Talk:1463: Altitude

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Ok, Is everyone on vacation today? or is this explanation that hard? Edo (talk) 19:27, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

The comic was uploaded just minutes before you commented at 19:23. ThePurpleK (talk) 19:36, 22 December 2014 (UTC)
"Ok, Is everyone on vacation today?" Randall was ... --RenniePet (talk) 20:01, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

Transcript right now assumes two Astronomers. It looks to me like three. 21:03, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

I changed it to 3. 22:36, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

A laser guide star is a device for focussing telescopes. Cats go crazy chasing lasers. I can only imagine what havoc a star cat might wreck chasing a laser guide star. 21:07, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

The source of the laser is only moving at 1000 miles an hour, but it's going in a huge circle. That's a lot of leverage for our particular lighthouse. -- Seebert (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
You mean "wreak"? 05:12, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

I may be wrong, but I think all high-altitude observatories are built on mountaintops. So the drawings indicating the astronomers are driving up a hill, at least for the last stretch, is wrong - they'd be driving up a very steep mountain road with lots of zig-zags. --RenniePet (talk) 23:49, 22 December 2014 (UTC)

True story: Stephan James O'Meara's eyeballs are close to where it'd become statistically unlikely for there to be humans with a more perfectly shaped eyeball. He probably sees that 3 of the sky's planets are bigger than a point without an instrument. So from natural ability, being born after '55, and a bit from practice, SJO had about the best night vision of anyone alive in 1985. The guy wanted to be the first human to see Halley's Comet come back. So he traveled from Boston to a 14,000 foot volcano in the middle of the Pacific and brought a telescope so wide that Yao Ming could barely hug it. And bottled oxygen. Even people who can grow enough blood cells and heart-lung athleticism to acclimate completely still have trouble seeing in the dark. Besides some of the best observing conditions on the planet, it was also only 7.5 degrees from the latitude where Halley's Comet passed overhead so there was very little extra air to look through. Also, you have to use peripheral vision. But not too far to the side. And not the ear side, that's the blind spot. And tap the telescope and look for motion. That's the technique. It must've been freezing (it was midwinter and convection of even a human under the opening affects the view) but here is a guy staring through a telescope Yao Ming could barely get his arms around with an oxygen mask to his face. 00:17, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Am I the only one who's bothered by this? It was funny right up until the "let's make out" comment at the end. Astronomy has a pretty serious sexual harassment problem, and as a woman working in astronomy I'd rather that wasn't made light of. 03:08, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

I don't think Randall would consciously make light of such an issue. Sadly, it does make a kind of sense that it would be an astronomical problem, so to speak. Taibhse (talk) 04:17, 23 December 2014 (UTC)
That's assuming one or more of the astronomers is female. They could all be male. 06:03, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

Oxygen concentration is constant regardless of altitude? So there is the same quantity of oxygen per cubic meter of atmosphere at sea level as at the edge of the atmosphere? And halfway to the moon? That doesn't sound right... 04:39, 23 December 2014 (UTC)

What makes this even funnier/more silly (in my opinion) -- these days, with the use of digital cameras/detecting equipment and internet connections, astronomers usually don't even need to go up to these telescopes any more. They can stay at a more breathable altitude and get their data remotely. --Aaron of Mpls (talk) 06:28, 23 December 2014 (UTC)