ consisting of a tube with two glasses, such as was commonly used as a ‘finder,’ was given to me.

 I read “a tube with two glasses” as being the description of a refractor with two lenses, thought ‘Oh FUCK!’ and in a state of confused panic deleted my post.

In fact, if I had read a few lines further I would have seen the following:

Table 1. The Parameters of Caroline’s two alt-azimuth

                 Newtonian reflecting sweepers.

 And on the following page there is even a diagram of the two telescopes with a caption that clearly states that they are Newtonian reflectors. So now being once again of sound mind and body I shall restore my post with a little bit of added information i.e. the illustration of Caroline’s reflector telescopes.








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8 responses to “Retraction of a Retraction – Turns out I wasn’t wrong after all!

  1. Never mind, that chap Einstein changed his mind on gravitational waves four times!

  2. Walter Hehl

    Thony, I am similar, unable to read a long text carefully..
    Typical for digital natives!

  3. jimhalifko

    Things happen. Thank you for the post.

  4. My option is
    10) all of the above

  5. Pingback: Weekend reads: Publishing hypocrisy; false truths; scientists go rogue - Retraction Watch at Retraction Watch

  6. You thought that you were wrong but you were obviously mistaken.

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