Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Observing, some more

I'm observing this whole week. I remember how painful all-night shifts are. Things get a little cushy at AEOS when I only have to work 7 hour shifts like 7p-2a or 10p-5a. You can nap or at least prep a little bit. My first day on, Monday, was a 23-hour work day. Damn that was painful. It started with a lovely 9am "breifing" on how to escort foreign visitors around the telescope. The prof I visited in Zurich is here working on some extensions of the modelling we've been doing. The breifing made me have images of the Bond movies..... Everybody's with the KGB! And all I do is look at stars. It didn't end until 8am when I'd finished calibrating all the different configurations Jeff had me try that night. Jeff is an interesting character. When he gets an idea, he's a man-obsessed. Actually, he's always a man obsessed. When he gets something he want's to do, optimization and ease are out the window. And you have to try everything right *now*. Do it properly later if you find something..... It's a powerful technique because you get to look at a lot of different things quickly, but then you end up repeating work since you didn't actually do anything properly and completely. Or you just make your grad student stay up an extra 3 hours doing it for you. Hmm.... at least I'm earning my salary.

At least there was a total lunar eclipse that made the night interesting. There was a 20-minute period where I had to give up the scope to some other people and I got to go outside during the deepest part of the eclipse. I didn't take any pictures, but Rob Ratowski did - he's one of the guys up here all the time as an "amature". He's not using 50million dollar telescopes, but he's got some damn fancy equipment and takes some really pretty shots. The moon was blood-red and very dim. The Milky-way was out. Very cool! On my way back in, it started to lighten around the edges.

Rob's Moon Sequence:

Rob's Eclipse

Basically, in the last little while, I've tripled the number of stars I'm looking at, and I've expanded away from looking at a single Hydrogen line to other lines of other elements. The calibration and configuring is a pain, but it's somewhat interesting. I'm going to be doing the 5pm-6am routine for the whole week. Hopefully I won't get too run down by the experience. At least now I've only got to do this one week per month.

5 new not-so-emissive stars:
4 new fairly-emissive stars:
I'm really looking forward to some good sleep.....


Blogger Liz said...

should we take bets on how long it takes you to recover? Lyndle was asking about you yesterday..

7:34 AM  

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