Monday, May 19, 2014

Observing Run Report. Also a Birthday.

Well, I decided against doing a second “live from the control room” post on my second night primarily because the second night was quiet, with even less to blog about (if possible) than the first night. Thankfully, two days of staying awake over twenty-one hours pretty effectively flipped my sleep schedule and after coming down Friday morning I slept like a log until it was time to get dinner and go up again. I was thus wide awake the entire second night, and didn't even need a single cup of coffee.

I wasn't thinking that well up there due to a combination of lack of sleep and low oxygen, so I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked (in particular, I would have liked one of me in the control room). I did take a few though, so I thought I'd share them.

I did at least remember to get a picture of the most exciting thing to happen, the flat tire on the way up Thursday night. That's my friend from college Will, the telescope operator that night, busy fixing our flat. Will loves cars, so I actually learned some things about brakes and how they work and what they look like while we were switching wheels.

This is just a shot back down the road from where we were, with Mauna Loa in the background and clouds at about the 6,000 foot level.

I forgot to get a picture inside the control room, but I did at least remember to take this picture on the way out Friday morning. Sorry it's not quite centered; I had to get off the road over some rough footing to be able to get even this much of the telescope in the frame, and as I had been up for over 21 hours at that point I wasn't sure enough of my footing to risk going further out. Also it's sometimes hard to tell if you've framed something right on your phone screen.

You can see Will next to the vehicle in the car port there, which should give you some idea of the scale. The telescope is actually open and observing in this picture, as we had just turned over control to the remote operator down in Hilo who continued observing till noon that day. That big expanse inside the building is the Gore-Tex membrane (largest in the world) that protects the dish from the elements.

And finally, this last picture is not related to my observing run, but to the other thing that happened this weekend: my birthday! Yes, I specifically picked Friday night to observe so that I could turn 25 up at JCMT on Mauna Kea. It was a really great experience. A quarter century! Wow!

And as a birthday present, my younger brothers sent me the following picture from Minecraft.

I was so taken with it that it's now my wallpaper, as you can see. Thanks guys! Actually, I should explain that monitor: I've decided, instead of buying a new computer, to build one myself. I'm still finalizing the parts for it, but I decided to go ahead and order a monitor first because I can use it (as seen here) as a second monitor for my laptop. Having a dual-monitor setup at work has really spoiled me, as it's just so handy for getting things done and being productive. Thus I intend to get another one of these monitors when I eventually get the computer built and use them together, but in the meantime this one can sit by my laptop and act as extra screen estate.

The only problem with the wallpaper is that every time I turn my computer on for the next few days I'm going to think I'm falling into lava in Minecraft and freak out, but I'm sure I'll get over it sooner or later.


  1. Impressive!! I've started playing Minecraft while I'm here, and I can appreciate the gesture. Happy belated birthday!

    1. Nice! I'll bet my brothers would love to play with you if you ever have the chance. And thanks! =)


Think I said something interesting or insightful? Let me know what you thought! Or even just drop in and say "hi" once in a while - I always enjoy reading comments.