Busy Astronomy time

Photo:  The venerable 60 inch telescope at the Mount Wilson Obsevatory after a long night’s work.  I took the photo after everybody left the dome.

  I have spent a very busy weekend working at both the OC Astronomer’s observing site near Anza, CA and also at the Mt. Wilson Observatory.

  Saturday afternoon I drove myself and friend Jim Thorp to our astronomy club’s site near Anza, CA. We arrived just after a large downpour of rain, causing a minor flash flood along Elder Creek road on the way in.  My truck has never been muddier.  But drving in the creek was similar to driving on snow.

  I spent the later part of the afternoon installing a new directional sign that points the way to our site. Jim and I used an entire bag of concreteinto the footing to insure that the sign would not “disappear” like the last one did.

  Then later on that night I spent time in the club observatory assisting a young man with the 10 inch LX200 that is mounted to the observatory wall. Later on that night I had an unusual photograph taken of me pointing my green laser at Mars.  See the next blog entry for the photo.

  We left Anza at 2:00 a.m.  Sunday and when we got to Jim’s place I slept for a while on his living room floor on my air mattress. Then I drove home to Anaheim and immediately packed for a trip to the Mt. Wilson Observaroty.

   I worked the 16 inch telescope that evening along with fellow OCA member Tom Drouet. We showed many deep sky objects to a boy scout troop. We shut the scope down at 11 p.m. and I went to the Library to sleep. I use the old couch in the pool room by putting my sleeping bag over it.

  The next morning I got up and visited with Steve Golden, who works on the CHARA telescope array at Mt. Wilson.  Steve once was the senior telescope technician fot the TIE program and he  was the person who  opened the doors for me at Mt. Wilson over five years ago.  Steve showed me the Michaelson interfferometer on display in the lobby and then a quick tour of the offices.

  I also went to the far side of the 100 inch Hooker telescope to view the good ol’  TIE Cole telescope, now relegated to sitting on a tarp-covered trailer awaiting transportation to Arizona Sky Village.  It was a bit heartbreaking for me to see the telescope again in a disassembled condition, but GIl Clark hopes to set it up again at his new facilities at the sky village.

  After the short visit with Steve, I napped off and on again at the Library and did a little bit of sign work that I took fom the office. I then went over to the galley to cook my evening meal of canned chili with rice, and then proceeded back to the 16 inch to prepare for a Monday night session with fellow operator Nora Demuth.  Nora is a delightful, vivacious woman that  is a professional astronomer and intern at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She specializes in infrared astronomy with the Spitzer Space Telescope program.

  We had a group of senior citizens form the Cal State University Long Beach Planetary Sciences club. They had a great time looking through the 16 inch telescope as well as the 60 inch telescope.
Right before the shutdown time of 1:00 a.m., I was able to show many of them the planet Mars as it rose over the eastern horizon.

  I went back to the library to sleep at 2:00 a.m. Tuesday morning. I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and drove back down into LA to my regular day job. I ahve not been home since Sunday Morning and I now sit in a tea shop in Gardena, waiting for the traffic to ease for the 30 mile trip back home to Anaheim.




~ by matthewota on August 9, 2005.

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