Peter Dunsby, a cosmologist from the University of Cape Town, "discovered" what he believed to be an unusually bright space object that turned out to be Mars.
The scientist shared his observations at ATel (The Astronomer's Telegram), an Internet service designed to quickly spread information about new space phenomena among astronomers.
In his message, Dunsby reported that on March 20 he had observed a very bright transient in the night sky next to the Triple Nebula and the Lagoon Nebula, which was missing at that place on March 8. The scientist also asked his colleagues to help him determine the nature of the object.
However, Dunsby soon realized his mistake, and 40 minutes after the first post he sent the second message, where he reported that the "discovered" transient was Mars, and apologized for the inconvenience.
For this "discovery" the researcher was awarded a joke certificate by The Astronomer's Telegram's Twitter-account.
The incident had caused vivid reactions among social media users.
Most of them laughed at the incident and praised the scientist for displaying a good sense of humor over his mistake.
Ok ok…. very funny. 😀— peterdunsby (@peterdunsby) 20 марта 2018 г.
Lesson learned. Check check and triple check and then check some more!!— peterdunsby (@peterdunsby) 20 марта 2018 г.
It's fun, and it's free publicity. Keep up the good work. Those few folks in academia who also have a sense of humour will all appreciate it. I, for one, choose to laugh WITH you. Keep up the good work. This tiny foible made my day. 👽👾🤖— Sean Gratton (@themonkeymusic) 21 марта 2018 г.
Happens to the best of us.:)— Garrett Somers (@garrett_somers) 21 марта 2018 г.
Genuinely the greatest discovery of the year. Exoplanets be damned. Now maybe we can terraform and colonize the ATel 11448 object, if we could only find a way to drive there. #Mars #Astronomy #Tesla #RocketMan— Sean Gratton (@themonkeymusic) 21 марта 2018 г.
The beauty of #science is that when a #scientist makes a mistake, others do peer reviews and if there's a mistake, they simply share it, even have a cheeky laugh & then move on.#Religions or #ideologies, on the other hand, are always right, their leaders always righteous.— Payam Fazli (@officialpayam) 22 марта 2018 г.