Vol. 2, Issue 7, February 17, 2004
Get Away From It All
The Apesheet

Astronomers Make Important Discovery No One Understands

A team of astronomers from the US, France, and Britain announced on Sunday that it had discovered what looks to be a small galaxy some 13 billion light-years away - the most distant galaxy yet detected. And it appears to have been forming massive first-generation stars at a furious pace.

"This object may have played a key role in awakening the universe from its "dark ages," a period when the young universe was filled with primordial hydrogen but no stars," said Gerard Ruben, astronomy professor at the California Institute of Technology. "Primordial hydrogen," he repeated as the reporters present stared with blank expressions. "You do know what hydrogen is, don't you? Most common element in the universe? Please?"

The scientist continued speaking for at least fifteen more minutes, using popular scientific catch phrases such as "quasar," "galaxy," and "ultraviolet." However, the accompanying images in the PowerPoint presentation looked pretty much like a spot in a bunch of other spots, with an arrow pointing to the important spot.

"Are these "dark ages" you're referring to related to the dark ages that swept Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire?" asked a reporter from the Miami Herald. When informed that in fact this was not the case, several reporters began scratching out what they had written.

When researchers admitted that they did not have the "spectroscopic signatures" needed to confirm the actual age of the object in question, another reporter asked if the researchers had consulted a handwriting expert. The answer was apparently no. Many more long words were then said on both sides, during which time this reporter got a cup of coffee and checked his messages.

"I think what we can conclude is that the astronomers discovered something very small and very far away," said LA Times reporter Glen Holbrook, after the press conference was over. This reporter was glad for the assistance, although puzzled by the tearful conclusion to the press conference, when the researchers began shouting at the reporters in frustration.

"Oh yeah," said Holbrook. "These astronomers are a highly emotional bunch."

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