Sunday, 11 August 2013

Chile Diary - Day One

I will try to keep a blog of my current trip to the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

I kept a similar blog for my telescope trip to La Palma in 2011 - see it here.

The purpose of this trip is to make loads of videos for two of my video projects - Deep Sky Videos and Sixty Symbols.

I previewed the trip in this video:

As you'll note in the film, I was to be joined by Professor Mike Merrifield and Pete Lawrence.

But unfortunately things started on a sour note... Mike was struck down by illness the day before departure.

He was too sick to travel and had to stay behind.

This was especially unfortunate because Mike was the driving force behind the trip - it was his idea and he arranged it with ESO.

But with flights booked and plans afoot, Pete and I went ahead and flew from London to Santiago (via Madrid).

Mike agreed to stay in touch from the UK with suggestions and advice, and he will record many of his interviews when I get back.

(More than anything, I think he really wanted to se the VLT and ALMA (right) with his own eyes)

Mike's a big loss - but we can improvise and there's still plenty to be done. And both Pete and I are still very excited by what lays ahead.

As I type, Pete and I have checked into ESO's Guest House in Santiago, which seems a very quiet and charming place.

Lovely old-fashioned rooms, but amazing astronomical images hanging on the walls!

I am guessing the guest house acts mainly as a holding pen for astronomers as they prepare for the short hop to the observatories themselves.

Here are some pictures:

Santiago itself seems a dramatic location, snow-covered mountains overlooking the sprawling city.

Unfortunately I won't see much of it - we head straight out to Paranal early tomorrow.

Now it's time to check all the cameras are ready, batteries charged and SD cards emptied!

I might write more about the equipment we have brought at a later date!

Chile Diary - Day Four
Chile Diary - Day Five
Chile Diary - Day Six


  1. I hope Professor Merrifield gets well quickly! It won't be the same without him.

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