Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NTT Observing Trip - Video Blog

Day One

Traveling from London - Madrid - Santiago - ESO Guesthouse

Having a look around Santiago on the first day out. It was raining quite a bit but I manged to find my way into town and back.

To boldly go where no Wakeford has gone before; Leaving on a jet plane; EvilRegal Hard Rock Cafe Santiago;
Polinesia Pisco; Santiago in the gloom

Day Two

Travel from Santiago heading north to La Serena followed by a bus trip up to the summit of La Silla

Morning coffee at ESO Guesthouse, Santiago; Desert fox up on La Silla; The NTT in the sunshine;
Looking down the mountain to the control room; The southern stars shining above the domes.

Day Three

Taking a little walk around the summit of La Silla

Over looking La Silla and all of the telescopes on the summit.
We also managed to find a physics gnome on the way up.

The 3.6m telescope at the very summit of La Silla

Sunset over the Atacama desert from the summit of La Silla with the 0.5m Danish telescope and the 0.6m in the foreground

Day Four

Our first night of observations at the NTT, While we were able to open up the dome and observe for the whole night the data may be a little difficult due to large fluctuations in the Earth's atmosphere which are more prominent at the wavelengths we are using.

Day Five

The wind has died down, the sky has cleared and observations are about to begin. Tonight we are monitoring a brown dwarf similar to Beta Pic to see if it is variable, followed by multi-wavelength observations of a faint brown dwarf until sunrise.

The second night of observing with NTT started with a trip up to the 3.6m telescope to open the dome and watch the sunset and get some pictures.
View from the walkway of the 3.6m telescope during sunset at the summit of La Silla.

Day Six

It is the 3rd night of observing with the NTT and the sky is covered in consistent thin cloud which is not necessarily a bad thing.

Tonight I am running the show to get an idea of how everything works and gain some experience to run solo observing in the future.

Day Seven

Today we got to take a trip up to the NTT to see the instruments and the opening of the dome.

View of Las Campanas from La Silla, The NTT dome opening, View over La Silla,
Inside the NTT dome; closed and open,
EFOSC instrument, astronomers under the NTT, SOFI instrument.

Cutting some shapes!

It is the last night of observing at the NTT and we have been getting some great data. Now all that is left to do is stay awake.

Day Eight

The night merges into the day when you re-shift from night observing to the land of the living. We took the afternoon to go in search of the famous La Silla Petroglyphs.

A word of warning for all who wish to pass into the desert, Down the mountain looking up at the telescopes,
This ancient petroglyph that we found does not appear to be on any "map" of the site.

A panoramic view of the mountain desert from La Silla,
Having fun with a shadow show,
The view of our walk while searching for petroglyphs.

SUNSET on the final night at La Silla Observatory 

The clouds make for a beautiful sunset but generally bad for observations. No green flash tonight.

Day Nine

Las day at La Silla Observatory. It has been a great learning experience and at times a great adventure. Thanks to all who were here and made it a great observing run - including at times mother nature taking pity on us.

One last selfie trip around La Silla Observatory

Day Ten

Last full day in Chile hanging around Santiago. I spent the morning at the National Air and Space Museum before heading back to the ESO Guesthouse for a dip in the pool.

It has been a great trip and thanks to all those who contributed to it with their hospitality.

Museo Aeronautical y del Espacio Santiago (National Air and Space Museum)