Saturday, 10 December 2011

La Palma Diary - Day Two

So I braved the cold last night to take some photos of the observatory site.

This image (below) was probably the best effort with equipment ill-suited to the job:

It was a strange feeling out among the telescopes at night.

Everything is so quiet, so cold, so dark - yet you know each hulking machine is gazing skyward with steely resolve.

It's rather eerie actually - like being in a field full of unblinking, oversized eyes.

I learned the next day that "seeing" conditions were actually quite poor by La Palma standards.

Disappointing news for the astronomers.

Today I've been walking around the observatory site taking photos in daylight.

The observatory is huge, with telescopes scattered among the peaks.

It was hard walking up all those hills, lugging cameras and a tripod.

That's perhaps the thing that has surprised me most - just how scattered the domes are across such an expansive mountain-top.

I imagined everything would be closer together.

I'm now rugging up (below) for a night of real observing in one of the telescopes.

I'll be joining Liam Hardy, an astronomer-in-training from the University of Sheffield.

He has a long list of possible targets for us, including galaxies and a extra-solar planetary transit!!!

Fingers crossed for good conditions and some nice images for our upcoming video series.

Stay tuned for more tomorrow.

Roque de los Muchachos Observatory is run by The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias. I am being hosted by the Isaac Newton Group of telescopes. The videos from this trip will appear on Deep Sky Videos: YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

Click here for diary day one.
Click here for diary day two.
Click here for diary day three.
Click here for diary day four.
Click here for diary day five.
Click here for diary day six.
Click here for diary day seven.
Click here for diary day eight.

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