This piece by Mail Online about the discovery of a new gravitational lens on Space Warps during BBC Stargazing Live is a prime example of how you often need to take science articles in tabloid newspapers (and their online equivalents) with a bucket of salt! It becomes quite a fun game to read through it and spot the inaccuracies, though I wouldn’t suggest making a drinking game of it unless you can really handle your alcohol.
The most glaring mistake has to be that they think Zbigniew Chetnik (one of our volunteers) actually discovered the lens from his own BACK GARDEN, presumably with his own telescope. Highly unlikely, unless his back garden is 2,500m above sea-level and he owns a multi-million pound telescope with a 4m mirror. It’s not, and he doesn’t. His garden is in Badby, Northamptonshire.
The truth is that Mr Chetnik was one of many volunteers on spacewarps.org (which isn’t mentioned anywhere in the article) who spotted the lens while looking through data from the CFHT and VISTA telescopes on their computers (perhaps whilst in their back gardens?). They all deserve to be recognised for the amazing job they ACTUALLY did!
Finally, contrary to what it says in the article, the object is still officially named ASW0009io9 and sadly not 9Spitch after a misheard version of Mr Chetnik’s nickname. Neither did “scientists” particularly want to call it 9stein. We asked for suggestions for a nickname from the public and received hundreds of suggestions.
For those who don’t know, Mail Online is the world’s oldest news website, started in 1492 by Leonardo da Vinci.