November 04, 2007 Carnegie Observatories Open House

I was once again invited to attend the Open House at the Carnegie Observatories of Washington Headquarters on Santa Barbara Street in Pasadena, California. This is the fourth consecutive year I have attended, and it is a nice social gathering of the who’s who in astronomy in Los Angeles.

I got to chat awhile with Don Nicholson, the President of the Mount Wilson Observatory Association. He set up a solar telescope on a balcony overlooking the garden. I took a photo over the rail, (see photo).

The people who attended are a mixture of professional and amateur astronomers. I got to talk with Mary Brown, the Vice President of the Los Angeles Astronomical Society, also Jed Laderman of the Santa Monica astronomy club.

The scientists and engineers at Carnegie are busy designing and building what will be the world’s largest telescope, the Giant Magellan. It will consist of seven 300 inch mirrors (!)

Dr. Wendy Freeman is the director there and she gave a nice speech. I also noticed other notable people there like Kate Hutton, the famous CalTech seismologist. She is in high demand by the local television news media whenever there is an earthquake, and is known as “That Earthquake Lady”. Turns out she is also an degree holding astronomer that studies variable stars.

I also ran into Rick August,the former TIE 14 inch operator. I had not seen him since 2004 and I found out he is training to be a helicopter pilot.

I worked yesterday at the 60 foot solar tower. I will be going back to the observatory next Saturday morning and I will work there through sunset on Sunday. The chief scientist is leaving for his new job at the Space Telescope Science Institute on November 21st, and we are picking his brains for as much information as we can before he leaves. On Saturday he is taking me to the machine shop to show me how to repair servo motors.
I am sure glad I am now being payed now for my work there, as it is a 49 mile commute from my apartment in Gardena.

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~ by matthewota on November 4, 2007.

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