BoBfest - The Regional Gathering of Amateur Astronomers

Saturday, January 25, 2020
West Wing of Catawba Science Center,
Hickory, North Carolina
Only 214 Days Until BoBfest 2020

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Introducing the Golden Dumbbell Award!

Submit Your M27 Nominations Here!

Astronomers are always on the lookout for astronomical and scientific baloney! The media is full of science stories where facts are misstated or convoluted. The result is a general public that is misled and confused about science and astronomy.

Often, the misinformation is the result of sloppy research and reporting. Other times the media creates situations where things are said and taken out of context. Examples of this are the Mars Hoax that talks about how big and bright Mars will be each August. Another example is the recent creation of the non-scientific terms "Blood Moon" and "Super Moon", that have no meaning in astronomy.

In the heavens, there is an object known as Messier 27 or M27. This object is commonly called "The Dumbbell Nebula". M27 is a class of objects called planetary nebula. They are small, old stars similar to our Sun that have run through their fuel and "burned out" All that remains is a dim but hot center star that caused surrounding gas to glow.

The Catawba Valley Astronomy Club some years ago created the "M27 Award" to recognize astronomical and scientific innaccuracies and the "Dumbbells" who spread them. At each meeting, members report recently seen instances of such baloney.

In honor of 2019 being the 27th year of BoBfest, we are pleased to allow BoBfest attendees to submit nominations for "The Golden Dumbbell" Award! We thought it would be fun and educational for clubs in attendance at Bobfest to nominate a media error and provide the correcting explanation at the 27th annual (get it?) BoBfest! The winner will be judged by crowd applause and a valuable prize awarded to the winning club! Feel free to submit your nominations (or questions) via email to or come prepared to nominate describe and correct the error in person. Either way, have somebody there who will describe your entry.