Friday, October 31, 2008

Flying to Mexico

Thursday night I left for Mexico City. It would prove to be a long day of travel.... 7pm Thursday to 6pm Friday awake on airplanes or in airports. The 7 hour layover in SFO is what did it. At least I got a lot of work done! I've been slated to give a talk on the "Haleakala Observatories and Exchange Opportunities". Or something like that. Basically, Jeff and I are here to begin the process of organizing a yearly exchange program between UNAM and IfA. 2-3 per year going both ways. In addition to working with Gloria on the binary star / tidal-forcing program. The flight was basically uneventful. Mexico seems like a very busy, crowded place. The pollution is pretty bad, though Santiago was much worse. I managed to get in to my hotel room without using a word of English. I'm amazed I guessed the right answer to rapid-fire questions. I would keep having Japanese pop in to my head when I needed Spanish.... The exchange rate is 10+ to 1 so food is pretty cheap here. I basically walked through the hawkers and shops from the airport, through the attached bus staion to the hotel before passing out. Nothing exciting.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Attack of the squiggles

I've been working on the next paper.... The referee report came in and they're happy with it but want it to be longer with more info. So much for a quick letter. I've spent the week compiling the next round of squiggles. Looks like there's yet another class or few of stars showing absorptive polarization. Death by squiggles!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Hilarious Cartoon

Carly sent me this PDF on the recent 'crisis'. Hilarious. Damning. Sad...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Home & Website Update

I'm Home!!!!! And I don't have to leave till next Thursday (When I head to Mexico). Sweet! I'm really looking foward to some time at home.

I had time on airplanes, in hotels and cars to work on updating a few things. First off, the Nevada pics are all processed and online on my pics website - here.

I also spent a bit of time updating my research webpage and my IfA TerraPAC pages.

I've also done a massive redo of my timelapse. Two more years worth of video is up there, and it's all in high-res now (900x600+). There's 10GB of video there.... Check it out.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Road Day

We spent the day on the road. The only real thing we had to do today was to make it from Bishop to Tonopah. I went for a run along the canal, then we headed by Mammoth, Devils Postpile and Convict Lake. We got in to Tonopah late and realized there's really nothing there....

Minaret Lookout.

Hike to Devils Postpile
Scotcher Lake
Mammoth Lakes - near the end of the road.

Convict Lake

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Barcroft Station

Barcroft mountain, part of the White Mountain Research Station, has some incredible views of the Sierra Nevada and Owens Valley. The drive up from Bishop is roughly 2 hours, but it passes through Inyo national forrest and the ancient bristlecone pines. Trees over a thousand years old are pretty cool. The landscape was vivid. We (minus Garry) hiked the last 500 feet from the station to the summit of Barcroft mountain (12,500 to 13,050 ft) and had the entire valley spread out below. Behind that ridge lay Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite national parks. The distances are deceptive....

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Bishop Day

Garry and I spent the day in Bishop while Leah and Ryan went 'scouting' the road up to Barcroft. It was said to be possibly impassible by the Inyo rangers. We got the tire fixed and I spent the day catching up on work. Bishop is a really pretty town. At least, the views are fantastic and there was creek running right by the hotel.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rogers Peak - Death Valley

We got up extremely early and drove up to Rogers Peak on some 4wd roads. ~4am wakeup. We made it to the top 20 min before sunrise. Good god the wind cut right through everything. We got a flat just as we came up to the summit, which made the outside work in the dawn cold that much longer.... And there were no facilities so we just sat around till about 1pm. But it was really pretty! We then drove down and off to Bishop in Owens Valley. Lots of car-time today.

Shabar doing it's thing.
Telescope Peak.
Charcoal Kils on the drive down.
The road down.
Driving through Owens Valley on the way to Bishop. This valley is killer....

Rogers Peak Data!

We've got turbulence! These show a plot of the characteristic size of a not-so crinkled wavefront. (Variance of the wavefront phase is one wave).

NIR Shots

These of the moonrise behind the Panamint range had to go up....

Here is the Inyo range seen from Rogers peak, just shy of Telescope peak in Death Valley NP.
Telescope peak from Rogers.
The desert colors.....

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shabar Testing

We spent an evening testing out the equipment. I was trying to adapt my camera to the Shabar and came across a weird effect when using an 'occulter'. For optics geeks - it turns out that the filter location corresponds fairly closely to an image plane as opposed to a pupil plane. When you put a dot of duct-tape there, you block out that location on the sensor. A little circle of tape blocked out the sun. That tape was more in focus with higher aperture. You could also see a purpleish halo.... Strange.