Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lowell Observatory

The last observatory on my tour is Lowell. I saw several of their telescopes and their instruments including a great spectrograph.

The telescope that discovered Pluto ...

and it's cool wooden and stone dome.

Now off to Phoenix and the trip home.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer

Hi All,

Today I had another relaxing start to the day. A nice coffee and lunch. I then
visited the most complicated observatory I have ever seen.

Even though I understand the basics of this instrument it gave me a bigger headache the more I learned about it because it is sooooo complicated.

Amazing! This is so complicated there is a full time mathematician working on the calculations involved ... ooh here comes that headache again.

Tomorrow ... Lowell Observatory, the home of the dwarf planet Pluto discovery telescope.


The Grand Canyon

Today I had a more relaxed day and started with my first greasy diner breakfast. It was an experience that I won't repeat :P

I headed out to the grand canyon and spent a few hours taking it in. It is hard to understand how big it really is. It wasn't until I saw people on mules way down in the canyon that looked like fleas that I could see how deep it was.

Tomorrow, on to the last observatories.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Arizona Snowbowl and Lowell Observatory

Today I started the day skiing at Arizona Snowbowl. The snow was not great and my legs got sore quickly in the icy conditions.

Then I went to a Mars night at Lowell Observatory,

and saw Mars through the telescope Lowell used to study Mars.

I was happy as a pig in mud mixing with the staff at Lowell :)

Tomorrow, The Grand Canyon.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Meteor Crater and the Petrified Forest

Meteor Crater is the huge hole behind me :P It was so cold today that when I washed my hands
in the carpark the water froze on the ground.

The petrified forest was an entire forest turned to stone.

I had the feeling I was being watched!

Coloured mountains ...

Ancient Petroglyphs ...

An upgrade on my Mazda 6 on route 66?

Tomorrow, can you guess? ... More skiing :)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Whipple Observatory and on to Flagstaff

As the moon watches me run around like a mad man across America I headed to observatory number 11, Whipple Observatory.

I got a look around the gamma ray telescopes and walked away with another arm full of goodies :)

Then I hit the road for about 6 hours and drove trough Phoenix to snow covered Flagstaff. Hmm I think this calls for another day of skiing :)


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Kitt Peak Observatory

I spent a day driving into Arizona and relaxing into Tucson. Over the last two days I have been visiting Kitt Peak Observatory.

I spent most of the day touring the world's largest solar telescope and filming the adaptive optics system.

The next day I visited the University of Arizona and the Astronomy educators there. Then I went back to Kitt Peak for the night tour (watching the sunset).

The telescopes came to life around us.

We enjoyed some great views.

Off to Whipple observatory tomorrow and then on to Flagstaff.