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Wednesday, July 23

Murphy's law for astronomers

Law of Selective Gravitation:
Small items such as locking screws will land in the place from which they are most difficult to retrieve; heavy items such as counterweights will land where they cause the most pain and/or damage.

Law of Selective Vegetation:
The neighbour's tree always migrates to precisely the right place to occult your target object.

Law of Selective Observation:
The next supernova will occur in a galaxy that you observed on the previous clear night.

Law of Selective Declination:
The most interesting astronomical event of the year will occur at a declination that is below the horizon of your observing site.

Sod's Law (astronomer's variant):
A dropped optic will always land surface-side down, unless it is either capped or dropped for the express purpose of proving this law.

Law of Inevitable Shrinkage:
Anything cut to size, such as solar film, will be too small.

Law of Temporary Loss:
A lost item will stay lost until it is either replaced or no longer required.

Law of Averted Vision:
The brightest meteor of the night will occur behind you, visible only to the people to whom you are talking at the time. This is true for all observers, including those to whom you were talking. [And it has been true for me! That makes not one, but two fireball meteors I have missed so far! - T]

Lunar Radiation Principle:
Deep Sky observers will find that the clearest nights are around the full moon, when the lunar radiation is sufficient to drive off the clouds and haze.

Daylight Conundrum:
With the unique exception of total solar eclipses, the year's ten most interesting astronomical events will occur when the sun is above your horizon, unless it is raining.

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