DIY builder Mikhail Levchenko's homemade backyard observatory once made a drunken Russian give up the sauce for good after revealing Saturn's rings to him one fateful night. Now, the telescope, which has been dormant for years, is getting a push to be restored and brought back online in time for a full solar eclipse which will be viewable from Levchenko's hometown of Barnaul in Siberia. And, of course, to cure more Russian alkies.
World War Two vet Levchenko built the scope from scratch with his bare hands in the 70s—the rickety tower, the assemblies for the 16-inch lens, everything. Since his death in 2002, neighbours have had to fend off scrap metal collectors and salvagers from wrecking the thing as it lay dormant next to Levchenko's cabbage field. Since western Siberia will be a prime viewing spot for the eclipse in August, neighbours are hoping to restore it in time. Best of luck, as anything that can pry a bottle out of an old Russian drunk's hands has got to be pretty damn impressive. [Reuters]